News : Personal

Retroactive Life Insurance Gift from Aviva

As an independent agency, we represent many fine carriers. One of these carriers is Aviva Life insurance Company. This video shows the recipient of one of their most recent “Retroactive Life Insurance” award gifts. From time to time, Aviva selects someone in need that has experienced the loss of a loved one and gives them the opportunity to speak with a trusted insurance adviser to complete life insurance planning as if the individual had not passed. They then award the death benefit to the family.

What a great reminder of the quality companies out there in the insurance industry that understand why we are in the insurance business.

By:Patrick Baggett- Vice President of Commercial Lines 



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The Risks of Saying “I do”- Wedding Insurance


In our office, we often get calls for Wedding Insurance. However, I would venture to say that a majority of “Brides to be” just don’t

 You may want to consider these liability concerns for your upcoming Big Day: consider the liability risks associated with their nuptials.

  1.  Alcohol – Many people think that because a venue or caterer is serving the alcohol, you are not liable for anything that happens as a result of serving. This is a common misconception and could be a costly one. When entertaining with alcohol, always make sure you have adequate liquor liability in place by consulting a knowledgeable insurance professional.  
  2. Certificates of Insurance – You can never be too safe in this arena. If you are hiring a caterer, band, party bus, etc… always make sure those contracted carry adequate liability insurance. Being named on their policy would also limit your exposure for any actions of those you subcontract for the wedding.
  3. Exotic Venues – Opting for a wedding in your Grandparent’s 200 year old barn seems idyllic. However, make sure to carefully consider the risks your guests might encounter at the unique and perfect venue you select.

These three items are a good way to start considering the liabilities associated with your wedding. It is your big day and we hope nothing goes wrong… but if it does, make sure you are protected with wedding insurance from a trusted insurance professional.


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Poll: Nearly Half of All Drivers Who Hit Parked Cars Don’t Always Leave Notes

I am sure you have had this happen to you. Go into Target to pick up a few items and come back to a ding on the side of your car. Maybe a dented bumper that you know wasn’t there before.

Surprisingly, in Portland Oregon, there is a 50/50 chance that individual did not leave a note with contact information to file a claim.

View the entire article in Claims Journal here.

By:Patrick Baggett – Vice President Commercial Lines

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Do You Have Enough Life Insurance?


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How to Protect Your Most Treasured Property

One of my most vivid childhood memories is the time my mother lost her engagement ring. It was beautiful, and when put together with her wedding band it looked like a flower. She always took it off when she was cleaning, which was what she was doing the day she misplaced it. Upon discovering that she could not find it, she began to tear the house apart looking for it. After about an hour of futile searching, she called my dad, sobbing hysterically. “It’s not insured!” she wailed. “What are we going to do?” Luckily, my level-headed father managed to find it, hidden in a corner of particularly thick carpet. Needless to say, they insured the ring soon after that incident.

When considering important things in life to insure, the ones that jump out are pretty instinctual: home, car, health, life. However, I would dare say that my mother was just as; if not more, devastated thinking she had lost her engagement ring as she would have been if we had lost half of our household possessions. No one wants to experience the sinking feeling of knowing that something got lost or destroyed that is practically irreplaceable to you, such as an heirloom fur coat or a priceless painting.

What many people fail to realize is that it is possible to be compensated for these priceless possessions that you can’t imagine losing. In the insurance world, we call this “scheduling property.” This is a cost-effective way to insure individual items against loss or damage up to their actual value. Items that are commonly scheduled are fine jewelry, artwork, furs, cameras, silverware, etc.  Scheduling items provides you with “All Risk” protection, which is the broadest type of coverage you can receive and covers nearly all situations, with a few limited exceptions.

If you decide that scheduling property is the choice you want to make, we will put down a full description of your item, down to the very last detail. If it exceeds a certain amount of value, we will also need an appraisal of the item. A small premium will apply for the item that you insure, which will vary based on the type of item that is being covered. Another benefit is that when scheduling an item, you will typically pay no deductible if you have a claim on the item.

Remember than horrible feeling in your gut when you realize something precious is broken or lost? I know I have experience it one too many times. Save yourself the heartache and ask about our scheduling options today. As always, we are more than happy to help you in any way that we can.

By: Dominique Postma
FSI Intern


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Protect your hair and your family with an Umbrella!

On this rainy day (or week, as the weatherman tells me), my umbrella is essential. Whether you are trekking across campus hauling your textbooks or running errands with your kids, umbrellas will shield you from the worst that the weather has to offer. However, when we start talking about an umbrella insurance policy, we aren’t talking about preserving your hairstyle from the rain and wind. Let’s set up the scenario for you. You have a house and car, and maybe even a boat (we can dream, right?). These big purchases require homeowners, auto, and boat liability insurance. This insurance is there to protect your assets in the event that you are found liable.

However, there may come a time when your liability coverage will not be sufficient.  At times like this, you could be desperately searching for that money tree in the backyard to spot you the difference. Has your tree withered up and died long since? Yeah, mine too. Never fear- this is when umbrella insurance kicks in. The umbrella policy provides additional liability coverage in the event that your liability coverage on your home, auto, or boat policy has been exhausted, and is designed to work as protection so you don’t have to pay the difference out of pocket.

Just to make sure we’re clear, let’s set up a scenario. Let’s say that one


day you and another car are involved in a traffic accident while driving on a wet road in Franklin. Your Bodily Injury liability limit on your auto insurance is $500,000, but someone in the other car required extensive medical procedures. The total costs that they acquire are $750,000. Your umbrella insurance would cover the remaining $250,000 that your regular auto liability insurance would not cover. An umbrella policy, much like my yellow umbrella, provides you with an extra layer of protection for yourself and your family…and let’s be honest, who can say no to that? So whether it’s one that protects your freshly-styled hair from inclement weather or one that protects your assets in the event of an accident, never leave your umbrella at home.

By: Dominique Postma
FSI Intern


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Covering Your Roof: ACV and RC

Hello again!

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day full of quality time spent with your loved ones and good eats (single or in a relationship, who doesn’t love an excuse to eat unlimited amounts of chocolate?)

One of our commitments to you is to be entertaining because of course we would NEVER expect you to read a boring blog – mostly because we wouldn’t want to either! Our even more important commitment to you is to be informative. We want to give you the facts and be here to answer your questions and serve your needs, whatever that may entail.

Something we want to keep you informed of is a change that several insurance providers are making, and it is something that we want you to be aware of in the months to come. Various insurance companies have begun to either switch or include actual cash value (ACV) policies in their roofing coverage terms. In the past, insurers would offer replacement cost policies when dealing with roofs and any accident that may befall them.

Basically the difference is this: a replacement cost policy would pay to fix or replace the roof without considering any depreciation, or wear and tear, that the roof may have already sustained previous to the hailstorm or falling tree or whatever incident may have occurred. An ACV policy will pay for the cost of the repairs or replacement minus any wear and tear that the roof already had.

Let’s put this into a scenario for you. Say your roof is eleven plus years old, and this spring a particularly bad storm rips through Franklin and drops quite a bit of hail on your house. A replacement cost policy would pay for the entire replacement of your roof, a hypothetical $10,000, without considering its age. An ACV policy would provide the coverage after deducting the value of the wear and tear of the roof, which we will say amounts to about $4,000. Your ACV policy would therefore provide you with the remaining $6,000 with which to replace or repair the roof.

These tongue-twister words and figures being tossed around can often be very confusing, especially for us, so we hope we have helped shed a little light on a hazy situation. Our number one goal is to be available to you, and we always want you to feel comfortable asking us questions or for more  information. Stay tuned for more entertaining and informative blog posts!

By: Dominique Postma
FSI Intern


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Home Insurance: Beware the cost of April Fools

April Fool’s Day is a chance to indulge in some light-hearted fun. Telling a colleague they have to come to work in a Hawaiian shirt, or rearranging your neighbour’s garden gnomes is just a bit of harmless fun, right? Playing such pranks has even been reported to help reduce stress, boost creativity and encourage teamwork.

But wilful tricks can also be a danger to your health, your property or your job. So, before you get too creative, consider the risks – and that any fallout will probably not be covered under accidental damage.

The most famous mass hoax came when Orson Welles inadvertently created havoc with his 1938 radio dramatisation of The War of the Worlds. The play simulated a series of news broadcasts announcing that the Earth was being invaded by Martians. Many listeners panicked, thinking it was actually happening. Newspapers reported millions of people fleeing the cities in fear of alien invasion, although later studies suggest this was an exaggeration.

The media is often keen to join in the April Fool’s spirit, with the BBC responsible for two of the best-ever hoaxes. In 1957 it ran a report on how Switzerland was enjoying a bountiful spaghetti harvest, complete with footage of trees draped in pasta. Viewers inundated the BBC seeking advice on how to grow it for themselves to which they were told to pop a piece of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.

Then, on April 1 2008, the BBC employed the latest video technology to produce a convincing news report about flying penguins migrating to the South American rainforests.

Although April Fool’s Day may bring out the media’s mischievous side, many people feel the rest of the year is game for a laugh, too – sometimes to their cost, as in these stories.

Are you insured against April Fools (and other pranks)?

Whether hoaxes and April Fools are successful or backfire, they can still leave you out of pocket for the damage caused.

A bunch of pals from Scotla

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nd, for example, began a series of pranks culminating in one of the gang waking up on his 24th birthday to find his front door bricked up.

The following year, the same man, a die-hard Rangers fan, woke on his birthday to find his lawn, hedge, wheelie bin and car painted in the colours of rival football team Celtic.

Taking things too far can also be a risk. One senior manager ended up filing for early retirement and suing for damages after colleagues sent him a false memo while he was on holiday. The message said a report he was working on needed to be finished two weeks earlier than planned, so he cut short his holiday and ended up getting so worked up he experienced heart palpitations.

If you do pull a prank, you may be tempted to capture the hilarity on film. This, too, can backfire. A firefighter and his colleagues in Manchester were suspended from their jobs after he was filmed getting into a tumble drier and going for a spin.

The bad news is that if your friends do brick up your front door or paint your house in green and white stripes, you won’t be able to claim for it on your home insurance.

So, before you do something stupid, make sure it’s easily fixable, or your victim could come to you with a costly repair bill – making you the April fool.

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Full Service Now Represents Encompass Insurance

Encompass Insurance: A Simple Approach to Protection
Encompass…we've created protection around you.
Encompass may not be a household name, but we've been around for a long time. We work with more than 3,200 independent insurance agents who deliver quality products and services that can fit your needs. A few facts to get to know us better:

  • A national company with a local focus, serving more than 1.3 million customers
  • 1,750 employees dedicated to help meet your insurance needs
  • An all-time-high overall claims customer satisfaction rating, 95.6%*
    *Source: Encompass Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty tracking Survey, July 2009

Encompass gives you an advantage.
 Encompass delivers unique products and services designed to make your life simpler.

  • Innovative coverage options
  • Money saving discounts
  • Enhanced accident forgiveness
  • Safe driving bonus
  • Responsive, hassle-free claim service
  • Broader replacement coverage – replacement value is provided for your home whether or damage is repaired or replaced
  • Competitive, stable pricng
  • Locked-in rates for at least one full year
  • Guaranteed quality repairs if you choose one of our recommended vendors
  • Easy Pay options
    When it comes to insurance protection, we've thought through all the details…so you don't have to.
    Encompass is committed to claims and customer service excellence.
  • Prompt, fair a

    nd consistent claim service

  • 24/7/365 claim reporting capability and adjuster escalation
  • Vendor referral program for vehicle repairs and other services
  • Market Leader in catastrophe response and recovery

Simplify your life with our Universal Security Policy.
Over time, you've probably accumulated valuable assets – and you want to protect them. Encompass offers protection that can insure everything from your home to your car, recreational vehicle, boat and more under one policy. Our Universal Security Policy lets you combine your coverage needs, making your insurance experience simpler. You benefit by having: One policy, One insurance agent, One premium, One bill, One renewal date. Simple.
We stand behind our pledge of performance.
Encompass carries the Trusted Choice® designation by the Independent Insurance Agencies and Brokers of America. This designation means that we are:

  • Committed to treating you as a person – not a policy
  • Dedicated to proving you with excellent customer service
  • Committed to guiding you through the claims process

Make Encompass your insurance company.

Encompass is sold by independent agents who have the freedom to recommend a variety of insurance products and companies. We strive to provide more reasons to choose Encompass, including:

  • Simpler insurance experience
  • Innovative coverage options
  • Responsive, hassle-free claim service
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Is Umbrella Liability Insurance For You?

Most Americans have auto insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, homeowners or renters insurance, life insurance, maybe disability insurance. Enough insurance already, right? Why shell out for umbrella liability insurance, especially in an economic crunch when every little payment stings more than usual?

It may make sense, especially if you have significant assets. Experts call this umbrella a savvy, inexpensive investment against a high-cost lawsuit that could result from anything from a car wreck to a neighbor’s fall on your front steps.

Umbrella liability insurance is so dubbed because it acts like an umbrella, poised above a buyer’s auto and homeowners liability policies to provide extra protection. It kicks in when the liability limit is reached on the underlying coverage, paying for judgments against you as well as attorneys’ fees, all up to a stated limit.

Say you have $300,000 in liability insurance on your homeowners and auto policies and disaster strikes: A tree on your property falls and crushes a neighbor’s home or you or your teenager rear-end a car, severely injuring or even killing someone. If you are sued and a settlement or court judgment finds you liable for $500,000 or $1 million or more, the umbrella takes care of the difference.

As insurance tabs go, this one isn’t steep. A typical $1 million personal umbrella liability policy might cost approximately $200 annually, with each additional $1 million in coverage going for $100 more.

“It’s not necessarily for everybody, but it’s not a bad investment,” said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League. “It does provide the consumer with some peace of mind that they wouldn’t have otherwise.”

That was the case with Pat Gillespie of Bay Village, Ohio, who got umbrella liability coverage last year after hearing years ago about fellow teachers and athletic coaches who had it.

“It just gives you that feeling of comfort in case something catastrophic does come up and bounce you in the face,” said Gillespie, 63, recently retired from teaching. “It’s not something I think about every day — ‘Wow, I have it!’ But like a lot of insurance, you do things that you know you need to do.”

Experts differ on who exactly needs it. Etti Baranoff, associate professor of insurance and finance at Virginia Commonwealth University, considers it a basic building block for a sound financial plan.

“I think it’s for everybody — at least anybody who owns any kind of property and has any money in the bank,” said Baranoff, a former state insurance regulator in Texas.

The Insurance Information Institute calls it essential for almost anyone.

“Umbrella policies used to be viewed as something needed only by the wealthy,” said Loretta Worters, spokeswoman for the New York-based industry group. “But with changing economics and the fact we have become such a litigious society, it makes sense for all homeowners to buy some umbrella coverage.”

Greenberg and some other experts, though, say it’s only critical for those with substantial net worth — perhaps $500,000 or more — or those in professions that might make them targets of lawsuits, such as physicians, lawyers, financial planners or teachers.

“If you don’t have much in the way of assets, there’s not much reason to have it,” said Gary Lanzen, a director of the Society of Financial Service Professionals and vice president of the Brooks & Stafford Co. in Cleveland, Ohio. “An individual with a $200,000 home and $100,000 in investments or less probably doesn’t need it.”

In that situation, some experts recommend instead increasing the liability level in basic homeowners and automobile policies.

While the odds of a huge judgment against any particular individual are very low, the amount could be devastating. The Pennsylvania-based research firm Jury Verdict Research says the average verdict in U.S. personal injury cases from 2000-06 was $928,151 and the average award from personal negligence lawsuits exceeded $1.4 million.

“People who don’t have any (umbrella liability insurance) should have some, and people who have some probably need more,” said spokesman Peter Spicer of insurer Chubb Corp., whose customers are mostly affluent. “Any time the economy goes into a deeper funk as it’s in today, people are opportunistic” with lawsuits — including domestic employees, he said.

While the majority of claims filed under umbrella liability policies are from car accidents, most umbrellas also protect against lawsuit awards for libel, slander, defamation of character, invasion of privacy and other claims. President Bill Clinton was able to pay his legal bills in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case with help from an umbrella liability policy.

Gillespie found a way to pay for his umbrella policy without taking anything more out of his pocket: He increased the deductibles on his auto and homeowners, freeing up the money for the umbrella coverage.

“It just sort of made sense, because of the cost,” he said

To contact one of our client service representatives about an umbrella policy, please click here

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