Posts Tagged ‘CB Insurance’

ImageBy Steve Schneider, President, CB Insurance

It’s that time of year when new jewelry will be gifted and new artwork, antiques and other collectibles purchased. Every year, collections grow, yet new purchases are often never added to the insurance policy. 

So, here is a suggestion: Take out that new I-Phone and snap a picture of those purchases you wish to insure. Set up an electronic file with the picture, description of the item, any unique qualities to the stone, along with current valuations. New items will often come with such a description—or you can seek the guidance of a professional to assist you (see below).  Keep your file updated and set an annual “task” to review this list and to send any changes to your insurance advisor.  

And—speaking of appraisals—how does one go about finding an appropriate expert to establish a proper value for fine jewelry, artwork, and other important collections?  Chubb Insurance recently published helpful hints for hiring an appraiser, and this information is linked here for your review: https://www.chubb.com/personal/tipsAndTools_Valuables.jsp

A quick overview:

  • Obtain a recommendation from a trustworthy source, such as a reputable dealer or collector and look for professionals who are members of regarded professional organizations, such as the Appraisers Association of America, American Society of Appraisers, or the International Society of Appraisers
  • Evaluate the level of experience of each appraiser. Is this professional new, or well established in their field?
  • Ask for a professional resume and ask for references
  • Always confirm the fee structure upfront. Fees should be based on an hourly, daily, or set rate, and never based on the value of the appraised item

A little work completed before the claim can save you from tremendous headaches (and heartache) after the claim. 

Steve Schneider can be contacted at Steve.Schneider@CentralBancorp.com


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Contributed by Steve Schneider, President, CB Insurance

ImageThe hail storm has passed…now what? It is difficult to determine from the ground whether roof damage has occurred. Most times, a professional roofing contractor is required to make that determination. The roofer will look for “bruising” of the asphalt shingle, granule loss or damage to the edges of the shingle, and actual penetration or holes. For tile and wood shake roofs, the contractor will look for splitting or cracks, and can often repair the individual shingles, rather than a full roof replacement. You may find shingles lying around your property, which is a good indicator that a more in-depth inspection is needed.

Damage to automobiles is easier to spot and—in many cases—easy to fix. Should you have damage to your car, contact your insurance agent to discuss the next steps. This will usually entail taking the vehicle to two or three reputable auto body repair facilities for estimates. Be patient, as your insurance carrier will be swamped with storm-related calls and may take up to 48 hours to contact you. Your agent should be there to assist you if your insurance carrier becomes unresponsive.

Finally, large hail storms will attract “storm chaser” roofing contractors. Be very careful here because most are not experienced roofers and will be very difficult to track down should their workmanship be poor. Most are uninsured, creating additional liability exposures for you as a homeowner. Always work with your agent and insurance carrier to find reputable roofing contractors.

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Contributed by Ron Johnson, CEO, Central Bancorp

In my mind there are three major reasons why local is better — well, at least GREAT local is better. As reflected in our recent “Local Money” advertising campaign, we are firm believers in building and supporting our community. We make great strides to work with and support local businesses.

Why the big deal about local? Here are my top three reasons:

– Doing business with companies headquartered in faraway places can slow down decisions. Working locally shortens the decision making process by miles.

– Similarly, we are of the belief that any good business owner needs good advisors. Getting face time with decision-makers is key. We call it access – and no one should go without it.

– Finally, working with regional or national firms essentially means we are sending our money away to grow OTHER communities. So if you can find a local firm (not in financial services only, but in any sector) that can deliver the same product or service in the same fashion as a national or regional, then the math just makes sense to do business locally.

Our promise to those local companies that choose to do business with us? Well, it’s quite simple: quick decisions, access, and a constant reinvestment into YOUR community.

Check out the recent ads

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Contributed by: Steve Schneider, President, CB Insurance

Because they are more likely to travel, own second homes, host fundraising and other events in their homes, and drive expensive vehicles; affluent families and individuals have greater exposure to loss. Personal insurance for the affluent, such as homeowner’s, personal auto, and coverage for valuables like jewelry, antiques, art, and gun collections, should be tailored to address these risks.

Specialized insurance programs tend to carry larger liability limits, higher deductibles, and broadened coverage than traditional insurance. Insurance companies specializing in the affluent market offer tailored coverage such as guaranteed home replacement cost coverage, ensuring that special features of the home are replaced with like kind and quality.

The review process itself should be approached like a business insurance review. The first review can feel a bit overwhelming, but it’s critical to understanding our clients’ exposures to loss in order to provide comprehensive solutions. I always emphasize the need for comprehensive solutions based on my experience seeing affluent families targeted for fraudulent claims and higher reward demands.

Claimants can now easily research you online and determine with some certainty that you have financial means. There aren’t many secrets these days. A few clicks of the mouse, and claimants (and their attorneys) can determine occupations, organizations to which you belongs, social engagements you attended and the like. Claim demands will be higher; making the need for high limits of insurance all the more important.

Tom Kammerer, Sales & Marketing Manager for Chubb Personal Insurance, stresses the importance of working with brokers and carries with this type of experience in affluent insurance coverage.

“Sometimes it takes a poorly-handled claim to make people see they need specialized help,” says Kammerer. “For our clients maintaining their lifestyle after a significant loss is important. Large, custom-built homes can take well over a year to replace. After large losses, we work with clients to help them find accommodations, replacement cars and other important personal affects they enjoyed prior to their loss.”

To protect from huge potential loss and headaches, the affluent should go through a review with their insurance broker and carrier once a year. High-end insurance carriers should delve deeply into client practices and ask questions about domestic staff (gardener, nanny, etc.), central alarm systems, valuable articles, and more.

So, yes, there is a difference when it comes to insurance for the wealthy! And I’d advise you not to wait and learn that lesson the hard way.

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Contributed by Steve Schneider, President, CB Insurance

This year has been a catastrophic one – and who pays for all of the damage and destruction we have been inundated with from Japan to Joplin?

Recently, one of our national insurance carriers announced a second quarter loss of over $350 million,  much of which was driven by the devastating storms of this past spring.  Total losses incurred by this company alone from these catastrophes were well over $1 billion, with an active hurricane season projected for the coming months.  Other insurance carriers have reported similar loss trends.  So how will this impact YOUR insurance renewal costs in the future?

A few pundits are predicting large increases, particularly in property lines of coverage and workers compensation.

We don’t share this broad-brush view for three simple reasons.

  1. Insurance carriers and reinsurers continue to sit on large capital reserves, even after said storms, earthquakes and floods.
  2. Competition is increasing with new players in the market, including small regional insurance companies, which continue to hunt for market share at the expense of large national carriers thus keeping rate increases in check.
  3. The demand for insurance, as measured by increases in client sales, payrolls and higher limits purchased, remains muted by our economic malaise.

Ultimately we see large amounts of capital chasing smaller and fewer insurance clients, which basic economics tell us will stunt significant increases in rate over the coming quarters.

Carriers are reporting roughly a 2% average rate gain, and while we will advocate on behalf of our clients for a better outcome, those insureds with poor loss history, poor risk management practices, or those located in storm-prone areas will likely face unpleasant renewal negotiations this summer and fall.

And my hedge – all bets are off should this hurricane season turn really ugly or we see the economy slip back into deep recession.

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Contributed by Todd Morris, VP Commercial Lines, CB Insurnace

In today’s economy it has become commonplace for companies to use independent contractors.  However, there is new legislation outlining the requirements to qualify as an independent.  It is critical that business owners correctly determine whether individuals providing services are employees or independent contractors and then have the correct documentation in place.

Colorado wage law defines an employee as any person, including a migratory laborer, performing labor or services for the benefit of an employer in which the employer may command when, where and how much labor or services shall be performed.  An individual primarily free from control and direction in the performance of contracted labor or services and who is customarily engaged in an independent trade, occupation, profession or business related to the service is not an employee.

Our current administration has begun to crack down on misclassified, independent contractors who they believe are actually employees.  The courts, U.S. Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, Colorado Division of Employment and Colorado Division of Labor may consider many different facts in making the determination of whether an individual is an independent contractor or an employee.  However, all these agencies will use three main categories in that determination:

  • Behavioral control
  • Financial control
  • Type of relationship

For more information on how to determine if an individual is an employee or an independent contractor go to www.irs.gov.   If, after searching for information to help with the determination, it is still unclear, then you can download and submit the SS-8 form.  The government will review the information and provide the correct status.

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Contributed by Steve Schneider, President, CB Insurance

For the first time in two years, we are seeing some improving trends with the sales and payrolls reported by our clients.  That’s good news after several quarters of severe declines.  While some clients continue their downsize, many we talk with are now planning for at least some growth in their business in 2011, while still keeping a strong eye on expenses.  We think the hiring of new employees on average will be limited, due to continued economic risk (and increasing health care costs), but expect some upward pressure on salaries for key employees who have weathered the storm.

Indeed, Travelers Insurance just reported sales and payroll growth over their small and mid-sized business insurance portfolio for the fourth quarter of 2010.  There is no doubt that chronic high unemployment will continue to be a drag on this recovery, but trends seem to indicate improvement from the low points of late 2009 and early 2010.

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