Claims, Claims, Claims-What your agent did NOT tell you.

In last month or so, I’ve had 2 vastly difference scenarios with 2 different insurance carriers, both “name brands.”  I’ve changed the name to protect the guilty!  It’s sad that the scenario happened, but the claims service you receive from your insurance carrier can be vastly different from one carrier to another.

Insurance Company A-Client files a home claim Oct 5. They drag their feet and finally send out an adjuster on Oct 31. However this adjuster is not an employee of Brand A, they are a ‘independent adjuster’ who is not allowed to bring the claim to completion (and submit payment to the insured). They are allowed (by law) to take 10 days to complete the claim after inspection. The took the entire 10 days to process the claim and the check. Claim closed Nov 9
**Process time from claim filing to claim closed—-
**35(THIRTY FIVE DAYS)

Farmers client (my insured). Files home claim Nov 8th. Due to high claims volume from the Liberty hail storms 2 weeks ago, our adjuster (who is a FARMERS employee), works OVERTIME on a SUNDAY. Client gets their check in hand before the adjuster leaves their home on Sunday Nov 13.
**Process time from claim filing to claim closed—-
**5 (FIVE) DAYS.

If you know of someone who has had a claims ‘runaround’ those are great referrals for me. We are proud of our company, offer great service, take care of our clients, and most importantly proud of our claims service. #WeAreFarmers 

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Homeowners and Renters–Tips for Holiday Security

The FBI reports that nearly 400,000 burglaries occur between November and December each year in the United States, but some burglars can be deterred; here are some tips:

  • Do not hide spare keys under flowerpots or doormats.
  • Use a timer to turn household lights on and off even if you’re not home. Burglars watch for occupancy cues especially unlit homes.
  • Do not display your Christmas tree and presents in front of easy-access windows.
  • Keep your windows and doors, including sliding doors, secured and locked.
  • Make sure you’re home to accept any packages that are scheduled for delivery. If not, request that the packages are left with a trusted neighbor, the post office, or shipped to your work address.
  • Request to suspend your mail if you are going out of town or on vacation.
  • Do not leave notes on your door announcing that you’re away from home.
  • Do not leave empty boxes from high-priced items outside your home for trash collection. Burglars would love nothing more to swipe your brand new flat screen TV, your children’s newest game system, and your computer.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to check up on your home if you’re out of town.
  • Arm your security system if you have one installed and monitored. Studies show that homeowners with security systems only arm them 50% of the time.

Moving and Selling Your Home? What To Do When Your House Is Vacant

Selling your home can be a stressful process, especially when it doesn’t move quickly.  With a new job looming, you may have no choice but to leave the home vacant for a short time until it sells.

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So is there a problem?  Truthfully there can be.  When you have a homeowner’s policy, on of the insurance company’s requirement is that the property is “Owner Occupied.”  Since you no longer occupy the property, generally these now vacant homes fall under different insurance rules and can leave you at risk.  Homes are typically considered vacant when the utilities are shut off and/or furniture has been removed.

Insurance companies view a vacant home as a higher risk.  There are more opportunities for vandalism and no one living there to protect the home from fire or storm damage should they occur.

So what should you do when moving?

First you need to talk to your insurance agent and get the details on your policy.  Since policies vary by state and insurance company, there is no single right answer.

Explain the situation to your agent.  Ask what coverage is included and what is excluded (specifically for vandalism as well as water damage).  And find out what changes can be made to protect your home.

Selling a home doesn’t always follow a quick timeline.  If you’re facing the possibility of leaving your home vacant, contact us first  and find out how to best protect yourself and your property.

We are always here to answer your questions. Call 816-795-5977 or email anytime-jolson3@farmeragent.com

 

Are you looking for a career rather than looking for “just another job”?

Our Agency is expanding and we are looking to add an additional inside sales/customer service representative.

Job Purpose: This is a small insurance business environment that is very fast-paced and requires an Inside Sales / Customer Service Rep. who is creative, a self-starter, and a hard worker. Must be able to be punctual, multi-task, and work well under pressure with great customer service skills. This can be a career rewarding opportunity for you to grow with us!

Hours: Monday-Friday: 8:30am-5:00pm

Responsibilities includes (but not limited to):
1) Provide prompt, accurate, and friendly service by responding to inquiries from existing policyholders and the general public regarding insurance, policy changes, billing clarification, and payment plans.

2) Timely and courteous follow up with prospective and current clients regarding current insurance policies as well as additional insurance policies.

3) Provide service in a pleasant and courteous manner.

4) Meet customer service goals and assist with marketing goals as directed by the upper management.

5) Perform other related duties as assigned by the upper management.

Qualifications:

-High School Diploma minimum. 4 year college degree preferred.
-Technological Savvy: Computer experience with Word, Excel, and Outlook is mandatory
-Experience in Social Media-Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Blogs, Pinterest
-Communication Skills: Strong listening, oral, and written communication skills
-Initiative and Self-Reliance: Make decisions on a timely basis and take necessary actions without directions from others
-Problem solving ability: Apply and balance conceptual and analytical thinking by breaking down complex problems, evaluating alternative sources of action and their likely outcomes, and selecting the best alternative.
-Goal oriented:  Highly motivated and resourceful to achieve results
-Truthfulness & Respect: Proven track record of trustworthiness, dependability and ethical behavior with the ability to learn and apply product and customer knowledge to professionally service policy holders
-Experience in service, sales, and/or retail sales is desirable.
-Must be able to pass a background check and be able to pass 2 tests for insurance licenses with 60 days of hire (this includes Property/Casualty and Life/Health).
Starting pay DOE and pay increase and opportunity to earn commissions after successfully passing insurance exams.

Please email resume, references, and cover letter to careers@olsoninsurancekc.com

The Worst Part of My Job is….

Want to know the worst part of my job? Telling people it’s too late. Here’s a fact. We will ALL die. Everyone of us. We will get sick and assuming we aren’t killed in an accident we will be too sick for anyone to insure us at some point. And you know who will be left to figure out the puzzle?

YOUR KIDS.     YOUR HUSBAND.      YOUR WIFE.      YOUR FAMILY.

DO NOT do this to them. The most heart breaking of conversations that happen in my office are the ones that are too late. Work life insurance policies are great, but they don’t last beyond retirement, OR if you get sick, OR if you quit them OR if they let you go. Does that seem like a lot of variables to you? It does to me.  But I HAVE A SOLUTION-Purchase a life insurance policy that YOU OWN, not your employer.  You pay for it directly, you can see the policy and hold it, You can update beneficiaries easily as needed. Trust me and start something now, so your kids don’t have to beg someone later.
‪#‎WhoIsYourAgent‬?

Still not convinced? See our other article on “Fool’s Gold

FamilyLifeIns
Click on the picture for simple, easy ways to help pay for your life insurance.

To set up a personal assessment and to get coverage in place that is the correct coverage for you and your family call 816-795-5977 or email jolson3@farmersagent.com to set up a meeting. We can meet in person at our office, at your home, or even talk over the phone.

What you NEED TO KNOW about Homeowner’s Insurance

Everybody who owns a home and has a mortgage has to have home insurance—but understanding the policy in it’s entirety?  Well as your agent and insurance adviser we know you’re not wizards at this stuff and that’s why we have such an important job. It’s truly about education.

Here are seven things that smart homeowners need to understand when shopping and comparing policies.

1. Insurance companies look at replacement cost, not market value

Did you get a ‘good deal’ when you bought your current home?  Did it appraise for $325,000 but you only paid $305,000?  Do you think your home insurance policy should list the coverage on your home for exactly $305,000 then since that’s what you just paid for the house?  Not so fast, my friend.  In the event of a claim what do you want your policy to do?  The answer of course is to REPLACE/REPAIR the damage whether it was to the structure or your contents after your deductible is met.

When you buy a house here are factors that affect the house value: age of the house, size of the lot, school district, local neighborhood–just to name a few.

There are a myriad of factors that go into determining a homes replacement cost including but not limited to: age of the house, square footage, style of the house, number of bathrooms, if there’s a basement and if the basement is finished, number of garages, square footage of the deck. I think you get the idea.

 

2. You should never, ever ignore water or flood risk

Planning to skip flood coverage because you’re in the middle of the high plains? Think again. Lakes, rivers, and oceans aren’t your only watery concerns. Forgetting about your sump pump or sewer can be a catastrophic mistake.

Back up of sewer or drain is NOT COVERED under any company’s base home insurance policy. You have to select additional coverage (typically from $5,000-$25,000) and pay and additional premium for coverage. The #1 cause of this type of claim is a failed sump pump. Even brand new ones can fail if you have heavy rains for several days or if you lose power during a storm.

If there is a power failure and it causes the pumps to fail and you have flooding in the basement this is the ONLY way that you’ll have coverage; otherwise you’re on your own to clean up the mess and repair any damage.

3. Don’t use insurance for maintenance issues

Making a claim on your home insurance will likely cause your premium to rise. That’s no fun for anyone, so unless you have a major catastrophe it’s always best to contact the agent first to discuss the situation to see if it merits filing a claim.

Also, too many claims could result in cancellation of your policy. So keep your claim activity to a minimum.  As a general rule of thumb I would suggest not turning in a claim unless the total amount of damage is twice your deductible or more.

Gone are the days of using your home insurance for maintenance issues that arise from daily wear and tear. Insurance should only be used for larger claims or catastrophic incidents.  If you do have multiple claims in a short time period (2 claims in 3 years; 3 claims in 5 years) it will be very difficult to move your insurance when you choose to shop. No insurance carrier wants a client who is “claim happy.”

Want another way to think about your home insurance? Here is another thought– When you use your home insurance, it should be with a sense of “Thank God I have insurance.”

4. Tell us before remodeling your home

Very seldom do our clients tell us about home renovations until well after the fact. But letting us know what you thinking or planning on doing can help eliminate some surprises down the road.  If you don’t, otherwise you might find yourself paying some big bucks in either premiums or lack of proper coverage down the road.

Not only do you want to ensure any possible mishaps are covered under your policy, but your insurer likely will need to reassess your property, especially if renovations affect the value of your house.

Some renovations—like a new roof—can lower your premiums by as much as 25%. But others, like putting in a pool or trampoline, can cause your premiums increase due to liability concerns. In fact some insurance carriers will cancel or non renew your policy if you have an unfenced pool or unfenced trampoline. Double check with us before finalizing construction plans.

5. Buying insurance isn’t “like shopping for gas”

Understanding the intricacies of your policy can be immensely overwhelming, tempting many homeowners to shop exclusively for the lowest price. But being more methodical can make a huge difference.

Don’t view buying insurance like shopping for gas.  You are buying coverage for the MOST EXPENSIVE  possessions that you own. Make sure to ask plenty of questions, such as ‘Is this replacement cost policy or actual cash value?’ and ‘what are limits on my personal property (jewelry, guns, etc)?’

Go through your policy with us every 1-2 years, asking questions whenever you’re confused. We do this for all our clients; it’s called a Farmers Friendly Review.  Don’t feel bad about asking questions, that’s what we’re here for.

Insurance can scare even the most educated consumer. So take your time, ask questions, and don’t just go with the cheapest price because seldom is that the best decision.

6. Insurance is not a conspiracy theory.. No, seriously.

Believe it or not, we (your insurance company) don’t set out to smash your dreams of reimbursement with an iron hammer. And we are not the type of company to cancel your insurance if you have a claim or two.

One area that makes things very difficult as an agent are people who think the insurance companies are out to deny every possible legitimate claim.  There is not a vast conspiracy against the clients.

You might not want to believe it but we (the insurance company) do want to keep you happy. And sure, we also want to protect the bottom line as well.

7. Don’t get frustrated about increasing premiums

As your agent and adviser of choice we are your ally. Remember: We are not the ones setting the rates or raising your premiums. You might be upset, but just give us a call to understand what exactly is happening with your policy.

Remember we are NOT the the insurance company, but we understand that we are your liaison between the insurance company and yourself as the client. We understand that increases are difficult on you as the insured.

If you have an issue with your coverage or rate, remain calm during discussions.  What we do is to go over the coverage line by line and see if you’re eligible for any new discounts or if dropping a coverage or raising a deductible might be a good fit for your situation.
If you’re a client and it’s time for a review call 816-795-5977 or email jolson3@farmersagent.com.

If you’re not currently a client and have learned something in this post that you should’ve been taught by your agent years ago, contact us today for your personalized proposal.
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I Am Starting a New Business and Need Insurance, What Should I do?

Congrats on starting your own business!  It can be exciting, nervous, scary, and overwhelming all at the same time!

One of the first things that you need to do before you sign a lease, sell a product, or open your doors to the public is to get proper business insurance set up.

Most people will go straight to their auto, home, and life agent for a policy quote and then buy the policy without completely understanding the coverage and the risks of their business and this can be a HUGE mistake.

The issue at hand is having the correct coverage. Most State Farm, Allstate, Farmers, American Family agents know auto/home/life policies but don’t completely understand commercial or business policies. This equates either paying too much for the coverage or paying for a policy that WILL NEVER help you if you truly did need it. Also all of the above companies only carry general liability and NOT professional liability. Not every business needs professional liability but quite a few do and often they don’t realize it. I represent Farmers Insurance and we write quite a bit of commercial policies with Farmers but if it’s a hard to place business or something that we cannot write thru Farmers I can broker it to a carrier who will help place the risk.  If you’re are either starting a business or if you’re not comfortable that your agent sold you the correct coverage at the correct price, give us a call at 816-795-5977 or email at jolson3@farmersagent.com.

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10 Ways to Pay for Your Life Insurance

Think life insurance is “TOO EXPENSIVE”???  Well it’s really not.  Even if you get a 10 year term policy for $150,000 your rate is going to be between $20-$100/month depending on your age, nicotine use, driving record, and overall health. To put it bluntly your cell phone and your cable bill are easily $100/mo each if not double that.

So for the budget conscious let’s look at some options.  I use that term budget conscious loosely, because if you’re spending $200-$300/month between your cable and cell phone you should be able to spend a few dollars on YOUR FAMILY and protecting them.

1. Create a budget. Track your expenses: knowing where your money is going may help you identify areas where you can easily reduce your spending. There are many free money management tools and apps that can assist you with this.

2. Quit smoking. It benefits your health, and a pack-a-day smoker can save over $2,000 per year based on the average cost of a pack of cigarettes. Non-smokers can also expect lower life insurance rates – all other factors being equal – than smokers.

3. Bring your lunch to work. By not spending just $5 a day you are looking at saving about $1,200 a year. You don’t have to bring your lunch every day: even bringing your lunch every other day can result in savings that can help cover the cost of a life insurance policy, and possibly even more.

4. Eat out one less time per month. If it costs you about $30 on average each time you go out, reducing this number by once a month will allow you to save over $300 a year. If you eat out and have 2-3 children with you this figure will be even more staggering.

5. Bring coffee from home.  Do you spend $3 a day on coffee during the work week? If so, this can add up to $720 per year. Cutting this number in half can result in significant savings.

6. Save your loose change. It may not sound like much, but setting aside fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save more than $180.

7. Take advantage of all company benefits and discounts. Your company may offer corporate discounts on gym memberships, cell-phone data plans, hotels, concerts, etc. that can help you save.

8. Organize your closet and garage. This can have a number of advantages. You can save time in the long run knowing where everything is located, and you may find forgotten items, reducing the need to purchase new ones. Consider consignment for items you no longer want to keep.  Go ahead and donate old and unwanted/unused items and write that donation off on your taxes.  If you are the type of person to hold a garage sale, you can sell those items for cold hard cash.

9. Research major purchases. Check product reviews, price comparisons, features, and other aspects of any product you are looking to purchase. Wait for sales for additional savings and discounts. A little research and timing can save big on a purchase.

10. Start small to save big. Starting with some small steps, you can easily find the money to pay for life insurance.

 

The hardest part of any change is getting started. Once you do, things usually start to fall into place, the process becomes much easier, and you can begin to recognize the positive impact it has on your life.

Fool’s Gold-What your employer did not tell you.

Many people think that their employer is supposed to provide ALL their family’s benefits, including life insurance coverage for the employee, and maybe even life insurance coverage for the spouse and kids.

Here are some TRUTHS behind group life coverage thru work:

You don’t own it.  The company you work for owns it.

You don’t control it.  Has an employer ever changed their benefits plan? Did they consult you first?

You don’t get to take it with you. Will you work at this job forever?

Insurance Tip: Sit down with an agent and figure out the exact amount your need to cover your family correctly.  This is YOUR responsibility NOT your employer’s. Make sure you cover 10-12 times your income OR 5 times your income + paying all your debts.

As always if you would like to review all your options call or email and we can talk over the phone or set up a face to face meeting.  We are here for you!

Contractor’s Insurance? Yes we can help!

Combining insurance coverage in one policy generally leads to a better value, and we help contractors every day create an attractive insurance package for helping insure their small business.

For contractors–primarily HVAC, landscapers, painters, plumbers, electricians, carpet installers/carpet cleaners, we have a policy that is especially attractive.

A lot of insurance “brokers” offer just liability insurance for contractors, but our policies include tools and equipment and more.

For example, our policy even covers theft of a contractors’ supplies.  For example: a HVAC company buys a new furnace or AC puts it in their shop.  The shop is broken into and the unit is stolen.  If they have our policy the first $3,000 of protection comes automatically, but you can increase it up to $100,000 of coverage.

The protection doesn’t end there.

A lot of contractors work out of a den or third bedroom in their house, but a typical homeowner’s insurance policy won’t cover anything to do with a business.  If there is theft, water or fire damage, our policy covers $2,500 automatically, and it can be increased if needed”

The convenience factor is huge.

If a contractor has company vehicles, a lot of insurance carriers have separate liability for commercial vehicles, a separate policy for tools and equipment,  a separate general liability policy, and a separate worker’s compensation policy.  What we can do is package it all together; we can also provide them a contractors bond if they need that too.  We keep in all in house so they have 1 central point of contact for all their insurance coverage.

Does the best coverage for your business matter to you? Of course it does! Call 816-795-5977 or email jolson3@farmersagent.com today to see how we can help you customize the best package and lowest premium for your business.