Archive for the ‘insurance facts’ Category

Liberty Mutual to Retire Regional Brands

January 15th, 2013 by | Comments Off | Filed in insurance facts, insurance news, insurance specialists

Yesterday, in an announcement in the Insurance Journal, Liberty Mutual Insurance spokesperson Chris Goetchus shared his company’s plans to retire eight of its regional brand names, currently sold exclusively via independent agents.

The brands affected, all commercial lines, are America First Insurance, Colorado Casualty, Golden Eagle Insurance, Indiana Insurance, Liberty Northwest, Montgomery Insurance, Ohio Casualty, and Peerless Insurance, each of which represents its own region, and none of which does business in more than nine states.

Why retire these names? According to Goetchus, it’s because Liberty Mutual agents wanted to be able to use the more recognizable name of the parent company. Even so, he stressed, each region will retain its own local offices and underwriting authority, as well as its own management structure. Only the names are changing.

Safeco Insurance, another Liberty Mutual company, is not being affected by this decision, and will continue to offer personal insurance product lines under its existing brand, sold by independent insurance agents around the country.

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Half of Arkansas Under Exceptional Drought

August 10th, 2012 by | Comments Off | Filed in fire insurance, flood insurance, homeowners insurance, hurricane insurance, insurance facts, insurance news

The various weather services which serve the United States all say that El Niño is coming within the next two months. For some people along the West Coast, that’s bad news, but for much of the South and Midwest, the increased chances of rain, and the cold, wet winter can’t get here soon enough.

Arkansas is a prime example of a state in bad need of some precipitation. How bad? Well, according to a new map released yesterday, over 53% of the state is in an “exceptional” drought – the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most severe classification. That’s scary, but what’s even scarier is that a week ago, only 44% of the state was in that most severe classification, though there’s still a significant amount of the state (currently 27%) is only one level “better” – at “extreme drought” status, while the rest of the state is in “severe” drought, except for a small part – 4% – that’s merely in “moderate” drought.

Arkansas isn’t alone, of course. Wildfires in Oklahoma have been out of control this summer, due to the significant lack of rain, and much of Texas is in the “extreme” and “exceptional” categories as well.

What does this have to do with insurance? A lot, actually. Look for an increased number of crop insurance claims, fire insurance claims, and even health insurance claims (since many people believe limiting their personal water intake is necessary, even though most cities only require a strict cut-back on irrigation). Last year, drought conditions began to affect the cattle industry as well, causing many Texas ranchers to sell off, or kill, significant portions of their stock in order to feed and water the remaining animals.

No one wishes hurricanes on anyone – we’ve seen the devastation they can do – but for the parched plains, Atlantic Hurricanes during the summer and El Niño during the fall are necessary balms, sending outer rain bands and wet weather to ground – and people – who badly need it.

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Wednesday Filmstrip: Renters Insurance

November 9th, 2011 by | Comments Off | Filed in friday filmstrips, insurance facts, renters insurance

Even renters need insurance to cover their belongings. This video explains exactly how to purchase renters insurance, and what extras you may want to consider.

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Homeowners Insurance and Swimming Pools

July 26th, 2011 by | Comments Off | Filed in homeowners insurance, insurance facts

Swimming Pool

Whether your home already has a pool, or you’re considering having one installed, there are certain things you need to know about how a swimming pool could affect your homeowners insurance.

  • Contact your insurance company to discuss the cost of insurance with a pool, and be sure to ask if there are ways to save money by incorporating specific safety features, like fences and ladders into your pool’s design. If your yard is not surrounded by a fence, you’ll probably be required to install a pool fence, but if you have small children, this is a good idea, anyway.
  • On most homeowners insurance policies, swimming pools are covered under the “other structures” section. You’ll need to calculate the coverage for all the “other structures” on your property, and increase your coverage if your separate structures and your pool are valued at a higher amount than your existing coverage.
  • Having a swimming pool may mean that you have to increase your liability coverage, since pools increase the likelihood of injuries and accidents, and the risk of lawsuits.
  • If you have a home warranty, add the pool to your warranty. It will usually only cover the pool itself, and the filter system – not any vacuums or water features (like fountains or misters), but it can save you tons of money if something goes wrong.
  • Always take care of your pool, following a professional’s advice for everything from the chemicals that keep the water clean, to filter maintenance, to proper over-wintering procedures (in most places, it’s actually better to leave water in your pool over the winter, but if you live in a place where hard freezes are common, that may not be true). Be aware that damage from winter weather is usually not covered.
  • Practice safe pool use to minimize injuries and accidents. No glass near the pool deck, no running on wet surfaces, and no diving in water less than ten feet deep. Also, be aware that if a neighborhood child sneaks a swim while you’re away, you may still be liable, so re-read the parts about fences and liability coverage.

Having a pool increases the value of your home, and makes it easier to beat the heat in summer, but having adequate homeowners insurance to cover the pool is essential.

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Life Insurance for Your Mortgage?

June 8th, 2011 by | Comments Off | Filed in insurance facts, life insurance

Many people have heard of private mortgage insurance, which pays your lender if you default on your mortgage, but what can you do to make sure your mortgage is paid off if you die?

One answer is mortgage protection life insurance, and it’s essentially just another kind of life insurance.

Originally, mortgage life insurance policies matched the amount of the mortgage balance, and as the balance decreased the amount of life insurance did as well. For most of us, however, it makes better sense to take out a mortgage life insurance policy equal to the original mortgage amount, but at the least expensive level term, rather than anything that decreases.

Alternatively, you can buy return of premium life insurance policies as a form of mortgage life insurance. These policies have more competitive rates and, if you keep the policy, all the premiums you’ve paid will eventually be paid back to you.

The most inexpensive form of mortgage life insurance, however, is a level premium/level benefit term policy. These policies are purchased for a specified period of time, during which the policy amount is guaranteed not to decrease and the premiums can be guaranteed not to change. Typical terms for these policies are 30, 20, or 15 years – the life of the average mortgage loan.

While mortgage protection life insurance is still sold by some banks and some agents, it’s probably a better idea to choose an insurance policy that will pay off your mortgage in case of your death, without having the insurance amount decrease, and with guaranteed lower rates.

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Affordable Life Insurance and Chronic Conditions

May 4th, 2011 by | Comments Off | Filed in insurance facts, life insurance

It’s a common myth that that certain conditions prevent you from getting life insurance. These conditions include:

  • heavy smoking
  • alcoholism
  • asthma
  • mental illness (including clinical depression)
  • cancer
  • a heart condition

The reality is that there are life insurance programs that will sell you coverage with any of these conditions, but you’ll have to do your research before you apply. Of course, you’ll probably pay a higher premium, as well.

So how do you get affordable life insurance when you have a chronic condition?

The trick is in proving that you are managing your situation. For example, if you have a drinking problem but can prove that you are an active participant in AA, that will help reduce the cost of your coverage. If you’re suffering from mental illness and can demonstrate regular therapy appointments, that, too may help reduce what you pay in life insurance premiums. The same goes for asthma – if it’s well managed, it won’t force you to be excluded from coverage.

But what about heart disease? What about cancer? While it’s true that these are “red flag” issues to insurance underwriters, they don’t always mean that you can’t be covered, or can only be covered for a lot of money. If you’re taking the recommended steps to treat your heart disease, you can still be insured for a standard rate. As for cancer, it depends on the type, stage, and treatment method, as well as the size and location of your tumor. While it’s true that some insurers won’t touch you, many will still offer coverage at a reasonable price if your cancer is treatable, and has a high survivor rate.

Bottom line? Never assume that having a chronic condition knocks you out of life insurance eligibility. Instead, use the internet to do research, ask questions, and make sure you stick to whatever medical or mental health treatments are recommended.

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Friday Filmstrip: HMO vs. PPO

April 29th, 2011 by | Comments Off | Filed in friday filmstrips, health insurance, insurance facts

If you’ve ever had to select an insurance plan from a new employer, you know that two popular options are HMO and PPO, but what are they?

This video from Stay Smart, Stay Healthy, via YouTube, explains the difference:

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