Is Our Sharing Economy Creating New Risks For You?

Is Our Sharing Economy Creating New Risks For You?

We live in a digital world that now allows us to share our possessions, including our car, bike, boat, apartment, and even our home, for profit with total strangers.  Smartphones, and the applications that can be added, offer many useful tools for sharing, but some of these things create new and increased liability for you.  Before you decide to jump into the sharing economy, consider the following:

  • If you use Airbnb to sublease your apartment, you might check your lease.  Many lease agreements have “no sublease” clauses that do not allow for this kind of activity.  In addition, some big cities are now actually considering outlawing the Airbnb services as it reduces hotel/motel taxes.
  • Homeowner’s insurance will not cover rental property. You need insurance when you do not occupy the same residence as your tenant. You will also need special insurance if you are renting out your own home temporarily, or sharing accommodations such as your basement level, with a renter.
  • Uber offers a taxi service where individuals can offer rides to those who subscribe.  Are you confident that these individuals have had proper background checks?  Are they experienced drivers?  Do they have the correct insurance? Remember, even in states that have mandatory auto insurance laws, over 25% of drivers do not have insurance.
  • Commercial auto insurance should be considered if using your car for hire.  There is a big difference in the auto insurance world between a carpool for work and being paid to deliver people.
  • If you rent your primary home to others, it may limit your personal insurance coverage. Call our office for a review.

The new sharing economy will most likely continue and can be a good way to make money.  However, if you have an uninsured claim, the cost to you may be much greater than your profits.  Be aware that using these services may increase your risk of loss.

A professional insurance agent can help educate you on your risks, review your current program, and then create an individualized plan to fit your needs.

While the massive national agencies spend millions on television ads and offer barebones policies, they do not know you. When your needs change or your situation complicates, you don’t want an automated phone tree or cold cyber-agent. You want to talk to compassionate, honest insurance experts – that’s our team. You shouldn’t have to spend hours researching and comparing policies. Let the specialists at Reichley guide you through the complex insurance industry.

Call today to alleviate the worry and get covered – (937) 429-0655.

 

Five Questions To Ask Your Broker

Five Questions To Ask Your Broker

There is a growing trend that involves the idea that insurance agents are different. And that when selecting your personal insurance, it pays to use an agent who has experience, knowledge and the service you need.

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 personal insurance concerns and questions. Your agent should be able to offer alternatives and services that others can’t. For example, can your agent help you with flood insurance, ATV coverage or your second home?

Here Are Five Questions To Ask You Broker

  1. What is your experience in the insurance industry?
  2. If I have a claim, how will you help me?
  3. How often will you call me to review my account?
  4. How many markets will you use to market my personal insurance program?
  5. What is your policy on following up with customer requests?

There are other ways to help you evaluate the agent, which include; visit their web page to learn more about their services, ask for references, and check other social media sites.

One Example Of How We Define Customer Service

This past year our community has been hit hard with wind damage from the Memorial Day Tornados. We should know because many of your clients have claims that we have been helping them with. Our team of professionals has been working hard to help our clients get the best possible settlement under the terms of their individual policies.

The services we provide during a claim is another good reason for individuals to partner with a local independent insurance agent. We work under the premise that insurance is a promise between the client and the insurer. Our job is to make sure all promises in the insurance policies are kept and communication between the insurance carriers and our clients maintained. People define integrity as doing the right thing when no one is watching. Over the past few months, I have noticed our staff acting with incredible integrity when dealing with both our clients and insurance carrier representatives; here are a few examples.

  • Representing our client’s interest to claims adjusters.
  • Visiting the damaged property.
  • Outlining our client’s coverage to insurance companies.
  • Asking for advances on behalf of your clients.
  • Confirming coverage terms to adjusters.
  • Educating clients on how the claims process works and what to expect.
  • Encouraging claims adjuster to offer proper settlements.

We are in business to make sure promises are kept and to educate our clients on the risks they face and how to manage them properly. Choosing the right insurance starts with choosing the right insurance agency.

 

 

How We Help You Make Informed Insurance Decisions

When it comes to your insurance, making the right decision can be the difference between a covered loss or a nightmare. Knowing what to look for is one thing, but it’s just as important to know what NOT to do when considering your insurance agent and the kind of insurance you may need. What your goal should always be is to get the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service. To help you get to this point, we have a process that we use that helps us known you better and educates you on your risk and how best to manage them. The process is the same for a family or a business.

Understanding

It is important that we have an understanding of your needs, concerns, and risks. Our goal is to gain knowledge of what risks you have and how we can manage these together. Some risks we can say for sure may need insurance, but there may be some risks where insurance is not the best solution.

Educating

Once we understand your risks and needs, we educate you on how to manage them best. We believe that our primary purpose is to educate and inform our clients so they can make the best possible decision.

Planning

Once we agree on what your risk is, we set up a plan. The plan may be to offer insurance options, increase deductibles, transfer your risk, or self-insure. Notice that this is the first time we mention insurance. If the first word out of an insurance professionals mouth is insurance, all they are doing is trying to sell you a product, not deliver on a promise.

Managing

We manage your program through insurance placement; risk reduction techniques claims assistance and customer service. We understand that our job does not end when your policy is delivered. We answer questions and solve problems throughout the entire year.

Evaluating

To continue the process, we assess your program and make corrections based changes in your needs and risk. We believe that your insurance needs change, and therefore, our approach needs to be flexible enough to adapt and change over time.

In the end, you have a better-designed insurance program and be more satisfied with the results. Just remember, cheaper is not better and better is not always more expensive. We offer a way to add value to your insurance purchases.

Agents Keep Changing And Evolving

Things Every Agent Should Be Doing

In case you have not figured it out, I am on a mission to change the way agents/brokers and their clients interact with each other. There are three things that every agent should be doing with their clients; educate, educate, educate. Ok, I know what you are thinking. Just like real-estate, it is location, location, and location. But not so fast.

Here Is What I Mean By Educate

Educate Your Clients About Their Risk

The very first thing every agent needs to do is help their clients understand what their risks are. Not just simply fire, wind, and auto hazards, but rather the client’s complete risks.  These risks can include liability assumed in a contract, cyber risk, employment liability, and more. This involves truly understanding the client’s business and how to create and deliver real solutions; some of which may not include insurance.

Educate Your Clients About Insurance

Every agent needs to be providing information to their clients on how insurance works, and the pros and cons of the insurance their clients are considering. Do your clients fully understand all the terms, conditions, and exclusions of their insurance?

Educate Your Clients About The Market

It is very important that your clients understand how the insurance markets work, including market trends and market volatility. The swings in market pricing can actually provide opportunities for our clients. As prices go up, why not increase the deductible, thus keeping premiums level?

It should always be the goal of every agent to help your clients understand the value you bring to the relationship.

Filing A Claim Correctly Can Save You Time And Money

We hope you never have an accident or loss.  But if you have a loss, knowing that your claim is covered by insurance will help.  That’s what insurance is all about.  And, if you understand the claim filing process, you will find that you will have fewer headaches and your claim will be resolved much faster.

Here are some tips to help you file your claim

Our agency is here to help you through the entire claim process.

  1. Always read your insurance policy so that you know what is covered and what is not covered.
  2. If you are unsure if your claim is covered, it is always good to call our office, or your agent. This is another good reason to have an independent agent to help you through the claim process. Don’t rely on the insurance company to interrupt coverage for you. Sometimes, just a conversation with the insurance company can be logged as a claim, even though no claim was filed.
  3. For auto accidents (depending on the damages), you will need to gather as much information as you can. Call your agent to obtain a check list to keep in your car. You can call our office for help, even right after the accident we are here to help. We offer a 24/7 client emergency number directly to our staff. It is ok to wake us up in the middle of the night; we may be in our pajamas, but we care about you.
  4. Document as much as you can. If you are involved in an auto accident, take photos with your smart phone. Get as many witnesses as possible.
  5. You have an obligation to prevent further damage. For example, if you have roof damage you will need to patch the roof with plastic or other material to prevent any further water damage.
  6. Understand that the claim process will involve working with a number of people. Our office can help take some of the work off your plate, but you will have to talk to the adjuster at some point to review the claim and settlement.
  7. Before accepting any settlement, make sure you are satisfied with the amount. Also make sure you read all the documents.
  8. Remember, all property losses may be subject to your deductible and deductibles may vary within the policy. This will help you understand the expectations of what is covered and what is not.
  9. Use our agency as your resource; we are here to help you manage the claim process.

 

 

What Is Risk Analysis And Why Is It So Important?

What Is Risk Analysis And Why Is It So Important?

The term risk analysis tends to sound like a complicated thing. But simply put, risk analysis is a review of the things that might create a loss for you, your family, or business.

Why Is This important?

You have so much invested in your family, home, and business. You need to have an understanding of things that might happen, which will create a negative impact on your family and business.

What Role Does Your Agent Play?

Your agent will be your guide, consultant, and advisor through this process. It is important that you have an agent who is not interested in selling you insurance. Your agent needs to educate you on your risk, offer options, and work with you to make sure you are correctly protected.

If your agent does not understand or is not interested in this process, you will be left with inadequate protection.

If your agent offers an off the shelf homeowners policy, without asking questions and educating you might get stuck in the event of a claim. For example, you have a fire in your business and have to move out for three months during reconstruction. Do you have the right coverage to help you with temporary rent, and other expenses? What if you have to close your business and you have a loss of revenue? Knowing the right coverage and limits you need is the responsibility of your agent.

We Help Make The Complex Simple

We offer a series of questions to help our clients understand their risk and what options they have to manage them, based on their individual situations.

We educate our clients so they can make informed decisions. For example, if you are renting out a part of your home, you will need special insurance, as your homeowner’s policy excludes operating a business out of your home.

If you own a home and have other financial assists, you may need a personal umbrella policy. This protects you against litigation or claims where your primary coverage is exhausted.

Let’s start a conversation on how we might be able to educate you and design an insurance program that fits your individual needs.

After Recent Storms Agents Show Their Value.

The recent storm and resulting damage have offered a reminder just how important the right kind of insurance can be. It also      re-enforces just how important your agent can be in helping you through the claim process.

People buy insurance to protect their family and financial assets from a loss. So when a loss occurs, most people expect their insurance to step up and take care of the issue.  Understanding insurance and the process involved in designing a policy can help prevent a standard claim from turning into a disaster.

How We Are Adding Value Post Storm

  • Helping clients finding contractors.
  • Offering ideas regarding money clients received from the insurance adjuster.
  • Communicating how the claim process works. For example, why the insurance company only paid a portion of the damage estimate at first.
  • Reminding people that claims are a “process’ of steps, not a one and done approach.
  • Helping to match volunteer disaster relief with clients in need.
  • Acting as a location and resource for internet, meeting space for adjusters and contractors to meet with clients displaced by the storms.
  • Helping clients with a final proof of loss.
  • Providing information on how to present your claim in a way to obtain the best payment based on your coverage terms.

Why Your Agents Knowledge And Experience Matters

Having a well-written policy at the time of a loss will make the entire process easier and more efficient.  Every insurance policy offers basic coverage like coverage for your home and personal property.  A trusted insurance partner will go beyond this and counsel you on how much coverage limits you may need and the benefits of modifying deductibles based on your financial capabilities.

The Value of Annual Insurance Reviews

An annual insurance review can offer time for the client and agent to sit down and determine what kind of coverage is needed based on your unique needs. This has become increasingly important after the recent Memorial Day tornado.

Your policy has coverage limits and deductible that will apply to each loss or claim. We can help you understand how these work and the value to you of adjusting these based on your individual needs.

We help you understand the value of viewing insurance as more than just a policy. It is a relationship with your agent and the insurance company. Your agent can become a trusted partner and help you with many areas of your personal insurance. This involves building a relationship of trust. You will want to have a comfortable, professional

Low Premium Vs. Value… Which Is Better?

Many people think the best way to select an insurance agent is to hire the one that offers the lowest possible price. Lower price can mean inferior coverage and that’s fine until you experience a loss that isn’t covered. My goal is to help you understand that there is more to insurance then getting the lowest price. I use concepts like value, cost benefit and service as a foundation for the agent/customer relationship.

Here are a few ideas to help you along your path

Independent agents offer more options. Independent agents represent many different insurers. You want an agent who represents many insurers; especially an insurer who have experience in your specific industry, and who is willing to take the time to get to know you. Allow the agent to market your risk with many different insurers, this is a good way to bring vale to the process. You want a relationship, not a policy.

What can your agent offer? If you own a business and are looking for an agent to write your commercial insurance, you want to make sure they have experience in your industry. If your agent only has experience with personal lines, do they really have the experience and knowledge you need?

Know your agent’s credentials and experience. Ask your agent about their experience and qualifications. Are they investing in extra training and or do they have accreditations, like ARM or CIC. Also ask about their staff, is the account manager also seeking additional designations.

Does the agents personality fit with yours? Your agent can become trusted advisor and help you with many areas of your business. This involves building a relationship of trust. You will want to have a comfortable, professional relationship with your agent, so you can ask questions and get the straightforward responses you deserve.

Your agent can build an insurance program that provides sound insurance and risk management that adds value. And in the long run value is much better than low price.

Are You Looking In The Right Places For Your Insurance?

A More Effective Way To Think About Insurance.

Everyone is looking for a good deal on his or her personal insurance.  Some people define a “good deal” as getting the lowest priced insurance, much like buying gas or other products of a similar kind.  However, there is a different way to define the “best deal” in insurance terms.  We want you to get the best value.  Let me describe what I mean.

You Are Hiring Agent—Not Buying A Policy

Rather than shopping around for the lowest cost insurance, why not shop for an agent who can help you find the best value.  Independent agents represent many different insurers.  You will benefit from an agent who represents many insurers; especially an insurer who has experience with your individual needs.  When you allow an agent to market your insurance needs to several insurers, it is an excellent way to bring value to the process and ensure that you will be presented with the best options available on the market today.  You want a relationship, not just a policy.

Insurance policies are not all created equal. Insurance is not like a commodity; insurance companies offer many different kinds of policies that may or may not offer the coverage you need.  Why pay for insurance you do not need, or worse, pay for coverage you thought you had but did not.

As an independent agent, we will not sell you more insurance, we will provide the right insurance.  In some circumstances, we may even tell our clients not to buy insurance.

Ask your agent about their experience and qualifications. Are they investing in extra training and do they have accreditations?

A good agent will:

  • Ask questions
  • Educate you
  • Bring their knowledge and skills into the relationship
  • Act an advisor not a sale person
  • Become a trusted partner

Agents Help Fill The Gap

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 have policy limits or deductibles not designed for your needs.  An agent acting as your advisor can help you identify these gaps and offer solutions.

We often use the phrase, “You often don’t know what you don’t know.”  Our job as your trusted partner is to listen to you, educate you, then partner with you in developing the right insurance solutions.

Here Is How You Benefit

  • The complex becomes clear. When you have a relationship with the agent who is serving you, they will make the complex world of insurance understandable and how best to manage it.
  • Is Insurance the only option? Clients may not always understand that there may be other ways to handle risk.  A trusted advisor is in the education business – not the selling business.
  • Value-added benefits. With a trusted advisor, you the buyer will have all the resources and knowledge of the agent and his/her team.
  • You have access to other experts. Wouldn’t it be great if your agent brought to your team attorneys, accountants, claims experts, loss control professionals, and more?  Well, a trusted advisor will do just that.

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

Reichley Insurance believes insurance is more than a transaction.  Insurance involves a trusted relationship built on a promise to put people before policies. Our promise is to listen to you, identify your risks, and provide solutions.  Every Reichley employee has the heart of a teacher.  Connect with us to experience The Reichley difference.