Insurance has changed. Every day the insurance companies are changing the way they write and issue policies. Many companies now decline to write a new homeowner’s policy unless they also write the auto policy and some of them have released stricter guidelines for claims. These changes have already been made and more are sure to come. If you are a client of Welch, Graham and Ogden Insurance, Inc. you can rest easy with the knowledge that we are working very hard to make sure that all of you are aware of these changes. We will be working with each of you to make sure that the impact from these changes is as minimal as possible. If you know anyone who would also benefit from the value of WGO’s service, please tell them to get in touch with us or tell us their name and contact information and we will be happy to contact them for a free no obligation insurance review. Not insured with WGO? Get in touch with us and we will be happy to discuss your current insurance, assess your insurance needs and provide a full review. You may contact us through live chat at www.facebook.com/WGOInsurance.com or www.wgoins.com , call us, email us or come to our office. We look forward to hearing from you!
Do you need a Cyber Liability Policy?
Data Breach can be a major concern for businesses that keep personal customer data on file. Things like: Social Security Numbers, Credit Card Numbers, Date of Birth... are all valuable information to identity thieves. Large corporations spend significant amounts of money securing this data, and some companies will even employ expert computer security personnel to protect client data. But it only takes one lost laptop, or one hacked password, and all that special security is worthless.
Historically, computer hackers focused mainly on the large corporations, with lots of customer data. But the new trend is towards smaller Mail Street business. These small businesses may not have vast amounts of data, but they also don't have the resources to buy high end data security, making them much easier targets.
Once a Data Breach occurs, the Federal Government mandates the steps that must be taken, including notifying the people who lost their data. In order to properly follow the rules, you will likely require an attorney and/or spend a lot of time researching the appropriate process. Then there is the actual cost of having to notify everyone that has been effected (stamps, letters, and time). If the breach is bad enough, you may end up having to do some Public Relations and advertizing to keep from losing customers.
Those are just Response Expenses. What if each person wants you to provide Credit Monitoring or if you get sued for expenses incurred by a customer? As you can see, this can get expensive very quickly.
Because data breach is not "Bodily injury" or "Property Damage", a standard General Liability policy does not cover Data Breach losses. A special Cyber Liability policy is necessary to provide proper protection. Coverage can be purchased for:
1. Notification Expenses
2. Advertizing Expenses
3. Defense Costs
4. Identity Theft Call Center
5. Credit Monitoring
If you must keep personal data, then you are responsible for protecting it.
To learn more about Cyber Liability, or any other Business Insurance Coverage, contact us!
Being a fire safe family takes teamwork. Be sure that you and your family are prepared.
1. Install Smoke Detectors. WORKING SMOKE DETECTORS can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping.
2. Plan Your Escape From Fire. IF A FIRE BREAKS OUT in your home, you have to get out fast. Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and agreeing on an escape plan.
3. Keep An Eye On Smokers. Careless cigarette smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be deadly.
4. Cook with care. Never leave cooking unattended.
5. Give Space Heaters Space. Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet (one meter) from anything that can burn.
6. Remember: Matches And Lighters Are Tools, Not Toys. Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, and/or locked away.
7. Cool A Burn. Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never put butter or any grease on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately. Never use ice.
8. Use Electricity Safely. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Don't overload extension cords or run them under rugs.
9. Crawl Low Under Smoke. The air is cleaner near the floor.
10. Stop, Drop and Roll.
This blog has nothing to do with insurance but in honor of Fall I thought I would share with you a pretty cool recipe! Apple Pie in the Apple! Enjoy!
You will need:
5-6 Granny Smith apples that can stand on their own
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Pie Crust (homemade or pre-made)
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the top of 4 apples off and discard. Remove the inside of the apples, careful to not damage the apple wall. Remove skin from remaining apples and slice very thinly. These apples will be used for additional filling for your baked apples (in the apple). Mix sliced apples with sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. Use more or less cinnamon and sugar as desired. Scoop sliced apples into hollow apples. Roll out pie crust and slice into 1/4 inch strips. Cover the top of the apple in a lattice pattern with pie crust strips. Place apples in an 8x8 pan. If your apples are big you may need a bigger pan. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and sliced apples are soft.
These are a great weekend activity to do with the kids. They will have fun helping you make them and even more fun eating them!
It is more important than ever to have all of your insurance together with the same company. Some companies even require both the home and auto to write the business; without the auto they won't write the home. Many companies have also increased the multi-policy discounts they offer. To get the best premiums, if possible, you need to have all of your policies together with the same company. Give us a call and we will be happy to do a full account review with you on all of your policies!
Did you know that we offer an emergency contact program to our clients? Too many claims happen when the insured is on vacation or away on business, and when they get home they are faced with the loss and the mess. When we write your homeowner's policy we offer to take the information of a neighbor or close relative and we will call them to introduce ourselves and send them our information so if you are ever away and a loss happens they can contact us for you. We can then start processing the claim even while you are still away! Give us a call if you would like to establish an emergency contact on your account! Thank you and have a wonderful day!
The other day a local radio station was taking calls from people who have purposely hit somebody else’s car for one reason or another. Amazed by the number of callers and people who very openly admitted to doing this; we thought this was a great topic to address from an insurance point of view.
A quick insurance lesson on liability coverage under your home, auto and umbrella policies may help you to avoid making the same choice that some of those callers made.
Getting straight to the point, an intentional act will not be covered. Coverage is not provided for any insured who commits or conspires to commit an act with the intent to cause a loss. So for example, if you purposely hit another person’s car with your car, throw something at somebody during an argument and hurt them or get mad at a neighbor and throw a brick through their window- none of that will be covered and you will be picking up those expenses on your own. Remember too that repair of the cars or the broken window are most likely not the only expenses you will be faced with. There may be medical bills, attorney fees to defend yourself if they sue you and those are just a couple of the many possible expenses that you could face.
Please feel free to call, live chat or email us with any questions regarding your insurance policies. We love to hear form our clients are here to assist in any way we can!
Have a wonderful day, stay safe and always think before you act!
Check out the great home inventory tool created by the Insurance Information Institute. https://www.knowyourstuff.org/iii/login.html
A home inventory is very important and everyone should keep one! The time of loss is not the time to try and recall everything you own. With this great tool you can create and store your own home inventory so it is available anytime, from anywhere.
On July 1, 2012 changes relating to the proper use of Certificates of Insurance went in to effect. It was earlier this year during the Virginia Acts of Assembly; an act to amend the code relating to unfair insurance trade practices regarding certificates of insurance was approved. The Virginia Bureau of Insurance indicated the changes came due to a general misunderstanding of how certificates are supposed to be used. According to The Bureau some private and public entities have requested insurers and agents to issue certificates that are not consistent with the policy or contract. Issuing a certificate that is inconsistent with the underlying insurance policy or contract is a direct violation of the state’s insurance code and can subject agents and insurers to possible disciplinary action.
The vice president of education and technical affairs for the Independent Insurance Agents of Virginia, Joe Hudgins, said many of the association’s members received multiple requests from the construction business.
An example of an improper request includes an agent who was sent a request to add language to the certificate saying there were no exclusions. The insured wanted certain operations covered and meant that none of the operations were excluded but placing the phrase “there’s no exclusions on the policy that apply to construction” would indicate the policy had none.
Another example was a request received to add an additional endorsement to the worker’s compensation policy; however, doing so is illegal in the state of Virginia.
If an agent doesn’t put something on the certificate that may be false or misleading then their insured may risk not getting the contract or getting kicked off the job, and possibly not getting paid for work already done, so this has become a problem.
If an agent puts something on a certificate that’s not covered and gives it out, even though that certificate is not a contract, if something happens, the insured and/or certificate holder can go to court and use that certificate. The judge may rule that the insurance company has to pay it since the agent said it was covered so the insurance company then sues the agent. The agent is left without coverage because that’s an intentional act and insurance doesn’t cover them.
Joe Hudgins and Bob Bradshaw, president and CEO of the association, approached Virginia Senator John Watkins and Delegate Tom Rust to introduce the bill to the VA General Assembly and it was passed unanimously.
Section 38.2-518 Certificates of Insurance, has been added to the insurance code. The new section details the definition of what a certificate of insurance is and applies to all certificates issued in the state of Virginia.
“Amending 38.2-515 gives the Bureau of Insurance the authority to enforce the law. The penalties are in the code and it could be monetary penalties or losing your license, not just as an insurance agent or an insurance company; but a certificate holder, say a contractor, if they knowingly demand something that they know is false or misleading, they can be prosecuted,” Hudgins said. “The law gives the Bureau of Insurance the authority to police it, the authority to enforce it. The law is specific. It says ‘any person’ not just an insurance agent or an insurance company. It defines what a certificate of insurance is and what it isn’t.”
B. No person shall issue or deliver any certificate of insurance that attempts to confer any rights upon a third party beyond what the referenced policy of insurance expressly provides.
C. No certificate of insurance may represent an insurer’s obligation to give notice of cancellation or nonrenewal to a third party unless the giving of such notice is required by the policy.
D. No person shall issue or deliver a certificate of insurance unless it contains a substantially similar statement to the following: “This certificate of insurance is issued as a matter of information only. It confers no rights upon the third party requesting the certificate beyond what the referenced policy of insurance expressly provides. This certificate of insurance does not extend, amend, or alter the coverage, terms, exclusions, or conditions afford by the policy referenced in this certificate of insurance.” If a certificate of insurance is required by a state or federal agency and accurately reflects the coverage provided by the underlying policies, no such statement is required.
E. No person shall knowingly demand or require the issuance of a certificate of insurance from an insurer, insurance provider, or policyholder that contains any false or misleading information concerning the policy of insurance to which the certificate makes reference.
F. No person shall knowingly prepare or issue a certificate of insurance that contains any false or misleading information or that purports to affirmatively or negatively alter, amend, or extend the coverage provided by the policy of insurance to which the certificates makes reference.
Other states are also starting to take action and enforce stricter Certificate of Insurance requirements.
If you are an insured or a certificate holder, you should familiarize yourself with these requirements. If you have any questions or are uncertain of a request, give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.
*Information for this blog provided by InsuranceJournal.com
Due to the recent summer storms many of you have experienced downed trees that have caused property damage. Tree damage during a storm is a natural event that is neither person’s fault, so if a tree has fallen from your neighbor’s yard, it is considered your tree and your responsibility. If the tree damaged your auto the claim must be called in under your auto policy. If it caused damage to your home or property, you will need to put a claim under your homeowner’s policy. A review of your policy will give you more specific coverage information.
Before deciding to enter a claim, you should consider the damage repair or tree removal costs and your deductible limit. If the claim amount does not meet or will barely exceed your deductible then filing a claim will not be worth it. It is always a good idea to consult your agent before entering a claim because repeated claims can result in increased premium or possible nonrenewal of coverage.