Managing Risk In Uncertain Times

roadWe are living in uncertain times. COVID-19 and all that goes with it have created a new set of operating rules and risks. There is a number of new risks that have emerged as a result of these changing times.

It is vital that your business insurance program have the flexibility to respond to the changing and uncertain times we are living in. Your business insurance program needs to be designed to give your business the best possible coverage at a reasonable price from an agent who understands your individual needs.

Remote Workers 

COVID-19 has changed the way we think about remote working. Most businesses are having employees work from home, and even if there is a vaccine, the work from home trend is likely to continue. In general, employees are covered for work-related injuries that occur outside the office or other workplaces. Generally, employers are still responsible for injuries that occur during a detour, such as when an employee physically departs from his or her job duties that are considered minor activity, getting coffee, etc.

New Cyber Risks

Commercial businesses to become more dependent on the internet with an increase in remote workers. This new normal now requires special procedures and policies to protect your organization, its data, and network. When workers feel secure, you can nurture productivity and enhance collaboration.

Finance, Social Life And Health Of Employees

Because of the requirements and arrangements following the pandemic, employees have been faced with unexpected expenses related to travel, digital needs, accommodation (home workspaces) health concerns, and protective measures. Employers need to find ways to address these needs on a long-term basis, possibly through smaller in-person gatherings, remote learning opportunities, and even allowances for home office improvements.

Employees With Disabilities

Disabled employees need additional support to adapt to changes. Specific measures are required to address their needs and ensure their access to remote works issues.

As with any risk, you want to get out in front of it quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it is to mitigate the damage. The most successful companies are those that put systems and processes in place to help them quickly recognize the warning signs and navigate the best path forward.

 

What Are Clients Looking For In An Agent?

meetingA recent study by a leading insurance research firm showed something we have been saying for years. That is, when it comes to insurance buying most people are not just looking at price. There are many factors that will lead a person or business to select their agent.

Here are some of the factors clients consider when shopping for insurance:

  1. Clients want to be educated about risks they face.
  2. Clients want their agent to ask questions about their family and business.
  3. Clients want to connect with, and be cared for by, their agent.
  4. Clients want a partnership, not a salesperson.
  5. Clients want assurance their coverage needs are met, not just “sold” a product.
  6. Clients want to understand how their insurance works.
  7. Clients want good communication with their agents.

Price is part of the process, but less than 20%, according to Yana Glezina the director of brand and communications at Rocket Referrals, a leading insurance communications platform based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Here are ways to improve communication with your clients:

  • Return calls the same day.
  • Educate—do not sell.
  • Text clients who are not into email or phone calls.
  • Send your clients thank you notes and birthday cards.
  • Be available when clients reach out randomly with a question.
  • Reach out to your clients with meaningful and timely content.
  • Respond to good and bad reviews.

If you are doing these things, then you are on your way to developing a true partnership with your clients.

The Best Way to Select An Agent That Is Right For You

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Here is a revolutionary idea; when you buy insurance you are buying service and advice from the agent. Insurance is not a commodity but a service. Yes, you get an insurance policy; however, not all policies are created equal. We believe that the best way to buy insurance is to select a qualified and experienced agent. Allow the agent to understand your needs and then design a policy that works best for you.

We would like to offer a different way of looking at the insurance buying process. We believe that by following our suggestions you will make better more informed choices.

Know the Difference between Independent Agents and Other Agents

Insurance agents are not all alike. Some agents only represent one insurer, while independent agents represent many. You want an agent who represents many insurers and who is willing to take the time to get to know you. Then market your risk with many different insurers. You want a relationship, not a policy.

Use an Experienced Agent

Your agent should have many years’ experience in the industry. They should have a staff that has the knowledge and experience to handle your individual concerns and questions. Your agent should be able to offer alternatives and services that others can’t.

Ask The Agent Questions Regarding Services Offered.  Here Are Few Ideas:

  1. If I had a claim, how would you help me?
  2. How many years of experience do you have? And your staff?
  3. When I call the agency with a question, who would I be speaking with?
  4. May I have three references?
  5. What systems do you have to help manage your business?
  6. How do you define customer service?
  7. What is your policy for returning phone calls?
  8. How long do you usually keep a client?
  9. What makes you skilled at what you do?
  10. Do you have any industry awards?
  11. Will I have to ask for my renewal to be processed?

Professional Designations

Ask about what professional designations the agent has.  This doesn’t always guarantee an agent is expert in all the insurance aspects you require, but it does show the agents commitment to continued education.

Visit Their Web Page

Visiting the agency’s web page is a great way to give you an idea of their services, values and qualifications.

The best thing you can do for your business or family is to select an experienced agent who is committed to developing a personal relationship with you and finding you the best options based on your needs. Remember not all insurance policies are equal, what goes into the policy will determine how claims are settled. You are not buying a product you are managing your risk. Remember, Insurance is not a product, it’s a promise and a trusted relationship.

2021 Presents New Cyber Risks For Your Business

fingerprintThis is a two-part series focusing on new cyber risks for individuals and businesses.

Part One- Business Risk

The CIOVID-19 pandemic has affected businesses in a significant way. With remote workers and increased online purchasing, scammers are using some new and some old tricks to get your personal information.

Common Cyber Breaches

Ransomware. Ransomware is a data-encrypting program that demands payment to release the infected data.

Social Media. These kinds of attacks follow social interactions and will use your online data to steal your identity.

Cloud computing vulnerabilities. The global market for cloud computing is estimated to grow 17% this year. If you store any information on the cloud, you may be at risk.

Third party software. The top 30 e-commerce retailers in the US are connected to 1,131 third-party resources. The scammer will use these to obtain your information.

How To Prevent A Cyber Loss

  • Train employees in cybersecurity principles.
  • Install, use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on every computer used in your business.
  • Use a firewall for your Internet connection.
  • Control physical access to your computers and network components.
  • Secure your Wi-Fi networks. If you have a Wi-Fi network for your workplace, make sure it is secure and hidden.
  • Require individual user accounts for each employee.
  • Regularly change passwords.

What Cyber Insurance Can Cover

Restoration of Data: Covers the cost to replace or restore electronic data, programs, or software damaged or destroyed by a hacker attack.

Cost of Notification: Covers the cost of notifying parties whose data has been affected by a data breach.

Loss of Income: Covers income losses sustained by a business and extra expenses it incurs to restore its operations following a shutdown caused by a computer virus, hacker attack, or other covered peril.

Cyberattacks present a real threat to the safety and health of businesses today. Cybersecurity risks are mounting every day. But, purchasing cyber insurance does not need to be a confusing or stressful process. Call us today for more information. 

Next part Two, Personal cyber and identity theft risks

 

 

Why Having An Insurance Partnership In 2021 Is Critical

Business Woman Staying On Top On Chart Bar And Looking With TheCOVID-19 may be part of our lives forever. As we move into 2021, you need to re-think how you view insurance. Insurance is not best purchased with the concept of; the lower the cost the better for me. We have seen too many issues arise in 2020 where someone had cheap insurance and ended up having an un-insurance claim, poor customer services, or no insurance at all.

Remember These Values Should Be Important To You

  • It does not cost you more to develop a relationship with a professional insurance advisor. You want an agent who is there to serve you at all times.
  • The right insurance designed for you is what you need.
  • Understand the value and culture of the agency, do that match yours?
  • Insurance may not be your only option. We might tell you to not turn in that small claim.
  • Insurance is design to protect your family and finances.
  • We offer a process of getting you the insurance you need.
  • Our agency’s core values are based on developing a relationship with you, understanding your needs, and educating you on what action we take together.

Your life is changing. We ask you these kinds of questions to understand your insurance needs.

  • Do you have any domestic employees?
  • Have there been any changes in marital status?
  • Are you involved in any nonprofit organizations?
  • Do you own a business and operate from your home?
  • Are you remote working in 2021?
  • Do you own a second home?
  • Are adult children now living at home?
  • Do you drive for a rideshare company?
  • Do you rent out your home?
  • Have you started a home business?
  • Do you own any unique collections of art, wine, cars, or guns?
  • Are there any children in college?

You need a partner in 2021, let us show you how we do it.

Here Is Our Secret to Getting Our Clients The Best Possible Combination of Coverage, Price and Service.

light bulbThere is nothing wrong with wanting competitively priced insurance for your home or business. The issues seem to arise when an insurance consumer takes the low-cost insurance without regard to coverage, their risk, or services offered. We have found a way to help our clients get the best of both worlds; we call it CPS (coverage, price, and service).

Coverage– your policy needs to be designed to give you the insurance you need.

Price– We will work with our insurers to get you a policy you can afford with the coverage you need. We believe in value, not just low prices. We make sure you get all the credits you deserve. We will re-run your credit score as needed.

Service– Insurance is evaluated in the service you receive during the year and after a claim has been reported.

Here are the keys to getting the best possible combination of coverage price and service.

Relationships matter. Relationships still matter and always will. For all its regulations, calculations, and machinations, insurance still requires a personal touch. An agent must have a good relationship with the insurers it represents to get the best level of service, which is passed on to the customer. The agent’s relationship with the customer is important in order for the customer to receive the service they desire.

Communication. We listen to our clients, allowing us to better understand their needs and design an insurance program that meets their needs. We take the time to educate our clients on the different types of insurance, eliminating insurance that is not needed, and saving money.

Be an Invaluable Resource.  We help you understand risks you may not have known about and create insurance solutions that will cover a potentially un-insured claim.

Authenticity. By maintaining an open and honest relationship with our clients allows us to show our value and the importance of building trust. We are able to speak freely about the coverage you need and the coverage you may not need.

You are buying a process of how we work with you to provide the coverage you need.

What Is Insurance?

stressMany people think insurance is a product like a car, home, or boat. It is easy to think of insurance as a product, but it is not. You can use and touch a boat or car every day. You spend money; then you get to use it, see it feel it. It’s not so with insurance. You can hold the policy and look at a bunch of words on the policy explaining coverages, risks, and exposures. Yet it just isn’t the same as a test drive. When you select an insurance program, you may never see it or use it until you have a claim. Then you will fully understand what we are saying.

Good insurance will give you a peace of mind that will allow you to live your life with confidence.  You have the confidence that your agent and insurer will be there for you in your time of need.

Insurance is designed to protect you from unknown and unexpected accidents and losses. That is why it is so important to understand what you are buying before you do. If you are not sure what kind of insurance you have, do you really have peace of mind?

Insurance becomes tangible only when you have a claim; then, it becomes very real. At this time, you hope the policy delivers as promised.

Here is why we educate rather than sell.

  • Educated buyers make better decisions.
  • Insurance policies are not all created equal. Insurance is not like a commodity; insurance companies offer many different kinds of policies; these offer coverage you may need or may not need. Why pay for insurance you don’t need? Or worse, you paid for coverage you thought you had but didn’t.
  • Many insurance policies are filled with coverage gaps. These are areas where you need certain coverage, but the policy may not provide it. A coverage gap may also be having policy limits or deductibles not designed for your needs. An agent acting as your advisor can help you identify these gaps and offer solutions.

Give me a call and let talk about how we are different and can help you understand your insurance purchase with clarity. I want to earn your trust.

 

Are Electric Scooters Covered Under My Insurance Policy?

scootersElectric scooters and bikes are popping up all over cities across the country.  They have been popular in Europe for years.  We are at the beginning of this new form of personal transportation, which creates a few questions regarding risk, liability, and insurance coverage.

How Can You Secure Insurance Coverage That Includes Physical Damage And Personal Liability For An Owned E-Bike Or E-Scooter?

Personal liability from homeowners or renter’s policy is unlikely to cover the use of an e-bike because of the exclusion for motor vehicles. A motorcycle policy covering an owned motorcycle or scooter might extend liability to a non-owned e-scooter. In most cases you do not have any insurance coverage unless owned and properly insured.

Are You Covered If You Rent An E-Scooter Or E-Bike?

Most cities don’t have regulations or rules because they don’t qualify as a motor vehicle. Some cities require a driver’s license and helmet, but these are mostly on the honor system.  Users can rent the scooter then leave it anywhere they want (in your front yard or in front of your business).

Insurance companies are busy trying to figure out who is liable in the event a scooter injured someone.  What if the scooter rider injures someone while on the job, will the injuries be covered under workers’ compensation and any liability be the responsibility of the employer insurer?  Business insurance policies may not address scooters specifically. Depending on the circumstances, some electric scooter-related injuries may be covered while others may not.

Many scooter companies have strict waivers that are included in the rental agreement limiting any liability to the rental companies.  One company offers a $1,000,000 liability policy, but all claims would be subject to extensive investigations.

Most legal experts agree that rider will bear the legal liability arising from accidents because of the terms to which the rider agrees to when downloading the app.  The laws, the courts, and the insurance industry are often slow to respond to new technology, and this may be the case with electric scooters. Relatively few laws specific to e-scooters have been passed.

Final Thoughts

Any insurance solutions will most likely be using an auto type of coverage and there are likely territorial limitations imbedded in the policy, therefore traveling abroad and renting these in different urban areas may leave a coverage gap in those specialty policies.

There are a few carriers that offer specialty type electric scooter insurance for these types of devices. The cost varies depending on usage.  We recommend you contact your insurance agent to discuss if your personal insurance provides any coverage or if you need to add coverage to your program.

Ask Perk Reichley

perkOver the years, I have been asked about many different kinds of insurance questions. I thought it might be interesting to start sharing these questions and my responses. Remember, there is no bad or wrong question. If you have a question, send it to me, I will be happy to answer it for you.

Are there unique kinds of insurance I might need?

It is our hope and desire that you never need to make a claim, but if you do, you want the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service. Here are some added coverages you might want to consider.

  • Flood
  • Earthquake
  • Higher limits on jewelry
  • Identity theft
  • Coverage for collections, art, guns, and coins
  • Personal umbrella liability
  • Coverage for back-up of sewers caused outside the home

How often should I review my personal insurance program?

We recommend an annual review of all your personal insurance needs. This might be a call or face-to-face meeting, depending on your needs.

If you have made some life changes, we always recommend a review at that time. Some life changes that will affect your personal insurance include:

  • Change in marital status
  • Birth of a child
  • Purchase of a new car or any other major purchase
  • Planning international travel
  • Children heading off to college
  • Working form home
  • Retirement
  • Job change

Should I ever consider increasing my deductibles?

Changing your deductibles on your auto or home insurance depends on your risk appetite. It is true that increasing deductibles will save you money, but there are other factors that you might also consider.

  • How much increase is desired?
  • Do you have a history of losses?
  • Do you have the financial resources to handle it?
  • Is the cost-benefit worth the risk?

House prices have been skyrocketing in my neighborhood lately. Should I increase my limits?

A hot real estate market doesn’t actually impact your home rebuild cost or replacement cost. That number is based on the raw materials and labor it would take to rebuild it with like kind and quality.

 

What Keeps You Up AT Night?

Every one of us has certain things that keep you up once in a while. It might be your job, the kids, illness, or other life’s problems. Our goal to make sure that protecting your family with the right insurance does not keep you up.

Here is how we help you sleep at night

  1. We never sell you a policy. We ask questions and educate you so that the coverage you but the right fit for you.
  2. Insurance is a complex transaction, so we work hard to make sure you understand how insurance works before you make a decision.
  3. Our team is licensed and have years of experience that help us better educate you.
  4. We are here to answer any questions you may have regarding your insurance decisions.

According to an Insurance Journal article, here are the top issues that keep people up.

  • Flood and other natural disasters
  • Identity theft
  • End of life issues
  • Eldercare

We can provide valuable information regarding each of these so that you can make the right decision for you and your family. We hope you noticed that we don’t just offer a quick insurance product. That is because we will only offer you an insurance solution after we fully understand your needs.

Connect with us and let us show you how we do it

Over the last sixty years, we have established a reputation for honesty, high morals, integrity and friendly, professional customer service – pillars of a successful insurance agency. Based upon this foundation, the staff of Reichley Insurance Agency commits to the following mission.