Friday, February 17, 2017

Original Fire Insurance Policy

Today when you receive your homeowner policy in the mail it comes as a thick packet usually about 40-50 pages in depth.  Each year the policy renews, you get a similar package delivered to you.  On and on this goes until you sell your current house and then get another.  Once again, however, as you setup your homeowner policy on the new house you get yet another 40-50 page packet.  I mention this because it was not always this way.  Like every other industry, things used to be simpler.  The photo that is with this article is of a fire policy dating back to 1833 that hangs in our office.  During the time of this policy there was only one page to the insurance packet.  It held the logo of the insurance company on the top and then the rest of it was the contract language.  When you sold your home you did not go out and purchase another policy.  Instead you would go get the insurance policy from the prior homeowner and have it signed over to you.  If you look closely at the photo you will see where there is writing all around the document which shows the different transfers of ownership.  Ah, the simpler times.

One thing to note though, this policy only covered you for fire.  Damage from wind, theft, water leaks, liability, etc. had not been invented yet.  Though they were simpler times the coverage was not nearly as good as it is today.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


A risk that is not addressed by many businesses in this era of technology is protecting data.  Whether that data is your own data or that of your clients, it constantly stands at risk of theft or corruption.  We always recommend taking risk management action such as firewalls, strong passwords, management of mobile devices, etc.  However, one other risk management action we recommend is the purchase of insurance that will cover your business for network data breaches, electronic copy write infringements and computer viruses.  We strongly recommend this to businesses that deal with Personal Identifiable Information (PII) which are things like dates of birth, social security numbers, addresses, credit card information, financial information and health information.    

Your typical liability and property insurance policies do not have the type of coverage that best protect your business if you were subject to a cyber-attack or stolen data.  There are specialty policies built to help keep your business going after such claims.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Driver Safe Using New Technology

There is a lot of new technology in cars to help keep you safe when driving on the road.  These tech features are only good if you know how to use them when driving.  Here is a video put together by Travelers insurance to help educate you on a few tips.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Our best tips to help your property withstand winter


If you haven’t made preparations already, now might be your last chance to get your home or business in shape before the coldest months of the year. Here are our best tips for commercial property owners and homeowners that can help you prevent damage from the worst that winter has to offer.
A well-maintained building is ready for winter
Buildings protect us from the elements but, like people, are not immune to seasonal change. Take action to help protect your commercial building from the effects of winter. Your efforts now will keep you and your customers more comfortable later.
Here are some tips for owners of commercial buildings covering general building maintenance; snow and ice removal and management; and frozen pipe prevention. More
Let it flow! Let it flow! Let it flow!
Did you know that letting your most weather-susceptible faucets drip during periods of extreme cold can keep your water pipes from freezing? Don’t let cold weather ice your pipes this winter!
Because liquid expands as it freezes, pipes full of water are vulnerable, and those outdoors or running against exterior walls are especially susceptible. With a few preventive steps, you can save the expense and bother of burst pipes and water damage. More
First aid for frozen pipes – steps to prevent more problems
There’s plenty of cold weather ahead of us – enough to freeze pipes, causing costly water damage at your home or business.
If you suspect you have a frozen pipe – you’ve turned on the faucet, but no water comes out – call a qualified plumber immediately. Shut off the main water valve, and leave the faucets open until repairs are made. If a pipe has burst, take the necessary steps to prevent further damage, and contact your insurance agent to file a claim. More

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

New federal overtime guidelines under FLSA

By and  of Cincinnati Insurance Company

A new federal rule for overtime pay that becomes effective December 1, 2016, may increase an employer’s need for EPLI – employment practices liability insurance.
In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule updating its overtime regulations. For decades, the DOL’s federal wage and hour law, known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), required employers to pay nonexempt employees overtime at 1.5 times an employee’s regular rate of pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. The DOL last updated the exemptions to the FLSA’s overtime standards in 2004.

The 2016 update expands eligibility for overtime pay by limiting exemptions. And states can expand overtime protections even further. If your business employs nonexempt workers, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with any updates to state-specific rules.
EPLI coverage protects your business or organization and your employees when confronted with allegations that an employee’s rights were violated. EPLI provides protection for covered claims, relieving insureds from paying significant defense costs and potential settlements or judgments. Additionally, having the proper protection in place helps you attract and retain the most qualified people.

The new overtime rule effective December 1 more than doubles the salary threshold for exempt employees, increasing the number of employees eligible for overtime pay.
In most instances, employers must reclassify salaried employees who earn less than $913 per week as nonexempt employees. This means that formerly salaried employees earning less than $47,476 annually will become eligible for overtime pay.
Going forward, the DOL will update the salary and compensation levels automatically every three years. According to DOL projections, it is estimated that on January 1, 2020, the threshold will rise to $51,000.

The updated rule allows employers to consider some nondiscretionary bonuses, commissions and various types of incentive payments to satisfy up to 10 percent of the salary threshold.
If you have not begun implementing a strategy to comply with the updated overtime rule, now is the time to begin. A successful implementation strategy includes:

            -A detailed transition plan

            -Handouts explaining the new rules and transition timelines

            -Talking points for managers responsible for discussing changes with employees

            -Training on proper time-reporting procedures for reclassified employees

            -Addressing changes in payment frequency or timing for reclassified employees

Like many employment issues, the new overtime guidelines can be complex. Contact your local independent agent to discuss EPLI coverage for your business.

Coverages described here are in the most general terms and are subject to actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your independent agent.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Make sure your insurance keeps up with your business

Cincinnati Insurance Company Blog by Wayne Pinney
A business owner doesn’t have to understand every detail of a machine or a process to benefit from it. How many drivers understand what is going on under the hood? How many machine operators are able to repair the machine? Insurance coverage can be the same way.

Just as you rely on a qualified technician to properly evaluate, maintain or repair a complex piece of equipment, you rely on your independent agent to evaluate your insurance needs and guide you in obtaining the necessary coverages, including business interruption and extra expense coverage.
For example, consider essential equipment you use every day to operate your business. The equipment does not have to be involved in actual manufacturing or assembly of a product to be vital to your operation; it could be equipment used to provide services, facilitate communication or manipulate critical data.

To be successful, you must invest considerable time, effort and expense to evaluate costs of operating and maintaining the equipment. Unless you make that investment before you buy, you could be in for unpleasant surprises. And you’re not home free once the equipment is installed and contributing to your business’s success. You need to know how the machinery – or its failure – could affect your bottom line.

Similarly, you don’t want to guess about the production value of equipment when you establish insurance limits and deductibles needed to recover from a covered equipment failure.
Business interruption and extra expense insurance coverage is calculated based on the language in your insurance contract and in accordance with accounting principles. It also takes into consideration many aspects of your operating profits and expenses that may not be obvious from a cursory review of production numbers.

Business interruption coverage is just as important to your business as the machine itself – maybe more important. It’s not uncommon for the business interruption portion of a covered machinery and equipment loss to dwarf the loss associated with physical repair of the equipment.

Your local independent agent, who is familiar with your business and the provisions of your insurance contracts, can be a source for essential information and guidance. Consider inviting him or her into any conversation you may have about protecting your business from loss. You will be glad you did.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Are you properly insuring your other structures?

Cincinnati Insurance Company Blog by William Maples

There’s more to your homeowner policy than just coverage for the house you live in. It also provides coverage for other structures on your property.

These may include all structures and buildings not sharing a foundation with your house. Most insurance policies provide 10 percent coverage for other structures. For example, if you insure your home for $200,000 an additional limit of $20,000 applies to all other structures. Remember that if you have a total loss, you don’t receive $20,000 for each structure, but $20,000 total for damage to all other structures. A large detached garage by itself can exceed this amount in many cases.
So how do you know you have appropriate coverage?

If you have detached structures on your land, it is best to consult with your local independent insurance agent to discuss options. A pool house, large barn, garage with living space, fence, freestanding deck and stable may fall into different categories, and your agent can help make sure you have the correct coverage to protect you in the event of a total loss.

While the chances of losing all your other structures at one time are small, you want to secure enough coverage to protect your investments. You may need more than the 10 percent standard coverage for appurtenant structures.

Also consider that many different types of structures could qualify for coverage on your policy, and it’s important to select the correct category based on usage. Your agent can advise you on the information you will need to provide to obtain the coverage that’s right for your situation.
A good example is a barn. Barns can be built in many different ways from a variety of materials. By providing accurate information on usage and construction, you can be assured that your property is protected.

If your other structure is being rented, is used for a business or was not reported, you are most likely not adequately insured. Your agent has the expertise to guide you.
Finally, don’t forget to assess how much insurance protection you need for personal property housed in your other structures. For example, a home woodshop in your barn could have valuable equipment you’ll want to protect. Ask your agent for advice.

The best way to look at it is to think of insuring your other freestanding structures the same way you would your home. You want 100 percent coverage for each structure in the event of a loss. Replacement of these structures is typically less expensive than a home, but those costs can add up and represent a significant loss.

Coverages described here are in the most general terms and are subject to actual policy conditions and exclusions. For actual coverage wording, conditions and exclusions, refer to the policy or contact your independent agent.