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50 years in the Claims department: ‘Best move I ever made’

By Bob Bushman

50 years in the Claims department: ‘Best move I ever made'

The insurance industry is growing and has a high need for talented professionals with a variety of training and skills. Recruiters are asking job seekers “where do you fit in?” In this series, Cincinnati Insurance associates describe their own career journeys.


I have worked in the Claims department for 50 years and something new still happens every day, believe it or not.

We are in business to help people. Our main job is to solve problems: to respond quickly, get the claim paid and keep the customer happy. I’m a problem solver.

Before I worked for Cincinnati Insurance, I worked for an independent claims adjusting company in the Butler and Warren (Ohio) counties area. I had heard about Cincinnati through the Butler County Claims Association, and one of the officers of the organization who worked at Cincinnati recruited me. I liked what I heard and decided to change jobs.

Some of my colleagues advised me not to go – Cincinnati was a small company then. But it has been the best move I ever made.

At that time, Cincinnati wrote $11 million in premium, total, for the whole year. Now we’re approaching $5 billion in written premium. Some other things have changed, too, especially the technology. Back then, we wrote out almost everything by hand. If we typed, we used forms with carbon paper on the typewriter. And, I inherited a Polaroid camera that a predecessor had taped together. Now I carry a cell phone and use a computer.

But the thing I like best is the interaction with people. I enjoy getting out to see people of every walk of life.

I’m happy to work for a company that follows the Golden Rule, treating people the way we would want to be treated.

I remember the first claim I had here in Cincinnati, working out of the Central Parkway office. It was an auto claim, and the car was at Nick’s Auto Body. I went out and introduced myself. He pointed out what they were going to do and what parts were what, and it sounded logical to me so I wrote him a check.

From the day I started, the company prefers you to contact everyone in person, face to face. That’s still a goal today.

Another time, in 1974, we had a policyholder who had just agreed to increase coverage on his homeowner policy when a big tornado swept through his neighborhood and …read more

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Our best tips for dealing with disasters

By Cincinnati Insurance

Our best tips for dealing with disasters

We couldn’t let September go by without a mention of national PrepareAthon Day coming up on September 30. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and related government organizations urge all Americans to create a disaster plan to help cope with earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters. Find more information about PrepareAthon – and disaster preparedness in general – at Ready.gov.

Here are five of our previous blogs outlining tips to cope with disasters. The first blog, about extended power outages, prompted the most responses of any blog we have published to date.

Lights out: Preparing for extended power outages (March 20, 2014)

Most of us can, reluctantly, endure the occasional brief power outage from a summer thunderstorm. But an extended power outage can be a challenge to our dependence on modern appliances and electronic devices, and disaster plans should take power loss into account.

Protect your property against wildfire (June 4, 2015)

Dry weather and drought may be of particular concern this year. Now is the perfect time for residents and businesses in woodland, brush-filled or remote areas to take precautions and protect your property against wildfire.

Coping with loss in a catastrophe (February 18, 2014)

Protecting yourself and your family is your first priority when your auto, home, business or personal property is damaged or destroyed by a tornado, hail, flood or other catastrophic event. Promptly treat any injuries. Remain calm and carefully survey the damage.

Preparing your business for disaster (September 16, 2014)

National Preparedness Month in September is an opportunity to emphasize business continuity practices for your organization. But preparing for disaster is really a year-round activity: Up to 40 percent of businesses never fully recover from a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Before hurricane watch turns to warning (June 9, 2015)

The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 to November 30 each year. Residents of Atlantic and Gulf coastal areas should have a plan in place for rough weather.

The post Our best tips for dealing with disasters appeared first on The Cincinnati Insurance Companies blog.

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Don’t let equipment breakdown ruin your day

By Melissa Kamp

Don't let equipment breakdown ruin your day

Equipment breakdown coverage can protect you from losses to costly, built-in equipment.

Imagine coming home from a weeklong vacation to find that an electrical outage damaged the air-conditioning compressor, and your AC is out.

Or, you arrive home from work on a Friday after a long, hectic week, planning to settle in to enjoy the latest movies. As soon as you kick off your shoes and click the power button on the remote, you realize something is wrong. You discover that a power surge during a storm earlier in the day has fried your home entertainment equipment.

Sudden and accidental breakdown of your home’s mechanical systems and electrically powered equipment can disrupt the peace and relaxation you enjoy at home. Equipment breakdown insurance can help you manage these unexpected events.

While insurance does not cover wear and tear, it may be available to cover the cost of diagnosing and repairing insured equipment and to reimburse you for additional living expenses when you are displaced by a covered loss.

Your insurance agent can advise you on whether equipment breakdown coverage is included in your homeowner policy or whether you should consider broader coverage available by purchasing an endorsement or policy addition.

You can purchase equipment breakdown insurance that includes coverage for heating and cooling systems or equipment that generates, transmits or uses energy:

  • computer equipment
  • home theater and audio system equipment
  • wine cooling units
  • swimming pool equipment
  • refrigerators
  • other appliances

Also consider coverage that extends to the equipment used in another structure on your premises, such as a pool house or outbuilding.

Equipment breakdown coverage generally excludes coverage for: piping that is part of a fire protective sprinkler system, water piping other than boiler feedwater piping, boiler condensation return piping or water piping forming a part of a refrigerating or air conditioning system; appliances other than those permanently installed; personal electronic devices; software; and pinball machines, arcade electronic games or video gaming systems. It also generally excludes business property, property not owned by the insured and property not at the residence.

Be aware that equipment breakdown coverage offered through your insurer is not a home warranty. Home warranties generally limit covered property or charge additional premiums for each item. Equipment breakdown through a policy feature or endorsement would cover your equipment and personal property for one premium.

Give yourself the peace of mind and convenience of insurance to help manage life’s unexpected events.

Coverages described here are in the most general terms and are …read more

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Life insurance: A tale of three automobiles

By Joe Bevelhimer

Life insurance: A tale of three automobiles

People have a variety of needs when purchasing life insurance. Term insurance answers some of those concerns, and permanent insurance addresses others. I always ask clients, “Are you concerned about ‘if you die’ or ‘when you die’?”

  • If you are worried about “if you die,” then you’re probably thinking about what happens to your loved ones if you die unexpectedly, or at a time that doesn’t fit with your life plan. In this situation, the conversation should probably start with term insurance.
  • If you are concerned about “when you die,” then you’re probably thinking about when you die after a long and complete life, with concerns for your heirs and assets. When this is the case, I start the conversation discussing permanent insurance.

(See our blog Term vs. permanent life insurance: Which is right for you?)

However, the answer can often be yes to both concerns. So what should you buy first? Let me tell you about a friend of mine with three cars:

  • He drives a small, four-door sedan as his everyday car. It’s leased, and he uses it for basic transportation to and from work and for trips around town. When the car gets too many miles on the odometer, he’ll just trade it in for another one.
  • My friend also has a big sport utility vehicle on hand for when he needs it: family vacations, trips with his son’s lacrosse team, or when he has to haul something or tow a trailer. If he takes care of this SUV, it’ll last a long, long time. In fact, it has already logged over 200,000 miles and is still going strong.
  • Finally, my friend has an old German sports car. This is his baby, his toy. He drives it only once in a while, but each year it’s worth more than it was the year before. I know he plans to keep it forever.

I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to have three cars, but if they do it’s a safe bet that each vehicle serves a different purpose. This is a lot like life insurance ̶ many people have multiple policies, and usually each policy was bought at a different time during their life and serves a different need. It’s completely reasonable that a person would have both term and permanent insurance.

First and foremost, a person with no life insurance needs straightforward, inexpensive protection ̶ for “if you die” unexpectedly. …read more

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Add safety to your home fix-it list

By Cincinnati Insurance

Add safety to your home fix-it list

Keep safety in mind when doing projects at home.

You’re the weekend warrior: attacking your home improvement projects with gusto. You’re not alone. Millions of Americans attempt home fix-it projects for fun or to save money.

Don’t cut corners where safety is concerned. Consider these three scenarios and decide: good idea or bad idea?

Time limit: 0

Quiz-summary

0 of 3 questions completed

Questions:

  1. 1
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Partner with community resources to improve safety

By Brian Rawlings

Partner with community resources to improve safety

Look to community resources to help you improve safety at your business.

Like many business operators, managers of a busy health club have a lot of responsibilities, including driving membership growth and retention, developing new programs to meet the latest trends, keeping the books in order and dealing with HR issues. Of course, they also have to keep everyone safe.

You are not alone!

Community resources abound. Your insurer and agent along with local fire, police and emergency medical services departments as well as other community agencies can help you learn and implement best practices. For example:

  • Request that your insurer’s loss control specialists make periodic walk-through inspections of your facility to identify hazards and make recommendations to correct them and implement best practices. Where applicable, ask them to review your emergency protocols and procedures and assist in your staff training.
  • Engage your local fire/EMS in your emergency planning and training. Consider organizing lifeguard rescue training where they can familiarize themselves with your ingress points, interact with the guards and practice rescues in the pool with them.
  • Ask the police in your area to assist with planning for emergencies, such as active shooter or violent incident response protocol. In many instances, your business can provide real-time access to surveillance video in an emergency.
  • Contact outside agencies, such as the American Red Cross
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What to do with my business when I want to retire

By Nick Elbert

What to do with my business when I want to retire

Life insurance can help you assure successful transfer of your business once you retire.

When you ask business owners about their retirement plans, many answer, “I’m going to sell the business.” But without a plan in place, the chance of transitioning the business to a new owner who shares similar values and is willing to pay a fair price greatly diminishes.

You owe it to yourself and your employees to plan for how your business will continue once you retire, and life insurance can help.

WHAT’S THE PLAN?

Most business owners have not planned to whom or for how much they will sell their businesses at retirement.

  • Is there a key employee or family member who could be a prospective buyer?
  • How will this key employee or family member pay for the business?

Let’s assume an employee or family member is interested in purchasing the business. One method of planning for a smooth and profitable transition of ownership is by putting a one-way buy-sell agreement in place. You should seek the assistance of an attorney when drafting such an agreement, but some advantages and considerations include:

  • An agreement that legally binds the key employee or family member to use the cash value of a life insurance policy as leverage to purchase the business, or in the event of an untimely death, to use the tax-free death benefit to purchase the business outright.
  • Once the agreement is in place, the key employee or family member would purchase a universal life or whole life insurance policy on the life of the current owner with the purchaser named as beneficiary. These policies accumulate cash value over time that can be used to purchase the business.
  • To cover the policy premium, the business may wish to increase the key employee’s or family member’s salary or pay an additional annual bonus. The additional wages are compensation to the key employee and therefore tax-deductible for the business owner.
  • When the owner retires, the buyer obtains a bank loan for the purchase of the business and uses the cash value from the life insurance policy as the down payment for the business. Most banks require 10 to 20 percent of the purchase price as down payment.
A PROBLEM SOLVED

By following these simple steps, the results can benefit both buyer and seller.

A closer look at Underwriters Laboratories

By Laura Hobbs

A closer look at Underwriters Laboratories

Click to view video.

When the scientists at Underwriters Laboratories test a safe for fire resistance, they fill it with paper and expose it to a 2,000-degree fire. The test doesn’t stop there. Next, they drop the safe two stories and see how well it holds up.

“Safes aren’t usually on the basement floor,” explained Robert J. James, Global Building and Security Inspection Leader/Commercial & Industrial for Underwriters Laboratories. James addressed a recent meeting of Cincinnati’s Loss Control department, describing the history and mission of Underwriters Laboratories, a global independent safety science company founded in 1894. UL is dedicated to providing services to help promote public safety.

Consumers of electrical products may be familiar with the UL label indicating that the item was tested and certified for fire and shock safety before entering the market.

But as the safe example demonstrates, UL is way more than just toasters and electric blankets. UL touches a wide range of products, not just appliances, including: medical and laboratory devices, children’s products, personal care and beauty products, plumbing, bedding and furniture, to name a few. Over the years, the company’s reach has extended to include testing for commercial and industrial products and fire resistance of building materials. UL also advocates for workplace safety, sustainable energy, environmental standards and clean emissions.

“Innovation inherently creates risk,” James said, and UL has been in the forefront of product innovation for 120 years. By testing and certifying new products, UL reduces risk for the public.

UL engineers constantly ask themselves, “What if THIS were to happen?” James said. They don’t make assumptions. “Or rather, they make assumptions, then test them.”

James played a video that dramatically illustrates how conditions change over the years. In the video, a living room filled with furniture from the 1940s and another living room filled with contemporary furniture burn side by side. The test shows how the difference in materials changed the fire hazard.

“We are learning to anticipate how and where a fire will migrate in a home,” James said.

People often assume that newer is better, but this test shows that’s not necessarily the case. The legacy room in the video has traditional materials. The modern room uses more plastics, which emit greater amounts of toxic smoke and gases. In addition, James noted that older homes have smaller rooms and more walls, while modern homes are more open, leaving more air to fuel a …read more

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Beware of falling televisions

By Steve Heiden

Beware of falling televisions

Children are vulnerable to injury from TV tipovers.

College and professional football season prompts many fans to upgrade their televisions. Where viewing is concerned, bigger is better. But bigger can also be more dangerous, with larger TVs creating unanticipated hazards at home.

More than 17,000 children – one every 30 minutes – are treated in emergency rooms across the country for TV-related injuries every year, and the rate of children being hurt from televisions tipping over has nearly doubled in two decades, according to a 2013 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

When families purchase new televisions, they often move their older, bulkier sets to other rooms and place them on bookcases, dressers or small tables that were not intended for televisions. That creates instability. Older cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions are front-heavy, making them more prone to tip over.

To help keep your family safe:

  • make sure the new television is anchored
  • ensure older televisions are anchored or placed on sturdy surfaces

Up to 12,700 pounds of force strikes a child when an l unanchored CRT television (screen size 19-32 inches) topples off furniture, based on a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission test. About 2,100 pounds of force strikes a child when a flat screen television in the same size range falls. This is the equivalent of 10 times the force of two NFL linemen colliding at full speed.

The CPSC examined 51 deaths from 2010 to 2012 involving television tipovers and found:

  • 88 percent were children under 4 years old
  • 60 percent involved either 27- or 32-inch televisions

CPSC estimates that emergency rooms treated 9,800 TV tipover injuries to children younger than 9 each year between 2011 and 2013. Children under 3 accounted for most of the injuries.

On its Anchorit.gov website, CPSC offers these tips to prevent injuries from falling televisions:

  • Place the TV on sturdy furniture appropriate for the size of the TV or on a low-rise base.
  • Secure the TV to the furniture with straps, brackets or braces to prevent the TV from sliding.
  • Mount flat-screen TVs to the wall or to furniture to prevent them from toppling over. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure a secure fit.
  • Place any large, heavy CRT TV on a low, stable piece of furniture. If you no longer use your CRT TV, consider recycling it.
  • Secure top-heavy furniture to the wall with brackets, braces or wall straps.
  • Place electrical cords out of a child’s reach …read more

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