Are you really getting a better premium?

I completely understand the economics involved and concerns with higher premiums. I truly do (I have two daughters and one of them drives). I also understand that insurance premiums constantly increase in the State of Florida and there are many great carriers available (some clearly better than others). Being an independent agent grants us the opportunity to offer choices.

However, what really upsets me is when I see a client cancel their policy for one that is completely stripped of coverage. I just recently almost lost a client to an agent in South Florida. This particular client has been with me (and the same carrier) for over TEN YEARS!!! This client never called us to review his/her policy and yet we received a request to cancel his/her policy.
What was interesting is that I also received the declarations (coverage) page and I was truly disgusted by what I saw (and I unfortunately see this all too often). Not only was the dwelling (home) coverage significantly reduced, but the other agent removed replacement cost on contents (meaning, their contents would be depreciated and not replaced with new items), the actual value of the contents was reduced by more than half (again, without the replacement cost coverage, a loss would be exponential), they removed Ordinance & Law coverage (essential for a total loss), and they raised the deductibles creating a much larger out-of-pocket expense in the event of a claim. This ultimately presented a much lower premium, but also creating a substantial loss in the event of a claim.
If my client was actually made AWARE of these differences, I think we would likely have retained that client (I did send out several emails explaining the differences and indeed saved the policy). The point is that most other agents strictly sell “PREMIUMS” and don’t properly insure their clients. My agency is extremely passionate about PROPERLY INSURING YOU!!! We value your trusting us to protect your most essential assets and we take that role extremely seriously (sometimes more seriously than our clients do). Unfortunately, a lot of agents don’t share our values.
So, I ask, are you really getting a better premium??? If so, at what cost?
If you EVER want us to review your policy, please call us anytime. WE WANT YOUR BUSINESS!!! Please tell your relatives, friends and neighbors about our services. Thank you for the opportunity to assist you with your insurance needs.

Want a FREE roof?

I thought I would take some time to fully explain a series of events that have occurred over the past few years and shed some light as to why home insurance premiums keep increasing. Let’s face it, we have not had any storms in a while, so what is going on???

Note: The intent of this email is to EDUCATE you and not condemn anyone for filing a claim.

If you haven’t been contacted by a roofer yet, get ready. There has been a huge push by roofers to “sell” a new roof for “free.” How? By convincing you, our client, to sign a form called an Assignment of Benefits (AOB).   In essence, a lot of roofers (not all, there are truly some great ones out there) and “storm” companies have been canvasing neighborhoods, going door to door soliciting new business under the terms of an insurance policy to replace a roof.   This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you truly have damage.

However, these “professionals” have been focusing on neighborhoods with aged roofs and convincing clients they have hail damage when, in fact, they don’t. Here is the catch… “sign this form and we will handle everything.” What they are not telling you is that when you sign an AOB, you are, in essence, giving that entity FULL rights of your policy to that company.

The idea behind an AOB is for that entity to act on your behalf to work with the insurance company to settle a claim. What actually is occurring is a huge increase in claims frequency and values that are truly not legit. For example, an average roof costs about $10,000. However, we have seen claims exceed $20,000 for that same $10,000 roof. Insurance carriers are now fighting back and you, the insured, are stuck in the middle. Because an AOB was signed, the insured gave up all their rights to that third party and therefore all rights (to the insured) are waved.

This has resulted in carriers (legitimately) denying claims, as the roof is aged (roofs typically only last about 15 years in Florida due to the extreme temperatures). The insurance carrier (industry) is then requiring that individual to replace their roof because it is over its life expectancy. In other words, filing a roof claim may come back and haunt you if the roof truly is not damaged.

Following is a link to the Consumer Protection Coalition. I highly advise you review this site, as it contains a tremendous amount of information pertaining to this specific issue.

There have been several individuals put in prison for insurance fraud and it is vitally important that you fully understand exactly what is going on in our State. This has been occurring for many years in Northeast Florida and has now spread to other parts of the State. Please be sure to watch this recent video, as it shows exactly what I am referring to. We know this first hand through the many claims we have experienced during the past 5 years.

If you have a roof/hail claim, please call us before you do ANYTHING so we can properly guide you. You have insurance for a reason; we just want to be sure you understand how your policy works and what is involved with this particular trend. We are YOUR advocate, so please reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

The Three C’s for Auto Insurance

Insurance carriers always advertise how easy it is to save money on your car insurance.  What they don’t tell you is…

Insurance carriers have their own underwriting guidelines to rate their auto exposures.  Most of the rates are calculated using extremely advanced algorithms and there is not a “one size fits all” scenario when rating auto insurance.  You could have a fantastic rate with one carrier an entirely different rate with a different carrier.  There are many characteristics that are used for rating auto insurance.  I think the Three C’s are some of the most significant that I have seen when reviewing a client’s auto insurance and thought I would share them with you.

C is for CREDIT:  Credit has been used in rating auto insurance risk for a very long time.  In fact, we see a change in underwriting for home insurance where credit is now one being utilized.  Of course, those individuals who maintain high credit ratings will ultimately see better pricing/rates than individuals with poor (or no) credit.  Insurance scoring is a soft hit, meaning it does not typically affect your BEACON score.  Insurance carriers are also utilizing “Insurance/Financial Data” more than actual credit scores in some cases.  Maintaining good credit practices will usually result in lower insurance premiums.

C is for COVERAGE: Most people think that if they reduce coverage, they will experience reduced premiums.  This is true on an existing policy, but not when shopping for a NEW policy.  Proof of coverage is a much larger variable than most would think.  Carriers put a significant weight on prior bodily injury limits.  Those individuals who maintain 100/300 Bodily Injury coverage will have significantly lower premiums when shopping insurance than those individuals who carry prior limits of 10/20 or 25/50.  I just did this exercise with a client on the phone.  She currently has 100/300 limits and her new rates were around $800 per six months.  When I changed her PRIOR limits to 25/50, her ‘new’ rates increased to $1100.  Maintaining high prior limits is extremely important.

C is for CLEAR RECORDS:   Ok, so I am being a little flexible here.  There is no question that having a clear driving record is better than not.  What people don’t think about is what kinds of accidents to claim on their insurance.  Bottom line: if you can pay for it out of pocket, you should.  If not, file the claim.  What is important to know is that carriers look at FREQUENCY of claims, not just the claim itself.  We have seen clients with multiple towing/labor claims experience significant rate increases for such small claims due to the number of claims filed.  Insurance is for catastrophic coverage and should be used for issues that can’t be paid out of pocket.

As stated earlier, there are many characteristics that affect auto premiums.  These are just a few.  Please call our agency if you ever would like to do a review on your auto insurance.