Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Safe Travels this Holiday!

The Holidays are in full swing and with Christmas just a couple of days away; many have already started their Holiday travels. Being the insurance people that we are, here are a few tips for a safe and secure season of travel.

1) Make your home seem like someone is still there. You can do this several ways. Leave your front and back porch lights on so that at night your house is lit up. Ask a neighbor to collect your mail while you are gone so it doesn’t stack up. You can also ask the post office to hold if for you until you get back. Another way to make it look like you are home is to ask a neighbor to pull in and out of your driveway at some point if it snows giving the appearance that you have been in and out of your house.

2) Don’t show off to the Facebook world that you are on vacation. I know this can be tough for some but letting everyone know you are out of town on Facebook can be dangerous. We recommend waiting until you get home from your trip before you post vacation pictures.

3) Car travelers should be prepared for heavy snow at all times. The best way to do this is to make sure you have extra blankest, windshield washer fluid, ice scrapers and even a small shovel. You never know when you might need any of those things. Also, be sure to have your phone charged during the trip so that you have it in case of an emergency.

4) Don’t skimp on heat in your home: This time last year our big recommendation in our “Traveling Over the Holiday” blog article was to keep the heat in your house at a reasonable level so your pipes don’t freeze. Again, we recommend this.

Those are just a few simple tips. We here at Fey Insurance hope you have a wonderful Holiday and Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Business Medical Payments

Your business liability policy covers you for claims due to your negligence. Medical payments coverage provides payment for bodily injury to third parties that occur on the premises you own or rent as a result of your operations regardless of negligence.

The rationale for this coverage is insurers believe an injured party is less likely to sue you if they receive prompt payment for their medical expenses. Medical payments coverage expedites payment to an injured party without their having to sue.

A relatively high medical payments limit chosen by you might reduce the chances of a minor claim escalating into a lengthy and expensive claims process.

For claims that might be larger than your chosen medical payments limit, the liability portion of your policy would apply if it were determined that you were negligent. Regardless of your fault the commercial liability policy will provide a defense if you are sued by a third party, even if the claim is groundless.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Auto Insurance Basics

States have laws requiring drivers to carry auto insurance, sometimes referred to as financial responsibility laws. There are a number of ways a driver can show his ability to pay for injuries and damages. By a wide margin, auto insurance is the most common form of financial responsibility compliances and is the most frequently purchased form of insurance.

The two basic components of auto insurance coverage are liability and physical damage coverages. Liability coverage will pay for your negligence resulting in bodily injury and or property damage. Claims for bodily injury could include claims for medical expenses, lost wages, consequential damages including pain and suffering. Property damage coverage pays for the damage you may do to the property of others. Liability coverage includes the cost of defending yourself against liability claims. A companion coverage that is of great value is uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage protects you if you are injured by an uninsured driver.

Physical damage coverage can provide collision and or comprehensive coverage. Collision coverage provides payment for damage to your automobile as the result of a collision with an object. Comprehensive coverage pays for the damage to your auto by causes other than collision. Collision and comprehensive coverages are optional and not required by law. If you have a lien on the automobile, the lender will require you carry these coverages.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cyber Week

Monday this week was Cyber Monday. This was the Black Friday equivalent for online retailers. Many online retailers have extended the single day event and have been calling this Cyber Week. We at Fey Insurance bring this up because it is very important for both consumers and retailers to be cautious about identity theft during this time. Earlier this year we posted a blog article about Password Protection and we encourage you to revisit that article for tips on creating secure passwords. Also, below you will find a poem that was posted on and was written by Amanda Lorenz. The poem has a few good tips for online holiday shoppers, so we wanted to share it with you:

Identity Theft: A Christmas Poem
by Amanda Lorenz

Twas the month before Christmas and all through the house,
All the children were networking with the click of a mouse.
Cyber thieves were nestled all snug in their chairs,
Waiting for shoppers to unknowingly share.
As I shopped for him and he shopped for me,
The thieves stole our money and our financial history.
We did not even realize that this information was taken,
And we thought the denial of our credit card was mistaken.
Using Phishing or SMiShing and hacking the links,
Our private information was retrieved in a blink.
Perhaps we should have shopped on a network that was secure,
Or at least checked our credit reports monthly to be sure,
That thieves were not using our names and our faces
To purchase plane tickets to tropical places.
So to all of the shoppers who like to avoid the crowd,
Protect your info this season and make CyberInquirer proud!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Damage to Rented Premises

Any time a business rents or leases a space to operate from they sign a contract. In that contract are insurance requirements stating that the tenant will carry certain liability limits. Normally they will ask the tenant to carry a commercial general liability policy, and more often than not they ask for at least $1,000,000 per occurrence limit. The reason they ask for this is that if the tenant is the cause of a fire or other type of damage to the rented building, the landlord wants to make sure that the tenant’s insurance will pay for the damages, and not their own insurance.

Commercial General Liability takes care of a lease contract with two different types of coverages. The first is the coverage I mentioned above of $1,000,000 per occurrence limit. This coverage, however, only gets the tenant half way there. The per occurrence limit doesn’t cover for actual areas of a building that the tenant rents or leases. It will pay for only the part of the building that is not rented by the tenant. An example might help explain this better.

Let’s say that business XYZ, Inc rents unit A of a four unit office building. If XYZ, Inc causes a fire that extends damages to both unit A and unit B, the per occurrence portion of their insurance policy will only cover damages to unit B. It will not pay for damages to unit A because it is leased or rented by them.

Damage to Rented Premises (sometimes called Fire Legal Liability) is the other coverage a tenant needs when they rent space. This coverage is often included in a general liability policy as well but many times is not specifically mentioned in lease contracts. In the example above, Damage to Rented Premises would be the coverage that would pay for unit A that XYZ, Inc. rented.

The reason I bring this up as a blog article topic is because the Damage to Rented Premises is often overlooked. Since it is left out of many lease contracts, businesses don’t think to check with their insurance carrier about the coverage. Your typical commercial general liability policy will only include $100,000 to $500,000. If company XYZ, Inc. in the above example rented a large space, this may not be enough coverage, and they could pay for some of the damages out of pocket.

So next time you rent a space for your business be sure to have Fey Insurance Services review the lease and double check your commercial general liability insurance limits to make sure you are covered in case of a large fire.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Online Backup Programs

In a recent article on we read a few frightening statistics:

1) Of the 700 million computers in the world, about 10% will crash each day.

2) 50% of the business who did not have a back up of their files will never reopen in the event a main computer or server crashes.

3) Only 6% of internet users actually back up their data on a daily basis.

The best way to avoid becoming one of the tragedies is to invest in an Online Backup program. For home use there are a number to choose from such as Mozy, Carbonite, IDrive, MiMedia, Norton Online Backup, SOS Online Backup and others. Presently they are easy to setup and once in operation they will all automatically backup any changes you make to your computer's files without you having to do a thing.

Depending on the size of your computer's hard drive and the speed of your Internet access, the initial backup can take some time. It can range from a few hours, to days or even a full week. If you have a lot of digital photographs on your computer, you could be looking at a week or so for the initial backup. But once the initial backup is established, the Online Backup will do incremental backups only on files which have changed or new files added since the last backup. Those incremental backups will run fairly quickly. Before deciding if Online Backups for home or business are for you, consider what the ramifications would be if you lost all of your personal photos or all of your business records in a computer crash.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Winterize Your Outside Faucet

Disconnect your outdoor hoses from their outdoor faucets before it gets too cold. We have already had the first freeze warning for Fall 2010, so if you have not done so, now is a good time to disconnect your outdoor hoses from their outdoor faucets and store the hoses away. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of the water in the attached hoses freezing and cracking the water pipes going into your house. In the Spring when you turn on the hose you could have substantial water damage in your home from the cracked pipes.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Insurance Term: "Underwriter"

When discussing insurance, whether in the news or with your own insurance agent you hear the term “Underwriter”. I thought that with this blog post I would tell you a little bit about what an underwriter does in the property and casualty insurance world and tell you where there name comes from.

An underwriter is a person who works for a financial institution, and for this blog we will specifically talk about a property and casualty insurance company. The underwriter’s job is to assess risk and determine if an individual or business is eligible for the insurance company’s products and what pricing they will receive. They pour over the data give them by either you the customer, your insurance agent, other third party data sources and/or the historical data of your account to help them come up with their decisions.

So where does the term “Underwriter” come from? Back in the late 1600’s groups of merchants, investors and sea captains gathered at a little coffee shop in London owned by a man named Edward Lloyd. Between sips of Ed’s coffee the merchants who had a large cargo of goods to ship overseas would sit down with business investors and ask them to give some kind of financial backing if something happened to their cargo of goods while being shipped. Investors would agree to pay for the lost cargo if the ship didn’t make it to its destinations but required a fee or premium from the merchant for taking on this possible loss. Eventually the merchants started to post on the walls of Ed’s coffee shop the amount of backing they needed for their shipment. The investor would then come and writer their name under the request and there the contract was bound. The fact that the investor wrote “under” the request is key because there is where they came up with the term “Underwriter”.

One other item to note; does the named Lloyd sound familiar? Edward Lloyd’s coffee shop was the birth place of Lloyd’s of London.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Products and Completed Operations Hazard

If you manufacture, sell or distribute a product, there is a possibility that the use of the product could cause bodily injury. The example everyone thinks of is a stepladder. Next time you are at the home improvement store take a look at all the warnings that ladder manufactures put on their product. Who really needs to be told not to stand on the top rung of a ladder? But, it is because of the product liability hazard that manufacturers feel it is necessary to include so many warning with their products. Even if you are not the manufacturer, and simple sell someone else’s products, you could still be liable.

The second part of this coverage is completed operations coverage. If you install or repair products such as a heating system, you could be negligent should damage be caused by your work after you work is done. Let’s say that you installed a new furnace in a restaurant, and later that day a fire ensues. The fire marshal determines that product literature that was left inside the furnace caught fire further melting a plastic cover causing black smoke to spread throughout the premises. The business had to close until repairs and cleanup could be completed. A substantial amount of money was lost and the cleanup was in the thousands of dollars.

Both of the situations cited above would be covered if your policy includes products and completed operations coverage. Not sure if your package includes this coverage; give us a call to review.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Insurance Score, What is it?

When it comes to figuring out what premium an insurance company is going to charge a person to insure them, there are a lot of factors. On a homeowner it depends on the year the house was built, where the home is located, what kind of construction is the house, etc. On auto insurance it was based on age of the driver, type of vehicle, how much you drive the car, what type of limits and deductibles you have, etc.

A number of years ago a new factor was added to this list for both home and auto insurance called insurance score. An insurance score helps insurance companies determine the future likelihood of auto or home claims. The insurance score takes into account two major categories. The first is your past claims history, meaning what claims have been reported and paid by the home and/or auto insurance company.

The second is your financial behaviors. By financial behaviors they mean things like your current outstanding debt, how much credit history you have, how often you pay or not pay bills on time, have you ever foreclosed or declared bankruptcy, how often do you apply for credit card or other loans. It does not factor in, however, your age, race, income level, marital status, etc.

So what does this insurance score do to your insurance premiums? Well, if you have a good insurance score, companies give you a break on pricing because they feel you are less likely to have insurance claims and therefore should be paying less in insurance premiums. If you have a poor insurance score, then they may charge debits to your insurance premium which can then cause your premium to increase. As mentioned earlier, insurance companies feel that if your insurance score is poor then you are more likely to have claims and therefore you should pay a higher premium.

This is great news for those with good insurance scores but bad news for those with poor scores. So, it is important to stay on top of your financial behaviors, not only so you can get a good credit score and better loan rates but also so that you can have a good insurance score and have better insurance premiums. It is important to make sure you monitor your bill paying, keep outstanding debt to a reasonable level and just have a good overall credit history.

One final thought, Fey Insurance Services is not a big fan of insurance scores but it is something that all insurance companies are using. The main reason we are not a big fan of insurance score is that there is no way to inform a customer exactly why their score is what it is. Your credit score is a big factor in determining the insurance score, and it is private information. We prefer methods all parties totally understand. However, as mentioned previously, all insurance companies are filed with the states to be able to use these scores so it is out of our control. We can simply keep you educated on how it can affect you and make you aware of the factor.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Leaving Your House Vacant? Consult Your Agent!

In today’s real estate market it can be somewhat common to purchase a new home with out having first sold your current home. Prices are low so if you want to upgrade your house, now seems to be the time even if you know you may have to wait a few months until you sell your current home. So many are purchasing a new home, moving into it and then leaving the old home vacant until it sells. This can pose an insurance problem that Fey Insurance feels many don’t realize.

In a typical homeowner policy there is wording that refers to a 60 day period. For sixty days your homeowner policy will have no change in coverage once it becomes vacant. However, and this is important, once the house has been vacant for 60 days some of the coverages are no longer provided. Example, vandalism or malicious mischief claims would no longer be covered. Same with glass breakage claims. The reason for this is that a homeowner policy is priced and designed for buildings that are being lived in and cared for by the owners. Once the owner no longer lives there and it is vacant then the building is more at risk for claims and therefore the insurance companies require it be on a special vacancy policy. What does vacancy mean? Vacancy means the following, “Substantially empty of personal property necessary to sustain normal occupancy.”

So if you are considering purchasing a new home and leaving the current home vacant until it sells, please be sure to call your insurance agent so they can make sure coverages don’t disappear from your policy

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cincinnati to have a Ban on Texting While Driving

On Wednesday Sept 8th Cincinnati’s City Council voted to ban texting (reading or writing) while driving in Cincinnati, OH. This new law carries a $100 fine. The offense is a primary offense meaning you can be pulled over if all you are doing is violating the texting ban. The new law is scheduled to go into effect in the next 30 days.

You can still use your phone to make calls and you can still use portable GPS Navigation Systems. One thing to make note of on the GPS devices is that you are only allowed to input information into the device if the vehicle is not moving and is out of the way of traffic. The extra stipulation on use of GPS Systems leads me to believe you can be pulled over for inputting data into the device while you are still driving.

Our Cincinnati insurance agency office wanted our clients to know this information so that they can be safe and legal when driving around the Cincinnati, OH area.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rental Car Insurance: Buy or Not Buy

During the summer our agency receives a lot of phone calls from clients who are sitting at the airport getting ready to sign up for a rental car. The rental car employee has just asked them if they wish to purchase the “extra” insurance from the rental car company, and they are not certain if their personal auto insurance protects them on rental cars or not. So they pull out the cell phone and call Fey Insurance Services. Our answer is always this, “It is not a black or white answer.

Unfortunately it is a gray answer so we recommend you purchase at least the “Collision Damage Waiver”. Normally the client is somewhat confused on what the “gray” answer is but the beach is calling and they want to get on their way. So, I thought with this blog article I would hit on two reasons why it is a “gray” answer when it comes to purchasing insurance from the rental car company on a rental car.

The first reason is contract language. Two contracts would be involved if you did not purchase rental car insurance from the rental car company. The contracts would be the one between you and the rental car company (the one you sign in order to rent the car) and the contract between you and your personal auto insurance company. Each of these contracts can be different depending on which rental car company you are using, which state you are in and which personal auto insurance company you have. Because of this there are all kinds of possible gaps in insurance coverage. An example gap is “loss of use”. A number of rental car companies will charge you for the loss of use of the car while it is in the repair shop after you caused an accident that damaged the vehicle. This means that if it takes a week for the car to be repaired they will charge you a week of rental. Some insurance companies do pay this extra cost and some don’t. Gaps like this can be avoided by just spending the extra money on “Collision Damage Waiver”.

A second reason we feel it is a gray topic and you should just purchase the extra coverage is that often times you drop off a car after your trip and no one from the rental car company is present to help you check for damages to the car. We have had a couple of cases where our clients received a letter from the rental car company seeking money for a ding or scratch. They swear they never caused any damage to the car. Unfortunately, when they turned the car in there was no one to sign off that the car was returned undamaged. So, when another vacationer in an unfamiliar car at an unfamiliar airport (who is late for their flight) pulls in next to you to drop off their rental car, and they bump into the car you had just dropped off twenty minutes ago, you have no way of proving you where no longer responsible for the vehicle when the damage occurred.

So we recommend you play it safe next time you rent a car and purchase at least the “Collision Damage Waiver”.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Avoiding Insurance Mistakes: Five Tips

Here is a great video from the Insurance Information Institute about five mistakes to avoid with your personal insurance policies. Our Oxford and Cincinnati, OH insurance offices strongly agree with these items.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Insurance and Your College Kids

Out in front of our Oxford, OH insurance office, it is a busy place. Today 16,000+ Miami University students return to begin a new school year. This annual pilgrimage brings up potential insurance issues pertaining to what parent's personal insurance policies cover or don't cover. Three areas that parents should be aware of:

(1) If your son or daughter is going away to school over 100 miles from home without a car, most companies will rate your Personal Auto Policy for them being married which is a nice discount. Let us know if this discount might apply to your family and your Personal Auto Policy.

(2) Most insurance companies will extend personal property (contents) coverage and personal liability for your son or daughter while they are in college and living in a dormitory. Some, but not all, will also extend coverage if they are living in off campus facilities such as an apartment or other student housing. Please check with us to see if your insurance company provides this extended protection. If not, we should be able to write a Tenant/Homeowner for your student to cover both their personal property and personal liability while they are an undergraduate. If they are in graduate school, they should definitely have their own Tenant/Homeowner Policy.

(3) If you or your children are using a rental truck to take their things back to college, U-Haul, Penske, Hertz and other will offer you coverage on the vehicle (collision damage waiver) and extended liability. While these may be covered by your Personal Auto Policy, not all companies extend the protection, so check with us before renting the vehicle. Whether or not they are covered will depend on the length and Gross Vehicle Weight of the vehicle and several other factors. We may be suggesting you buy the extra protection from the rental company before your trip.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vehicle Title Transfer

Several times a month our Oxford and Cincinnati insurance office receive calls from customers telling us to delete a car from their policy because they had just sold the vehicle. We always make sure to ask if this transaction was done between two individuals or if they sold it to a dealership. When we learn that it was sold to another individual we always offer a word of caution about deleting the insurance on the vehicle right away.

A normal vehicle sale transaction consists of the current owner signing over the title to the purchaser of the vehicle. Once the title is signed over to the purchaser the purchaser goes to the Clerk of Courts in that county and has the title officially transferred into their name. As everyone who has had to go to the Clerk of Courts for one reason or another knows, sometime it is difficult to carve out time in your day to make it to the county office and wait in line. This is the type of "To Do" item that many would put off or not have time to do for several days. This putting off going to the Clerk of Courts to transfer a vehicle's title can cause a small problem for the person who had just sold and signed over the title. Technically until the title is officially switched over to the purchaser the liability for the vehicle can still fall back on the seller.

Our Oxford insurance office once had a claim on a vehicle that our client had signed over to another individual two years earlier. However, the purchaser never went and officially switched over the title and our insured was pulled into a claim on the vehicle two years later because his name was technically still on the title.

So next time you have a private sale of a vehicle be sure to follow up with the purchaser and make sure they have switched over the title prior to calling and deleting any insurance coverage on the car.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Social Media Risk Management Tip

My social media risk management tip is simple, think twice before you type a message, post a picture or join a group. Why, you may ask? Think back to the days when kids in grade school would pass notes back and forth during class. Often those notes could have damaging words written on them. They could be words that haunt the person that wrote them, the person who received them or a third party all together. However, the beautiful thing about those written scraps of paper is that they eventually got thrown away and are sitting in a dump far from anyone who could read them. Today those passed notes are now in the form of tweets, texts or Facebook posts. Today, those passed notes could be stored in the Library of Congress. Recently the Library of Congress announced that it would archive all public Twitter posts dating back to 2006.

Yesterday I read a New York Times article titled “The Web Means the End of Forgetting”, written by Jeffrey Rosen. It was a great article and sited a few examples of how those old Facebook or MySpace photo posts or text posts can come back to haunt individuals. The most famous example being Stacy Snyder who lost her teaching job because of a picture she had on MySpace. She even fought the situation in court and after two years of legal battle she lost in a federal district court. Rosen also talks about people who were fired from their jobs because of things they wrote on Twitter. This blog article could go on and on with examples of how things put on social media sites have come back to hurt individuals.

This Oxford and Cincinnati insurance office is not saying never to post on social media or that it is bad. We are just doing our job as risk managers and encouraging you to have fun but to be cautious in what you write or post.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Driving Drowsy

A 2008 study, taken from the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest that some antihistamines may impair driving ability, even more than alcohol. The driver doesn’t even have to feel drowsy.

Forty study participants, when given diphenhydramine and an amount of alcohol to boost their blood alcohol level to .10 (legally impaired in most states), tested worse in a driving simulator when under the influence of antihistamine than under the influence of alcohol. A newer non-sedating antihistamine, Allegra, did not affect driving any more than the placebo given in a blind test screen.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates there are 50 million allergy sufferers in the United States. Allergies account for more than 17 million outpatient physician visits each year. Since the 1940s, antihistamines have been among the most widely prescribed medications. It is estimated that currently there are 30 million patients in the United State taking regular antihistamine medications in this $8 billion drug market.

If you have taken antihistamines, ask your doctor if a non-sedative prescription will work for you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

When on The Go... How Your Homeowner Liability Insurance Follows You

Homeowner liability insurance provides financial protection against legal obligations of the insured arising out of activities and conditions at the premises where the insured maintains a covered residence.

This coverage also extends to a personal activities of the named insured and household members anywhere in the world. You are on vacation in Europe- you’re covered; your child is on a mission trip in Mexico- you’re covered.

The homeowner policy defines an insured location as:

  1. The qualifying residence premises where the named insured resides and which is shown as the residence premises described in the declarations.

  2. The part of the premises used by the named insured as a residence and shown in the declaration, such as a seasonal residence.

  3. Any premises used in connection with a residence as defined by one and two above.

  4. The part of any premises not owned by an insured where the insured is temporarily residing. Examples would include a hotel room or vacation condo.

  5. Vacant land, other than farmland, owned by or rented to an insured. Vacant land is generally defined as land upon which no man-made structures exist. An exception to this is land owned or rented to an insured on which a one to four family dwelling is being built as a residence for the insured.

  6. Burial plots or vaults of an insured.

  7. The part of premise occasionally rented to an insured for other than business use. An example would be a rented hall for a wedding reception.

An insured is defined as the person named in the declarations; that person’s spouse, as long as a resident of the household; relatives residing with the insured at the residence; and persons under the age of 21 and in care of the named insured, spouse or resident relative. This would include foster children or children for which the insured has guardianship.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Earthquake Insurance In Ohio?!

The big question going around on June 23rd was, “Did you feel the earthquake”. Many thought people were joking, but when they checked their Facebook page and saw that many of their friends in the Ohio area had felt the earth move, they knew the question was legit. The reason Ohioans felt the earth move was just north of us, Canada had a 5.0 magnitude earthquake.

Though we are not California or anywhere near California, Ohio still has their fair share of earthquakes. On average Ohio has 5 to 6 earthquakes a year. Year to date in 2010 we have already had 6, so the question that has to be asked of this insurance blog is should people in Ohio carry earthquake insurance? We at Fey Insurance Services feel that it is a good idea to have this coverage. It is something we always quote to our customers. For an average valued house the premium can range from $50 to $80 a year. Though we only have little earthquakes the potential for a large scale quake is there and if that happened the affects would be devastating to a home.

Feel free to get in touch with us to inquire about earthquake insurance.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Travelers Insurance Commercial

Travelers always comes out with funny, clean commericals. This is a great example of one. Great little tune as well.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ohio Booster Seat Law

Back in October the Ohio lawmakers put into law a requirement for children to be in vehicle booster seats until a child is 8 years old or 4 feet, 9 inches tall. The prior law was if a child was 4 or under and weighted less than 40 lbs they had to be in a federal approved car seat. After that, they were free to sit in a car with out any aid.

This new law that was past also had a grace period that lasted until this past April but now that the grace period is over tickets are starting to be handed out along with a fine. Fines can range from $25 to $75 per incident. One thing to note, this citation is a secondary offense which means you can’t be pulled over just for violating the booster seat law. You would first have to be pulled over for some other violation.

The reason for this change is that seatbelts, if a child is not in a booster seat, can cause serous injury to children less than 8 years old or smaller than 4 feet, 9 inches. The booster seat helps to place the seatbelt in a safer position on the child.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

National Flood Program Expired... Again

On May 31st Congress allowed the national flood program to expire once again. As of today, June 10, 2010, there has been no renewal of the flood insurance program. This is a key issue especially since a number of areas in Ohio are being resurveyed and rezoned on the national flood insurance map. Homes that were once in Zone C or X which mean they are not in a 100 year flood zone are now being classified as a Zone A or other Zone which puts them in a 100 year flood zone.

What is the significant of this? Well, if you own a home in the rezoned area that is now in a 100 year flood zone and your home has a mortgage on it, you will be required by the bank or other lending institution to purchase flood insurance. A lot of times this can be a costly policy.

What happens if you don’t buy a flood policy? The mortgage company will purchase it for you and then bill you. Unfortunately there is no way around it as long as you have a mortgage on the property.

The ironic thing about this whole situation is that right now, as of the day this blog entry was written, you can not purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is purchased through the national flood program (FEMA) and as mentioned above the program is temporarily expired. We will be sure to keep you posted on our blog as to when the program might be back up and running. In the mean time if you have received notice from your bank that you are now in a flood zone and must purchase flood insurance feel free to get in touch with your friendly Fey Insurance Representative.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Police Officer's Visual Estimate of Speeding

Ohio Supreme Court passed a new ruling 5-1 saying that a police officer’s “unaided visual estimation of a vehicle’s speeding” is strong enough to support giving out a speeding ticket to drivers. No long do they have to actually have a speed detector prove that you were speeding. The only criteria that has to be met for officers to be able to estimate that a person was speeding is that they have to be trained and certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy or a similar organization.

We mention this in our blog post today because speeding tickets can often have an adverse affect on your auto insurance premium. Companies can charge surcharges for speeding violations. Some companies can even cancel your insurance if you have too many speeding violations.

So, now more than ever it is important to be mindful of your speed as you drive. All a police officer has to do is feel that you are speeding and you can be pulled over and handed a ticket and fine.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Building Ordinance Coverage

This endorsement provides coverage if the enforcement of any building, zoning or land use law results in added cost that are not covered as a direct loss.

The endorsement is separated into three distinct parts: section A, B and C, which typically allows the policyholder to purchase one or all of these valuable coverages.

SECTION A applies to loss to the undamaged portion of the building. This endorsement covers the loss of value of the undamaged portion of a building caused by enforcement of ordinance or laws.

If a government agency requires the demolition of your entire building because the damage exceeds a certain percentage as detailed in their ordinances, this coverage would apply.

Without this endorsement, you would have no coverage for the part of the building that was not damaged because that part of the building had not suffered “direct damage.”

SECTION B of this endorsement covers the cost of demolition of the undamaged portion of the building. Without this coverage, you could be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in demolition and disposal costs.

SECTION C provides payment for the increased cost of construction if the code enforcement requires improvements to construction that were not in the original building. This coverage will pay these increased costs whether constructions is at the same location or another location, with some restrictions.

The building ordinance endorsement requires that you purchase coverage equal to 80 percent of the property’s replacement cost value. This is an optional coverage. For more detail please call your friendly Fey Insurance Services representative.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Safeguard Your Home from Burglary

In 2007, the last year with full statistics, there were an estimated 2.2 million burglaries, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Burglaries represent more than 22 percent of property crimes committed in 2007, and of these burglaries, 61 percent involved forcible entry. Burglary offenses represented $4.3 billion in losses, an average of nearly $2,000 per burglary, and nearly 68 percent of burglaries were residential.

Surprising to many is that nearly 64 percent of burglaries occurred during the daytime. Below are some suggestions that should help you from becoming a statistic:

- Keep exterior views of your home unobstructed and trim landscaping back to expose windows and doors. This requires a burglar to work in full view and poses a serious risk of detection.

-Maintain adequate exterior lighting at access points to your home.

-Put your ladder away. Do not provide easy access for the burglar to gain entrance.

-Do not keep valuables, such as bicycles and tools, in the open.

-Keep your garage door closed and locked. An open garage door allows a crook to see valuables stored in your garage.

-Make sure your house number is prominently displayed and illuminated to help emergency responders find your home quickly.

-Do not leave notes on your door that might indicate your home is unoccupied.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Redefining Tornado Alleys

This was recently published on Discovery News.

By John D. Cox Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:11 AM ET
It may come as little surprise and no comfort to survivors of the weekend tragedy in Mississippi, but recent research confirms that they are living in the most dangerous region in the most dangerous tornado country in the world."Tornado Alley" is an unofficial term traditionally used to describe a vaguely outlined swath of countryside from the deep south, through the southern plains and into the upper Midwest, but the label really doesn't tell you very much. New research on display recently at the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Washington, DC adds new levels of detail and potential usefulness to the term. The analysis identifies four distinct regions in the eastern half of the US as worthy of the tornado alley label.Michael Frates, a graduate assistant at the University of Akron in Ohio, devised the new boundaries and a more nuanced set of "Tornado Alleys" by analyzing the spatial distribution of F3 to F5 tornadoes with tracks greater than 20 miles in the Central and Eastern US from 1950 to 2006. The output of that work is spread across grid of more than 3,000 cells across the region.Each cell was then given a different "frequency value" depending on the frequency of tornadoes with intersected the unit, and out of this process came "major spatial patterns, which served as the basis for delineating new tornado alleys," as shown on his map.

"Results from this analysis indicate that Dixie Alley has the highest frequency of long-track F3 to F5 tornadoes, making it the most active region in the United States," Frates concluded. Dixie Alley had a frequency value of 2.92, followed by Tornado Alley (2.59), Hoosier Alley (2.37) and Carolina Alley (2.00)."Based on this analysis," wrote Frates, "colloquial tornado alley fails to represent the areas of highest activity in the United States," a subject he suggested the National Weather Service might want to take up.For what it is worth, computer models saw the potential for tornadoes and other severe weather across a large region several days in advance as a cold storm system rolled in from the West toward the warm moisture of the Gulf. The first major outbreak of tornadoes arrived unusually late this spring, probably because El Nino conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean have held the subtropical jet stream at a more southerly latitude than normal for this time of year.
IMAGE: Courtesy of Michael Frates, University of Akron.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Your Duties in the Event of a Loss

As a condition of coverage, your property policy requires certain things of you in the event you have a loss. These are conditions that must be met by the policyholder in order for the insurance company to pay for the loss.

· Prompt notice of loss must be given to the company or their agent.
· In the event of a loss by theft, the policy must be notified.
· If the loss falls under the additional coverages section for the credit card or fund transfer card, the appropriate bank or credit card company must be notified.
· The property must be protected from further damage. If this requires the insured to make reasonable and temporary repairs to protect the property, accurate records must be kept of the repair expenses.
· The policyholder has a duty to cooperate with the insurer in the claim investigation.
· The policyholder must prepare an inventory of the damaged or lost personal property. The description, quantity and value must be listed in the inventory, and documentation such as receipts, bills or related documents should be included if available.
· The policyholder must make the damaged property available for inspection by the insurance company, provide the requested records and documents and permit the insurer to make copies.
· Following a loss, a policyholder must complete the Proof of Loss form. This proof of loss statement must be signed and sworn.

Of course, you are not left to your own devices to complete these duties. There will be help and guidance from the adjuster, and we are always available to help you with your claim.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Examination of Commercial Books and Records

In your commercial property policy you will find a section titled "Policy Conditions." This section of the policy spells out requirements of the policyholder and the insurance company. It covers information about each party's right to cancel the policy, the insurer's right to inspect the property and conditions about abandonment of the property. There are many more conditions though, and it is good idea that you make yourself aware of these provisions.

One of the conditions is the insurance company's right to audit your books and records as they relate to your policy. Depending on your type of operation, you may already be experienced with the audit process. It is mostly painless and the information can usually be found in your accounting and employment records. The examination may take place during the policy period or any time within three years after the policy periods end, however, an audit usually takes place within a few months of your policy renewal.

The insurer will not just randomly go through your records. You will be given a list of requested information to facilitate the process. This process is usually pretty painless as long as you have current and accurate records.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Password Protection

Internet security firm Imperva of Redwood Shores, Calif., recently analyzed 32 million passwords that were exposed in a security breach for an online company in Dec 2009. They not only identified the most common passwords, but also suggested effective methods for creating secure ones.

The hacker in this 2009 breach only posted the member's passwords to the Internet, and was more interested in exposing the company's lax security. If complete usernames, email addresses and passwords were revealed, the ultimate damage could have been devastating. The reason: many people use the same username and password for all online dealings, including banking. Imperva reported the five most common passwords were: 1234, 12345, 123456789, password and iloveyou.

It seems that little has changed over the last 20 years. A review of the 1990 study of Unix password selections found remarkable similarities to the passwords revealed by this recent security breach. The study revealed about 50 percent of the users had the same username and passwords for access to multiple Web sites. Just 10 years ago, hacked Hotmail passwords showed the same passwords selection tendencies in their users.

The short, simple passwords make users susceptible to very basic password attacks. As hackers continue to rapidly adopt smarter password cracking software, consumers and companies will be at greater risk.

Imperva recommends passwords contain at least eight characters and a mix of four different types of characters (upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols). It should not be a name, word or contain any part of an email address.

If you have any questions about including identity theft protection in your insurance policy, feel free to get in touch with us.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Recently this article was posted as an editorial in the April 5th, 2010 Toledo Blade. We here at Fey Insurance Services thought it might be of interest as it could be something that affects all of us on the road.

Article published April 05, 2010Time to ban texting
The Michigan Senate took a fairly dramatic step a few days ago. Lawmakers had earlier voted to make the highly dangerous practice of text messaging while driving illegal - but only as a secondary offense, meaning police could only cite you for it if they first pulled you over for something else.

Since anybody who sees flashing red lights is apt to stop texting immediately, this meant the law would be little more than eyewash. But the GOP-controlled Senate reversed itself, voted to make texting a primary offense carrying an immediate fine, and sent the bill back to the House.

Why the change of heart? Senators were shaken by a teenager in Ottawa County who was killed when he took his eyes off the road to text-message his girlfriend. The boy was far from the first victim; three years ago, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was sending a text message when he crashed into a flatbed truck and was instantly killed.

The danger of this phenomenon may not be sufficiently understood by lawmakers in their 40s and 50s, who usually aren't part of the text-message generation. But it is increasingly how young people communicate, and being on the road with drivers looking down to punch a tiny keyboard on their cell phones ought to scare anyone who isn't in a Sherman tank.

The text-messaging bill's main sponsor, state Rep. Lee Gonzales (D., Flint), knows what that means. He introduced the legislation after his pregnant daughter-in-law was rear-ended by a woman punching away on her cell phone. Fortunately, she and the baby both survived.

The day before the Michigan vote, the Ohio House passed a similar bill that would make texting a primary offense, though it would not allow police to issue fines for six months. The Ohio Senate and the Michigan House should speedily ratify the work of their respective other chambers, and join 20 other states that have banned the practice.

Thanks to seat belts and safer cars, highway deaths in the nation last year were lower than in any year since 1954. It would be tragic if we allowed modern communications technology to send the death toll spiraling skyward once again.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Federal Flood Program Expires

On March 26th the Senate closed for a two week recess with out approving an extension for the Federal Flood insurance program that would have carried the program through until April 30th. Because the extension was not put through the current program has expired. Any flood insurance customers that are either renewing their policy between now and April 12 (when the Senate meets again) or that need to purchase flood coverage to close on a house will not be able to. This will cause a few home closings to be pushed back until the situation is resolved.

For those that already have flood insurance in place and are not renewing anytime soon the program will still function as normal if claims arise. There are currently 5.6 million policies in force with this program.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

General Liability vs Errors and Omissions

General Liability
What it protects against: Accident and injuries that occur on company property or the property of a customer. It also protects against product liabilities.

How it works: Commercial General Liability (CGL) includes payments to an injured person or to an owner of property that is damaged. These can cover medical expenses and the cost of defending lawsuits, including legal settlements or investigations. Insurance may also provide the means to post bonds during a legal proceeding, or pay judgments. A CGL policy also covers libel, slander, copyright infringement and other personal and advertising injuries.

Who needs it: Most, if not all, companies

Errors & Omissions
What it protects against: Claims by customers that a company made mistakes or failed to perform contractual work. It should include coverage of the cost of legal defense. It is also know as professional liability insurance.

How it works: It insures mistakes made by a company’s owners, employees and contractors. It is similar to a doctor’s medical malpractice insurance.

Who needs it: Anyone who advises, recommends, consults or designs solutions should consider this coverage.

Information provided by: Bests Review The Guide to Understanding Business Insurance Products (2007-2008)

So What is the Difference?:
The key difference between the above two mentioned business insurance coverages is that General Liability only pays claims that have resulted in bodily injury or property damage (meaning damage to property not owned or leased by the business). It will not cover a financial loss that is a result of errors or alleged errors done by the business or the omission of work that the business was contractual obligated to do. That is where Errors & Omissions Insurance steps in and pays for the cost to defend the business as well as any settlements that a court requires them to pay for their error or omission of work.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Travelers Launches Mobile Applications

On March 8th Travelers annouced that they have a new application for smart phones.

The new mobile tools provide auto accident assistance for iPhone and
BlackBerry1 smartphone users. Additionally, Travelers’ customers will have the added advantage of starting the auto claim process directly through the iPhone application and the mobile Web site.

Integrating Travelers’ online claim reporting into the new mobile applications is part of the company’s ongoing mobile strategy that first began with the launch of the mobile Web site in late November 2009. The number of people accessing news and information daily on the mobile Web more than doubled in 2009 when compared to 2008, according to comScore2.

See full article at:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Here is a vidoe about the importance of taking care of small windshield cracks early.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Finished Basement? We should talk!

An unfortunate homeowner incident that has been occurring a lot over the past few years is water damage caused by either a sump pump failure or water backing up a basement drain. These claims can leave finished basements with damaged carpet and drywall as well as damaging the basement contents, not to mention clean up expenses for these situations which can cost hundreds or even several thousands of dollars.
A majority of homeowners’ insurance policies will include up to $5,000 for claims that fall into this category. However, if someone had a finished basement, this amount might not be sufficient. Insurance companies have options for higher limits ranging from $10,000 all the way up to $100,000. If you have a finished basement, this is a coverage that you and your Fey Insurance Services representative should discuss.
One thing to note, this coverage does not cover flood insurance (meaning surface water from outside the house that has come into your home). Floods are not covered by homeowners’ insurance policies. If you have a concern about this type of exposure to loss, please contact us and we can provide you with a Flood Insurance Quote.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New ATV Registration Law in Ohio

Golf cart, ATV, and off-road vehicles are now subject to Ohio’s new mandatory registration which became effective 7/1/2009.

Please be aware of the new law and the need to have proof of registration with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) for your recreational vehicle(s) before operating them on an Ohio roadway and now, thanks to the new law, Off-Road on Public and Private lands. (Note: Certain exemptions are still in place for usage on your own property or operations relating to agricultural use.) This new law and proof of registration will probably now also impact on how these vehicles are covered under standard ISO Homeowner insurance policies.

Most Homeowner policies do not cover usage on the roadways for these types of vehicles and this new law will probably change the way limited coverage has been offered off-road for these previously classified “unregistered” vehicles.

If you own an ATV, Golf Cart or Off-Road Motorcycle, please contact us to review the benefits of specialized Motorcycle and Off-Road Vehicle coverage.

Link to LAWriter Ohio Laws and Rules for new law 4519.02 Registration required - exceptions wording @

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


This is an article I found from the Ohio Insurance Institute dated 2/10/10
Written By:Mary Bonelli/Mitch Wilson

As far as Ohio law goes, it’s long been established that homeowners do not have a legal obligation to shovel when there is a natural accumulation of snow and ice. In December 1993 the Ohio Supreme Court upheld this concept when a guest attempted to sue a homeowner in Franklin County for a slip and fall outside of the homeowner's house. (See Brinkman v. Ross).Some states have laws in place requiring snow and ice removal; Ohio does not. However, a homeowner would be liable if someone decides to sue as a result of tripping over a crack or other irregularity on your walkway. Also, if someone slips on ice that was formed because of a poorly positioned down spout, you could be held liable.
1. Did this court decision affect the cost of homeowners insurance?It did not affect the cost of insurance since the court decision didn’t overturn the standard practice claims of most property/casualty insurers. This decision did not change existing Ohio law. It basically reinforced the claims practices of most Ohio insurers. In surveying some of Ohio’s insurance companies, OII found that these types of claims are rather infrequent. In the past, companies usually reviewed them on a case-by-case basis, and in some situations felt obliged to pay for such claims. The Supreme Court decision clarified by its ruling that homeowners cannot not be liable in situations where the injury was solely caused by natural accumulations of ice and snow. Because of the nature of Ohio winters, you’ll likely be subject to icy and snowy weather conditions causing sidewalks and roadways to become slick. Basically, you are walking at your own risk. Otherwise a homeowner would perpetually suffer the threat of lawsuits every time Mother Nature comes calling. 2. Should homeowners stop shoveling or clearing sidewalks? This is more of a personal decision than one that can be mandated by any industry. As a homeowner or business owner you may feel you have a moral obligation to keep walkways as clear as possible. By making the decision to not clear sidewalks and steps, not only do you jeopardize the safety of your visitors and guests, but also yourself and your family. 3. Can my local city or municipality invoke snow removal ordinances?Although you may not be held liable for injuries of others caused solely by slipping on ice or snow, some cities and villages have ordinances in place that require residents to make every attempt to keep sidewalks clear and impose subsequent fines on those who disregard warnings to that effect. Such an ordinance cannot invoke a homeowner’s liability for accidental slips and falls as part of its snow removal ordinance requirements. View the Bexley OH ordinance as an example.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Employment Practices Liability

A poor economy not only hits business owners in the profit/loss area but it also creates added liability exposures. During a down turn in the economy, many employers have to downsize their number of employees. This opens the door for employment practice type liability claims. Wrongful termination claims for things such as age, race and sex discrimination are on the rise. Sadly, a number of these claims are false claims and cost employers thousand to defend themselves. However, with an insurance coverage called Employment Practices Liability (EPLI) you can protect your business from such incidents.

EPLI products will help defend you during these claims and pay for the expenses that result from them. A number of products even provide a hotline for employers to call and get advice on how best to handle a layoff or termination. They will even give you ideas on how to create an employee handbook and other employment related forms such as job applications and termination forms.

Hopefully the economy will rebound soon and as a result employers will start to hire again. Even though this would be a positive thing, there is still a liability exposure during this time of growth. Discrimination claims can still arise during the hiring process. EPLI will also protect employers from discrimination claims by individuals that were not hired, but claim discrimination during the interview process.

Whether it is a downturn or upturn in the economy, employment related claims can happen. Feel free to get in touch with a Fey Insurance Services representative to learn more about how to protect your business.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability

Even if your business doesn’t have any vehicles titled in the business name, there is still an auto coverage that you should always have. That coverage is called Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability. To help best explain this coverage here is an example claim. Say that you had an employee who during the lunch hour ran the daily deposit to the bank. They used their own vehicle for this errand. Let’s say that unfortunately during her trip to the bank she caused an auto accident. Now, the first auto insurance policy that would react to this claim is going to be your employee’s personal auto policy, however, if they don’t have any insurance or if their insurance is not enough to take care of the damages, there is a good chance that your business could be drug into a law suit. That is where Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability steps in and helps protect your business.

Hired & Non-Owned Auto Liability can be written to provide protection for your business when you either hire or rent vehicles for business use and/or your employees use their vehicles on business for you. The premium for Hired Auto Liability protection is based on rental costs. You can also add protection for physical damage to the rented vehicle as an alternative to buying Collision Damage Waiver from the rental car company. The premium for Non-owned Auto Liability is based on the number of employees you have.

So even if your business doesn’t own any vehicles that does not mean that you don’t have an auto liability risk.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Inventory Your Contents with Evernote

One of the most difficult claims to suffer from a property stand point (meaning building and/or contents) is a total loss on a home or business. By total loss I mean that either a fire or tornado has leveled your home or business and there is nothing left but debris. One of the reasons this can be so difficult is that it is very daunting to try and remember all that was in your home or business as well as document all that was inside the building prior to the insurance loss.

There are a number of specialty software’s out there that help individuals and business inventory their belongings, and we recommend any that you find useful and user friendly. However, there is another way to help you document your personal and business belongings. I have found a very useful website called Evernote ( I use it as my cyber file cabinet. The system allows you to upload documents (i.e., PDFs, Word Documents, etc), pictures, voice memos, emails and any notes you wish to directly type into their system. All of this is then securely stored over the web and can be accessed from anywhere. Where I find this website useful, when it comes to creating an inventory, is that I can take a picture of every room in my home or office and store it in a location that I can always get access to it. Prior to Evernote, we used to encourage clients to take pictures and store them at a secondary location but this way everything is digital and accessible from anywhere. So if you had a claim at your location, all you would have to do is log into Evernote from a computer and email all your pictures to the insurance adjustor. That way they will see all that they need to help replace in your home.

My advice on what to take pictures of is as follows: All rooms in the house (including basement, attic and garage), all closets and all cabinets. One thing to note, some items such as Jewelry, Guns, Furs, Stamp Collections, Coins, Money, Silverware and Baseball Cards have limitations in the policy. Be sure to schedule those items on a special insurance rider policy. By the way, any appraisals for jewelry, fine arts, etc. can also be stored on Evernote so you don’t have to worry about them being lost or destroyed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

BMV Starts to Charge Late Fees

The Ohio Insurance Institute reminded Ohio motorists that new late fees are in place for driver’s license and vehicle plate renewals.
New Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) requirements call for transactions to be completed within seven days of the expiration date or be assessed $20 per transaction.
“This means that if you have two cars that require plate renewals and a driver’s license that also needs renewed, you’ll be charged an additional $60 if your plates and license aren’t renewed within seven days following your birthday, “said OII President Daniel J. Keiso.
To avoid late charges, Ohio motorists should renew plates and their driver’s licenses on or before their birthdays.
Prior law gave Ohio motorists their entire birth-date month to renew plates and licenses.
The new BMV regulation only provides a seven-day window before assessing a late charge.