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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: 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 of CB Insurance

Despite the last few days of chilly, rainy weather, this winter will go down as one of the driest in Colorado’s recent history.  Already Colorado has endured several small to mid-size grass and forest fires.  As we get into the summer and fall, chances are we’ll be at even greater risk for wildfire.  Wildfires start small (think Hayman fire), but can grow rapidly in size and intensity. There are some simple things you can do to protect your home and reduce the probability of a total loss from such an event.  Chubb Insurance has a comprehensive wildfire protection checklist on their website, click here to view the complete list.  Some of these ideas include:

  • Keep your roof and gutters clean from leaves and other debris
  • Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your home
  • Trim tree limbs to 15 feet off the ground and maintain a 15 foot distance between tree crowns (more…)

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