Friday, December 21, 2012

Waiver of Subrogation, What is it?

If after an insurance claim is paid out by your insurance company, it is deemed that another party was actually the negligent one, then your insurance company (via the insurance policy contract) has the right to go after the negligent party. This right is usually found in the "Conditions" section of your insurance policy. This conditional right can, however, be waived. This means that your insurance company would then not be allowed to go after the negligent party. The term for this waiving of rights is called Wavier of Subrogation.

Often you will see the Waiver of Subrogation in commercial leases. Landlords will require that tenants have this verbiage in their insurance policy so that if a claim occurs at the leased location that the tenant's insurance company cannot come back after them for damages. The landlord, however, would be less inclined to have this wording on their policy since it would mean they and their insurance company would not be allowed to go after their tenant after a claim. A building owner and their insurance company usually have more to lose (the building and its rental income) than the tenant does so they would be very interested in being able to go back after a negligent party.

There are two example of where a landlord may want the Waiver of Subrogation wording on their own insurance policy. The first is if they are renting to a family member or friend who they know doesn't either have enough assets or money to be able to cover them in case of a claim, they may not want their insurance company to be able to go after them to collect for damages. The second is if the landlord and tenant are owned by the same person or organization. In some cases, usually for legal or tax reasons, a person may have one company that owns the building and another company that owns the business that is the tenant. In those cases you would probably want both the landlord and tenant policy to have a Waiver of Subrogation clause in their policies so that you don't have your two insurance companies fighting over payout.

Another place where you will see Wavier of Subrogation is in situations where companies or organizations will subcontract work to other companies or organizations. Often, if a business is going to hire another business to do work on their behalf they will request that the subcontractor have Wavier of Subrogation on their policy. Similar to the Landlord/Tenant relationship, if the contractor requires the subcontractor to have Waiver of Subrogation on their policy it means the subcontractor, if a claim arises, is not able to go back after the contractor for money.

When entering into a lease or a business contract it is important to know if you are going to be required to have Waiver of Subrogation and if you have it or not in your insurance policy. It is best to have both your legal team and your insurance professionals review contracts to make sure you are adequately protected.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Safety Tips from NFPA

Here is an article from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on Thanksgiving Safety Tips.  From our family here at Fey Insurance Services to yours, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving! 

The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

Safety tips:

•Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.

•Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

•Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.

•Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.

•Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.

•Keep knives out of the reach of children.

•Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

•Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.

•Never leave children alone in room with a lit a candle.

•Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button

Friday, November 9, 2012

Flood Insurance Facts (Re post from 11/23/09)

With all the flooding that has occurred as a result of Sandy we thought this might be a good time to re post an old flood insurance blog article that gives a few facts about flood insurance.

Posted November 23, 2009 on

Flood insurance had its fifteen minutes of fame after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005. During this time period the media was making everyone well aware that flood insurance is not part of your typical homeowner policy. Today that is still the case and with this post I would like to point out a few more facts about flood insurance.

Flood insurance is run through a government program called FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). You can purchase it through insurance agency such as Fey Insurance Services but the backing is from FEMA. Typically it takes 30 days for a new flood insurance policy to go into effect. The one exception would be for a mortgage closing where flood insurance is required. So you need to plan ahead. Hearing about a big rain on the nightly news and calling your agent the next day will not work. Many people think of flood insurance when they think about what is stored in their basement. Flood insurance will only cover things such as furnaces, water heaters, washers, dryers, air conditioners, freezers, pumps and utility connections. Everything else you store down there (old cloths, furniture, carpet, TV, etc) is not covered unless those items are on the first floor of your house and the flood reaches that level.

In some cases flood insurance is required in order to get a loan. If your home or a home you are about to purchase is in a 100 year flood plain (meaning at least once every 100 years your location is under several feet of water) you will be required to purchase a flood insurance policy to close on your loan.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Deductible Basics

When a covered insurance claim happens the insured, in many cases, will be responsible for the first few dollars of most losses. The amount they are responsible for is called the deductible. More often than not, deductibles are only associated with property damage of the insured’s own possessions whether that is a vehicle that was damaged or damage to their contents, their buildings or even their loss of income. On some occasions you may see deductibles on liability claims but not in many.

Deductibles can come in many different forms on insurance policies. You can have a given dollar amount, say $500. Often times you see this type of deductible on home insurance or business property insurance. Some deductibles might be a percent of the loss like 1% or 10%. Sometimes you will see this type of deductible on a home or business but many times it will be associated specifically with earthquake coverage. Deductibles can be vanishing deductibles. As the insured racks up years of no losses, their deductible gradually drops each year until eventual it is $0.

In most cases the deductible is per claim. This means that each time you have a claim you pay a deductible. It isn’t like your typical health insurance policy where you have an out of pocket deductible for the year and once you meet that limit you are done with the deductible. In property and casualty, if you have a $500 flat per claim deductible you will pay $500 each time you have a claim no matter how many you have in a given year.

Deductibles can be a helpful cost savings tool. They can be raised to help drop premiums but the insured needs to understand that by raising deductibles they have taken on a bit more of the burden of possible claims.

It is important for insureds to understand what their deductible is so that they can be prepared to financially meet its requirement if a claim were to happen. I mention this more in connection with a percentage deductible. The insured should know if the percent is on the cost of the claim or on the coverage limit. For example, if a person had a $200,000 house and an insurance policy with a 5% deductible (on the coverage limit) it would be best to know that you have a $10,000 deductible before you have a claim. Someone that doesn’t know their policy might think that it is 5% per the cost of the claim.

Deductibles are just one of many facets to an insurance policy. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your policy and policy coverages and consult your independent insurance when ever you have any questions.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mobile Phone Rule Changes: How CMV Drivers Communicate on the Road

Here is recent information about cell phone use in CMV published by RiskControl360:

All drivers of Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) should know by now about the new rule restricting their use of hand-held mobile telephones and devices. This rule was adopted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and went into effect on January 3, 2012.

The purpose of the rule is to help reduce distracted driving and prevent roadway accidents, injuries and fatalities. According to the FMCSA, the odds of a driver being involved in a safety-critical event, such as an unintentional lane deviation, crash or near-crash, are 6 times greater when dialing a mobile phone while driving than when not doing so. Similarly, CMV drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a safety-critical event while texting and driving versus when not texting and driving.

Therefore, the rule restricts CMV drivers from reaching for or holding a mobile telephone while operating their vehicle, or pushing more than one button to operate the device. What this means is that the device must either be mounted or otherwise securely within reach at the control panel. In short, CMV drivers who use a mobile phone while driving can only operate a hands-free phone located in close proximity and cannot unsafely reach for a device, hold a mobile phone, or press multiple buttons.

So what are drivers still permitted to do?

-Locate the mobile phone so it is operable by the driver while restrained by properly adjusted safety belts.

-Utilize an earpiece or the speaker phone function.

-Use voice-activated or one-button touch features to initiate, answer, or terminate a call.

Drivers found not in compliance with these rules can face civil penalties of $2,750 and disqualification for multiple offenses. In addition, employers are prohibited from requiring or allowing their drivers to text or use a hand-held mobile phone while driving and may be subject to civil penalties up to $11,000.

CMV drivers wishing to comply with the new rules and improve roadway safety can follow FMCSA’s simple slogan: No Call, No Text, No Ticket!

For more information, please contact RiskControl360’s Group Safety Coordinator, Lisa Shaver at (877) 360-3608 ext. 2367.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mind the GAP

Every time you step off the Tube in London's Underground you hear a women's voice in her perfect British accent reminding you to "Mind the gap". It is a good thing too. At some stops on the Underground there is a pretty big gap waiting for you as you exit and if you got caught in one of those monsters you could be in some trouble. The same is true for the gap that occurs in leases and loans on cars. Normally over time a vehicle's value depreciates faster than the loan or lease can be paid off. This is commonly referred to as being "upside down" on your loan or lease. If during this "upside down" period you total a vehicle in an accident there is going to be a gap between what the insurance company will pay you (actual cash value of the car) and what you still owe on your loan or lease. The good news though is there is insurance that covers this gap and it is appropriately named GAP insurance.

GAP insurance coverage helps pay for the difference between actual cash value of the car and what is owed on the loan or lease. One thing to keep in mind though, GAP insurance from personal auto insurance companies does not cover the cost of warranties or other add on charges that might have been included in the loan or lease.

So for an example, you totaled your vehicle and the insurance company is going to value your car at $5000 but your loan was still $7000. Let’s also say that of the $7000, $500 of it is because of the warranty that you had purchased. Therefore, the insurance company (if GAP insurance was on your policy) would give you $6500 ($7000 due on the loan minus the $500 warranty cost) instead of $5000.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cost Savings Ideas

There is constant talk today about cutting costs. Here are two options that might help you save a few dollars on your insurance in this rough economy.

1)Raise your deductibles:
A typical homeowner policy has a deductible of $500 and a typical auto insurance policy has $100 for comprehensive and $250 for collision deductibles. One way to help save a few dollars on your annual insurance bill is to increase your homeowner deductible to $1000 and your comprehensive and collision deductibles on your auto to $500 each. Note that when you do this you bring a little bit of the financial risk back on yourself. A good rule of thumb to help figure out if the deductible change is worth the risk is to take the savings you will get for increasing your deductible and multiply it by three. If that number is larger than the difference between your old deductible and your new deductible in my opinion you are taking on an appropriate amount of risk for the savings.

2) Drop physical damage on your old vehicles.
If a car is 10 years or older it is probably worth researching whether you should have comprehensive and collision coverage on your car (many people know this as "full coverage"). Two ways to help you decide if dropping comprehensive and or collision from your car is worth it are:

1. The Insurance Information Institute says that if your car is worth less than 10 times the amount you pay annually for comprehensive and collision coverage it isn't worth keeping the coverage.

2. Another way to analyze if it is worth keeping the coverage is to take the premium you pay for collision and add it to your deductible amount. That is the total amount that it costs you to insure your car. (i.e. Your annual collision premium is $250 and your collision deductible is $500. If you total your car you will have paid $750 ($250 in premium and $500 in deductible) before you received any money from your insurance company) If in your mind it isn't worth spending that kind of money to save your vehicle if it was totaled than you might want to consider dropping that coverage.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

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.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Cyber Liability Insurance

As absolute dependence on computers and computer stored information grows there are new ways companies can be sued by third parties for damages.  When private information such as dates of birth, social security numbers, credit card numbers, etc are stolen off of your business' computer systems, it is called a data breach, and they are very costly to manage.  The insurance industry has calculated this cost to be about $200 per individual whose information was taken.  Also, if a malicious virus is distributed from your computer to a customer’s computer system and causes damage, you could be held responsible for cost to repair their system.  Your basic general liability policies are not designed to pay for such claims so many times when businesses look to their business policies the coverage is not there to help with these expenses.  Because of that, insurance companies have developed a new product called cyber liability.  It is designed to step up and pay for the third party damages caused by your data breaches and damage by viruses to other’s computer system.

So what kinds of business should be looking into this new cyber liability products?  Any business with a computer, especially one that stores or interacts with any private information or distribute emails to others should look into this product.  Restaurants and retail stores that take credit cards, professional business that store dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and social security numbers, even doctors’ offices are at risk for the types of claims mentioned above.  Unfortunately, even if a business has the best firewalls and antivirus software, they still are at risk of data breaches and malicious viruses.  Cyber liability is something designed to help protect your business assets if an unpreventable claim strikes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

MSN Health recently published on their website a great article about firework safety.  We wanted to post this article as both a way to wish you a Happy Fourth of July and to make sure you keep it a safe Fourth of July.  Here is the article.  To go directly to their site click here or read below:

Fourth of July Safety Tips

By Hank Bernstein, D.O., Harvard Health Publications

Each year, especially during the early summer weeks around the Fourth of July, thousands of people are treated in emergency departments for fireworks-related injuries. While some are minor, many of these injuries are serious, for example, resulting in burns or blindness. In 2008, seven deaths from fireworks-related injuries were reported; perhaps these could have been prevented.

Children should never be allowed to use fireworks! Of the 9,800 fireworks-related injuries reported to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2007, almost half occurred in children under the age of 15.

All fireworks are dangerous—even sparklers—which cause the majority of fireworks-related injuries to children under the age of 5. Sparklers burn at very high temperatures (up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit), sending out sparks that can easily set clothes on fire and cause permanent eye damage.

Because the risk of injuries when using fireworks is so high, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports a nationwide ban on the private use of any and all fireworks. Instead, families should attend public fireworks displays, which are much less dangerous.
While a few states have banned all consumer fireworks, most have not. Until every state bans fireworks, the CPSC and the National Council on Fireworks Safety recommend taking the following safety precautions to make it less likely that someone will be injured by these potentially dangerous devices:

  • Never allow children to touch fireworks of any kind, including sparklers even after they have "gone off". It can be hot, or even explosive and debris from fireworks can be extremely dangerous.
  • Older teens should only be allowed to use fireworks under close adult supervision.
  • Fireworks must never be used while drinking alcohol or using other drugs.
  • Obey all local laws.
  • If allowed in your area and you choose to do so, buy fireworks only from reliable sellers.
  • Store fireworks in a dry, cool place.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors and always have a good amount of water close by (a garden hose and a bucket), in case of emergency.
  • Read and follow label directions.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Never hold any part of your body directly over the firework while lighting it.
  • Be sure all other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Never throw or point fireworks at anyone.
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially a metal or glass container.
  • Never light fireworks near a house or building, dry leaves or grass, or any other materials that can catch on fire.
  • Never re-light a "dud" firework. Instead, wait 15 to 20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water and throw it away.
Information contained in this article was adapted from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.




Thursday, June 21, 2012

iPhone Apps for Insurance Companies

Over the last year mobile applications for smart phones have begun to pop up amongst the different insurance companies that Fey Insurance represents. It started with Travelers and Progressive and has expanded into Safeco, Chubb and now Cincinnati Insurance Company. The applications all allow you to view your current policies and auto ID cards. They help give you contact information to report claims as well as advice on what to do during a claim. Some of the applications actually allow you to report the claim directly from the mobile device.
So how do you get your insurance carriers mobile application? First go to your most recent insurance policy declaration page for either your home or auto insurance. Double check which company you have. Once you know which company you have your insurance with then pull up the applications icon on your iPhone. In the search box type the company name. Once you have located the insurance company's application be sure to download it to your device. Some of the applications will allow you to setup your account right in the app but others may require that you first go to the insurance companies website and create a login.

When you are all finished creating a log in you are then set to use the app and have your personal insurance information handy at any time. Each app also has a button you can press to give us a call directly for more detailed assistance. Try it out today.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Ohio State Wide Texting Law

On June 1st Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a state wide texting while driving ban. The law will go into force in 90 days from June 1st. This new law has tougher restrictions on those under 18. If you are under 18 you are not allowed to use a cell phone at all in a car when you are driving, hands free or not. Those over 18 are still allowed to make phone calls on their phones and are allowed to use the phone to dial while driving. They are just not allowed to send or read texts while driving. Also, for those under 18 the phone use law is a first offense meaning if a police officer sees a person under 18 using a phone while driving they can be pulled over and ticketed just for that offense. Those over 18 can only be ticketed for texting while driving if they were also pulled over for another violation such as speeding, running a red light, etc.
The law is a misdemeanor for drivers with fines up to $150. If you are under 18 you’re first offense could be $150 fine with a 60 day license suspension. A second offense for those under 18 is $300.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Improved Workplace Awareness Helps Traffic Fatalities Trend Downward

Employers and employees need to address the issues associated with automobile accidents as part of their daily management routine. A heightened awareness of automobile safety in the workplace has resulted in greatly improved fatality results. In 2010, 32,788 people lost their lives in vehicle accidents - down nearly 10,000 in the last decade. Fourteen percent of workplace fatalities result from automobile accidents. That is also down from 22 percent just 10 years ago. While this trend is moving in the right direction, the automobile exposure to a business offers one of the most serious liability exposures that can be faced.

Performance Management consultants recommend compliance with the 4-A’s of driving:

Anticipate what could possibly go wrong and focus on driving to avoid mishaps
Adjust to changing circumstances such as traffic congestion or changing weather
Assume nothing - don’t automatically assume that traffic will stay moving or a car won’t change lanes into your path
Allow no distractions - drivers must avoid anything that takes their focus off of driving

Not only can the strict adherence to an automobile safety program help relieve a business from a serious claim, maintaining drivers with good records reflect positively on the business’ auto insurance premiums.

Performance Management predicts that if employers would institute just two actions, implement standards of practice for driving and educate employees about good driving principles and management’s expectations, accidents would be reduced by more than 50 percent.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dog Law in Ohio to Change

A recent article in The News-Herald does a wonderful job summing up the changes to the Ohio dog law.  The article was written by Jean Bonchak and was posted on April 29th, 2012.  Read below:

"Whether you own a poodle, Pomeranian or any pooch at all, be aware that new laws regarding your canine responsibilities soon will take effect.

Matt Granito, president of the Ohio Dog Warden's Association who also serves as the Geauga County dog warden, presented preliminary information regarding the state laws, which begin May 22, to Geauga County Commissioners at a recent meeting.

Granito said the association initiated the legal action because something more had to be done to protect the public from dogs who bite.
The laws passed by the Ohio General Assembly state if an unprovoked dog bites someone then the dog's owner or person responsible for the dog at the time of the incident can be subject to criminal prosecution. It would range from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a fifth-degree felony with the possibility of facing time in jail.
"Without provocation," as defined in the legal document, means that a dog "was not teased, tormented or abused by a person, or that the dog was not coming to the aid or the defense of a person who was not engaged in illegal or criminal activity and who was not using the dog as a means of carrying out such activity."

Dogs displaying aggression may be classified as "dangerous" or "vicious."
A "dangerous" label means that without provocation it has caused injury, other than killing or serious injury to any person, or has killed another dog. Dogs classified as "vicious" have killed or caused serious injury to any person.
Owners of dogs deemed dangerous will be required to pay an annual fee of $50, have the animal spayed or neutered, provide up-to-date rabies shots, secure microchipping, purchase a special tag to be worn by the dog warning it is dangerous and have appropriate signs posted on their property. Chain-link fences also will be required."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Renting A Car

When you rent a car, you are liable for injuries and property damage you cause to others, and damage to the rental car whether it’s your fault or not. With some restrictions, your insurance policy will cover you in your policy territory (United States, its possessions and territories, and Canada) if you injure someone or their property. In most cases, your auto policy will also cover damage to the rental car, but you must carry comprehensive and collision coverage on at least one of your covered autos.
If you plan on your credit card covering damage to your rental car, read the fine print. Some only provide coverage after you prove there is no coverage under your personal policy. Some cards actually have dollar limitations and very restrictive coverage.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tenant’s Improvements to the Premises

A common circumstance surrounding commercial leases involves the tenant making alterations, or improvementsto the rented premises. A strip mall retail location could be used for many different types of tenants. It is unreasonable to assume that the premises is already set up to handle any type of tenant from a clothing store to a restaurant. For example, a new tenant might have to build partitions, add refrigeration or install a kitchen.

The commercial property policy defines improvements and betterments as “fixtures, alterations, installations or additions that are made a part of the building that is occupied but not owned by the named insured, and that the named insured acquires or makes at his expense but cannot legally remove.” Since business personal property coverage insures the tenant’s “use interest” in improvements and betterments located at the rented premises, the amount of these improvements should be calculated into the limit you choose for your business personal property.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Insurance Industry Loses Big in 2011

When a wave of major storms strikes Ohio, or anywhere in the United States for that matter, your carrier uses insurance premiums to pay claims to help customers, like you, recover. If they expect more storms, your rates increase. Ohio has been rocked with several devastating storms this past year, causing damage from hail to tornadoes.

Catastrophe losses in 2011 caused the U.S. property and casualty insurance industry to experience its worst losses since 2002, and analysts say 2012 should only see modest improvement. A.M.Best, the industry rating agency, reported the industry experienced more than $44 billion in catastrophe losses, driving down net income.

Simply stated, a greater frequency and severity of storms create higher premiums, regardless of whether or not you have had a claim.

“We are in the midst of a very long-term trend. Whatever the underlying causes are, this is pushing up the cost of providing insurance in many parts of the country. Insurers have begun to reflect that in their rates,” said Robert Hartwig, chief economist and president of the Insurance Information Institute.

The Buckeye State ranks 6th lowest in the United States based on its average homeowners insurance premium. Even with the increase looming, the cost of coverage remains considerably lower in Ohio than in most other states.

How to save on homeowners insurance

The best way to reduce the impact of a rate increase is to talk to your independent insurance agent about your coverage options and let them find the best solution for your needs. Their knowledge and professionalism is your best option.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Protect Your Phone's Data with a Passcode

Do you have a passcode on your iPhone or Android device? If not it is recommended as phones can easily be miss placed or stolen. A passcode to get into your device will help keep your information private and secure. Many personal and business phones have apps on them that hold a lot of important personal information. That information in the wrong hands can be dangerous and because of this we have three steps we recommend in helping protect your phone.
The first step is simple; decide to put a passcode on your phone. I know, it may be annoying to have to type something into your phone each time you use it but it is better for you in the long run.
The second step is to make the passcode something more than just four digits. Recently there was a software invented called Micro Systemation XRY app. This software can crack any four digit code in only a few minutes. Currently this software is only used by law enforcement agencies however the hackers are never to far behind in developing their own. We recommend you using the setting in your phone that lets you put in more than just four digits. Letters and numbers help to make the cracking process harder. Throw in a few other characters and it becomes even harder to break.
The third step in protecting your phone’s data is to put on the setting in which your data is wiped from the phone after so many failed attempts to login. I know it would be annoying to lose your data from your phone but hopefully you have it synced and backed up on your computer or in a cloud (plus is someone stole your phone you not only lose the data anyway but also the phone). By having the phone wiped after so many failed attempts you are preventing hackers and thieves form being able to use software to try and figure out your passcode.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Insurance Journal Article on Cyber Liability

On March 5th, 2012 the Insurance Journal published an article called "What Insured's Should Know About Avoiding Cyber Liability Exposures".  It was written by Christopher Bomar of  Boomarang Data Backup.  In the article he brings up scenarios of possible insurance claims, where the gaps might be in covering such claims and how to avoid such gaps.  It is a well written article and even has a quote from one of Fey Insurance's very own, Brian Fey. 

Please take a look at the article as it does a great job of showing the current status of Cyber Liability needs, gaps and exposures.

Article: What Insured's Should Know about Avoiding Cyber Liability Exposures

Friday, March 16, 2012

Water Damage Claims

Water damage is one of the most common reasons people make claims on their home insurance. Ruptured pipes, faulty appliances and backed-up drains often lead policyholders to inspect their homeowner policy wording carefully.

Water damage coverage in the homeowner insurance policy is a confusing subject. Usually, the damage caused by water will be covered, but the item causing the loss, such as a leaky pipe or broken appliance hose, will not be covered. While your insurance company will pay for the damaged flooring from a ruptured appliance hose, it will be the policyholder’s responsibility to replace the bad hose. Parts and appliances wear out and it is not the intent of an insurance policy to cover wear and tear.
Flood, which occurs when a nearby tributary or body of water breaches its banks and flows into your home, is not covered under homeowner insurance. You must purchase flood insurance for that. You can purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Radio Frequency Indetification Thefts

Credit cards are gradually moving away from the swipe and process cards to the wireless transfer of financial data. This make shopping lines move quicker but it does create a new kind of theft. The technology is called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). All you do is hold a card near a RFID scanner and the data is transferred. The problem with this is that computer savvy criminals can create scanners that steal your financial data right off your credit card, even if it is still in your wallet. Credit card companies are becoming aware of this issue and have worked to solve the problem with on off switches on the card that are triggered when a finger presses the chip that is imbedded in the card. One other way to prevent scanning theft is to purchase a RFID protected wallet. For example the HuMn Wallet has material that doesn’t allow RFID scanners to scan cards in the wallet.
So be sure to take precaution if your new credit card has the RFID chip imbedded inside. Ask if you can have a card that has the on/off switch and if not look into purchasing a RFID protected wallet.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Scheduling Special Items

Back in July we posted an article about special limits on homeowner policies for things such as guns, jewelry, coins, cash, silver and furs.  In the wake of a string of burglaries in our area (burglaries that are only focused on taking cash, coins and jewelry), we felt it was important to remind people of the homeowner limitations on these items.  It differs per policy and per item but usually there is only about $1000 to $2500 of coverage given on the homeowners for things such as guns, jewelry, coins, cash, silver and furs.  If you own more than that limitation in any of the mentioned categories you should schedule the items on a special policy.  Feel free to contact Fey Insurance to make sure you have things appropriately covered.

On a side note, the current criminals who have been robbing homes in the area are first placing calls asking if you have a security alarm.  As soon as you answer no they hang up and then know your home is unprotected.  Be sure to never answer no to such questions over the phone to a random phone call.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Is Identity Theft Coverage For You?

Consulting firm Javelin Strategies and Research reports more than 11 million people are affected by identity theft each year, at a cost of $54 billion to the victims. In trying to deal with this threat, the insurance industry has developed products to help a policyholder recover from this kind of loss. The monetary loss is not the only issue with identity theft. A victim can spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours trying to clean up credit records due to the thief using personal information to obtain credit with no intention of repayment, thus destroying the victim’s financial reputation. Identity theft insurance protection is designed to help you with this problem by covering expenses and sometimes professional services, that will help the victim recover from this type of loss.
Even with coverage provided, following simple steps can help protect you from this threat:

Shredding documents. Anything that contains sensitive information absolutely must be destroyed. There are specific documents that must always find their way to the shredder.
Old Tax Returns. Unless the IRS suspects you of fraud in your tax filings, you are usually only exposed to the threat of an audit for three years at a time. The National Endowment for Financial Education advises you to keep three to four years of tax returns, and shred anything older. Your tax return contains sensitive information, primarily social security numbers.
Bank Statements. Anything with bank account numbers should be shredded, including paper bank statements.
Credit Card Offers. These offers should go from the mailbox directly to the shredder, unless you are actually going to take the bank up on its offer. A lot of identity theft happens within families, so don’t leave these offers lying around.
Old Photo IDs. These IDs contain information, which by itself is probably not enough to be damaging, but used with other information could help perpetrate a fraud.

Pay Stubs. Absolutely shred your pay stubs. Some financial institutions will ask you the amount of your last deposit to use as a validation. A past pay stub can give that information.
Credit Card Convenience Checks. The most dangerous thing you can receive in your mailbox are convenience checks often sent with your credit card bill. These represent a live loan to whoever holds this check. Shred these immediately.
Canceled Checks. Canceled checks contain not only your account and routing numbers, but also your address and possibly your phone number. People often include their full account or credit card number in the memo section when paying with a check. Do your duplicate checks display your account and routing numbers? Don’t overlook these carbon copies.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Preparing for Winter

Wintertime and winter weather can be tremendous fun, but cold and snow can also pose danger. Slippery roads, downed power lines and limbs, and freezing cold temperatures all bring an added measure of suspense to our daily activities. There are simple steps you can take that will take the chill off your wintertime experience.

In your car. It is not enough to throw a safety kit, including emergency equipment such as blankets, candles, a shovel and traction aids into the trunk of your car and think that you are ready for operating your vehicle in inclement weather. The single most important thing we can do while driving in severe winter conditions is to slow down. A safe speed for conditions might be well under the posted speed limit. Triple the normal driving distance between you and the car in front of you. If your vehicle begins to slip, immediately take your foot off the accelerator and steer gently in the direction you want the car to go.

If your car gets stuck, clear the snow in front of and behind your tires and spread sand, kitty litter or traction mats in the front and back of your tires. Gently accelerate until you feel the tires begin to spin. Put the car in reverse and back up slowly until stopped by the snow. Rock forward again using a low, steady speed.

At home. Have your heating system inspected to make sure it is working properly. If you have an alternative heating source, it should be UL approved and inspected before using.

Good insulation will also help if power is lost. Check for possible air leaks around doors and windows. Seal electrical outlets and switches on outside walls. Stock up on easy to prepare food, first aid supplies, batteries, flashlights and a battery-operated radio.

If you do get snowed in at home and the situation isn’t dire, just relax and preserve heat by hanging blankets over windows and doors. If you use a supplemental heating device, make sure it is UL approved, in good operating condition and maintaining safe distance from flammable items.

Outside. Make sure to remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Hopefully, you remembered to clean your gutters of leaves and debris. Better yet, install gutter guards. These can help keep snow and ice from building up, which can form ice damns and damage your house. Outside heating appliances like heat pumps must be clear of snow and debris to work efficiently.

If you have to go outside, wear tight and layered clothing and sturdy watertight shoes. Make sure to cover exposed parts of the body by wearing hats, gloves and scarves. Failure to protect skin and prolonged exposure to the cold can result in frostbite. The nose, cheeks, ears, fingers and toes (your extremities) are most commonly affected.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Buckle Up Your Best Friend

Dogs are a man’s best friend. So it only makes sense that dogs often travel in vehicles. Sometimes those are trips that are necessary for the dog such as doggy daycare or the vet. However, a lot of the time they are just to keep the driver company as they drive around town or go on a short road trip.

Dogs can be great companions as you drive around in your vehicle but they can also be great distractions. There are times you will see dogs sitting on the laps of the drivers or sitting dead center of the back seat which blocks the driver’s view out of the rear of the car.

In an accident dogs can also be a major hazard. When auto accidents happen they often stop a vehicle cold in its tracks. However, anything not buckled into the vehicle continues to travel at the speed the vehicle was traveling. Often, dogs are not strapped in and therefore become a large moving object in your vehicle. This can cause major damage to your pet as well as possibly to you or anyone else in the vehicle. It is best to have a dog strapped into your car, not only for your dog’s safety but also for your safety and for the safety of those in your vehicle. Visit a pet store near you and pick up an attachment that enables you to comfortably seatbelt in your dog.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Extra Expense Coverage

If your business suffers a major disaster that interrupts normal business operations, what effect will it have on your operations over the long term? Will you be able to retain customers? Will you lose valuable employees? Alternatively, does your business allow you the flexibility to operate from a different location with equipment that is easily acquired? The answers to these questions allow a business owner to determine whether business income coverage, extra expense insurance or a combination of both, is needed.

Businesses, especially those offering a service that can easily be replaced by another business, may face permanent loss of customers if business is interrupted for an extended period of time. Businesses whose operations depend more on employees than on location may not have a serious threat of income loss, since they can continue operating from a temporary location preserving income flow. However, operating from a temporary location and expediting delivery of replacement supplies and equipment can add up to considerable extra expense. Additional advertising may also be necessary to let people know you aren’t out of business. In many cases, a business may need both business income coverage and extra expense coverage.

The promise of extra expense coverage is to pay the actual and necessary extra expenses needed to continue operations, which would not have been incurred if there had not been a direct physical loss to the business. The period of restoration begins on the date of loss and ends when the property should be repaired, if reasonable speed is applied while returning the property to its pre-loss condition. Interference by building ordinance, zoning law or environmental protection law does not extend the period of time when extra expenses are payable. The period of restoration is based on the period