Tag Archive | insurance

Top 10 U.S. Business Risks for 2014

According to the “Allianz Risk Barometer,” a survey from Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE, the top 10 U.S. Business Risks are:

  1. Business interruption, supply chain (61 percent)
  2. Natural catastrophes (58 percent)
  3. Fire/explosion (24 percent)
  4. Loss of reputation, brand value (17 percent)
  5. Cyber crime, IT failure, espionage (15 percent)
  6. Intensified competition (12 percent)
  7. Quality deficiencies, serial defects (10 percent)
  8. Environmental changes (10 percent)
  9. Changes in legislation and regulation (10 percent)
  10. Market stagnation or decline (10 percent)

Loss of reputation or brand value joined the top 10 list, and was the fourth ranked business risk as cited by U.S. companies.  Cybercrime, including IT failures and espionage, were No. 5. Those rankings were lower for non-U.S. companies, which ranked cyber at No. 8 and loss of reputation at No. 6.

Source: Insurance Networking News


Powerful Driving-Safety Ad

This powerful and simple driving safety advertisement from the New Zealand Transport Agency will really make you think about speeding and will probably give you some serious goosebumps when you watch it.

From Mashable: the public-service announcement dissects an accident by freezing the moment before impact. A man who pulled out of an intersection too fast pleads for his life and that of his son. The request falls on deaf ears, though. “I’m going too fast,” replies the driver of the oncoming car. The point: Other drivers make mistakes, too, so be careful.

Take a look for yourself:

Be careful out there and make sure you think of others first before yourself when you’re running late for that party, for work, or wherever else you’re trying get to. Give yourself plenty of time so that you’re not putting yourself in the situation where you feel the need to speed.


Minimum Wage Increases for 2014

As of December 1, 2013, 14 states, including California, have announced an increase in their minimum wage rate. In addition to California, these states are: New York, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Employers in these states should review their employees’ wage payment rates and update their minimum wage poster requirements as necessary to ensure their compliance with state regulations.

Here are the 2014 minimum wage rates for all of these states:

2014 Minimum Wage Rates-JK

New High-tech Auto Theft Device Showing Up In The U.S.

From Long Beach, CA to Chicago, IL, thieves with no keys are breaking into automobiles with mysterious new high-tech hand-held box device. It appears this is the latest high-tech crime tool as cars have become “rolling computers.” Check out this news piece from CNN which was originally published on 6/21/13.

According to the California Highway Patrol, there were more than 700,000 auto thefts nationwide in 2011, with 156,796 occurring in California, the most for any state.

It’s important to know what to do if your vehicle is stolen. Here are a few suggestions:

1 – The best offense is a good defense. Consider purchasing comprehensive car insurance, which covers your vehicle if it is damaged in anything other than a collision. This includes auto theft, vandalism, floods, hailstorms and fire damage.

2 – Contact police immediately if your vehicle is stolen and file a report. The chances of recovering a stolen vehicle decreases as time passes.

3 – Be sure to have the following information when filing a claim with your insurance carrier:

  • Policy number
  • When and where you last saw your car (date, time and location)
  • Year, make and model
  • Vehicle identification number
  • License plate number
  • Police report number

4 – Be sure to list any additional valuables that were in your car at the time it was stolen.

5 – Offer photos of your car, if possible, to the police and your claims adjuster.


There Is Always Someone Who Will Do It Cheaper

I saw this photo and caption surfing my LinkedIn home page, so I don’t know who to give credit to on this one, but had to share. I think pretty much any human can identify with this one:


This totally reminds me of the insurance industry, especially personal auto insurance. Every commercial you see on TV is along the lines of “give us 15 minutes and we’ll save you 15% on your car insurance.” Or, “you can save hundreds on your car insurance.” 

Well, maybe you can, but at what costs when you actually need the coverage? Instead of looking at the bottom line only, know what value you’re getting on what you’re buying. I don’t care if it’s the sprinkler repair guy, rain gutter installation, home remodeling, or insurance, is cheaper always better in the long run? Or, just more time, money, and headaches in the future?

Don’t believe everything you see from the surface. Have a need? Talk to a friend and see they have had a good experience with someone they can recommend. Then you can have the peace of mind knowing you’re getting the best VALUE for what you’re buying.

My go-to quote from Oscar Wilde sums it all up: “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing”


Be Stocked and Ready For Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a nationally recognized day celebrated on November 30th when millions of consumers spend billions of dollars at independent neighborhood shops and restaurants. In anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, find out what every Main Street business owner needs to know and do to stay safe, grounded and be ready for the busy holiday season provided by Travelers Insurance Company.

Here are some nice resources provided by Travelers Insurance Company touching on the following risk management topics. Be sure to click on the links for each of these topics to learn more:

Store Safety Tips (Workplace Safety | Slips, Trips, and Falls | Fire Safety | Ladder Safety | Ergonomics)

Business Continuity (Why You Need a Business Continuity Plan | Create A Business Continuity Plan in Four Steps | Identifying Business Threats | Employee Communications and Considerations)

Supply Chain Management (Tips for Managing Your Supply Chain | Working With Overseas Suppliers | How To Identify Counterfeit Parts | Have An Inventory Backup Plan)

Cyber Threats (Employee Training | Cyber Safety Tips | Password Security | Business Continuity For Data Management | Incident Response Plan)

You can contact me for additional information or if I can help you in developing risk management plans for your business.


The Cost of NOT Buying Insurance. A True Story

Last week I got a phone call from a guy (a business owner) who sounded totally panicked. I could hear it in his voice immediately. Panicked about the need for workers’ compensation insurance. The conversation started casually,

“Um, yeah, we need a workers’ compensation insurance policy to cover our employees.”

We talk for a bit as I try to get an understanding of his current situation.

“Well it was something we kind of, um, overlooked over the past couple years.”

“Past couple years?” I ask. “So why are you suddenly looking for a policy now?”

Still no direct answer.

“Have you had any claims or losses in the past 3 years?” I ask.

I didn’t need to ask much more.

“Yes, I received notification from an attorney about a former employee of mine.”

The business, a retail bakery, received a letter from an attorney in the mail. It turns out a former employee who quit over a month ago dropped a bomb with a claim for cumulative trauma to the feet, back, neck, knees.

So here this business is at a point with a serious issue to contend with. They didn’t buy workers compensation insurance policy when they first hired employees. Their reasoning was they just didn’t want to incur the costs and figured this could never happen to them.

As an insurance resource partner, I hear this way too often from prospective clients trying to save money on insurance. Not just for workers compensation insurance either. This is for all lines of insurance like general liability, errors & omissions, property, etc.

Buying a workers compensation policy now will not do anything to help this business for a loss that has already occurred. You cannot buy a workers compensation policy with retroactive coverage. That’s like buying a health insurance policy after getting sick. This retail bread bakery is going to have deal with this claim on their own, without the support of insurance.

As if the day-to-day stress of operating a business isn’t enough, throwing this claim into the mix is sure to make things much more challenging from both a time and cost standpoint.

It doesn’t end here. In addition to handling this claim on their own, finding workers compensation insurance coverage at a reasonable cost moving forward with a standard carrier is going to be pretty much impossible. Any underwriter who sees a business with active employees and no insurance for over two years AND a claim?? No way. Costs now will be more than they would have ever paid if they secured insurance before they hired new employees.

Another potential problem this business could face is:

“It is a criminal offense for an employer to be unlawfully uninsured regardless of whether or not an employee is injured. California Labor Code Section 3700.5 specifies that it is a misdemeanor punishable by either a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year, or both. In addition, the state issues penalties of up to $100,000 against illegally uninsured employers. If an employee is injured, the employer is responsible for paying all benefits and may be subject to additional liability.”

So I ask you business owners out there, are you avoiding buying insurance because you feel it costs too much? Are you one of those who think a loss will never happen to you?

Well I recommend you think again. If this scenario isn’t enough to get you to think twice, there’s probably not a whole lot more that will. Put yourself in this business owners shoes. How much do they wish now that they were paying a workers compensation premium over the past two years for a policy to help now when they need it most?

It will be interesting to see how things pan out for this business, but one thing’s for sure, this mistake could put them out of business for good depending on the ultimate severity of the claim.

Can you afford to not carry insurance? The cost of not buying it in some form or another could be the demise of your business and livelihood depending on the severity of a loss.


Underground Mansion on Sale for $53 Million

This Southern California underground mansion, located in Rolling Hills/ Palos Verdes, is just over 4 miles from my office in Torrance.

“Over 50,000 square feet with 9 bedrooms, 25 bathrooms, outdoor clay tennis court to French Open Specifications, indoor tennis court to US Open Specifications, complete with neoclassical details, stunning murals & capable of conversion to a 350 attendee ballroom, orchestra & full catering facilities; Indoor & Outdoor swimming pools ; Staggering underground Moroccan-style baths; unimaginable panoramic views encompassing the beaches, West Side, the Hollywood Hills, downtown Los Angeles & the San Gabriel Mountains; 24-hr guarded/gated estate community & multiple property surveillance cameras & breach sensors; Tranquil & exceptionally aromatic manicured grounds that include jetliner views, aligned marble fountains, a bocce court, rose garden, a wide selection of herbs, wild flowers & orchards that produce 24 varieties of fruit & nut trees.”

Holy crap.


Why Are My Insurance Rates Going Up??

As we’re halfway through 2013, many businesses are finding their insurance premiums increasing at renewal. This is mostly the case for workers compensation insurance here in California.  We’re certainly seeing this for a majority of our clientele regardless of their industry or loss history. Calls come in asking, “why the hell is my premium going up?? I don’t have any losses and I’ve been a loyal customer paying my premiums on time for years and years.”

The property & casualty (P&C) insurance market cycle is cyclical to some extent like the real estate market. It’s characterized by periods of soft market conditions, in which premium rates are stable or falling and insurance is readily available, and by periods of hard market conditions, where rates rise, coverage may be more difficult to find and insurers’ profits increase.

The P&C insurance market has been soft over the past 6-7 years, but beware, that’s starting to change.

A driving factor in the P&C insurance market cycle is intense competition within the industry. Premium rates drop as insurance carriers compete vigorously to increase market share. As the market softens to the point that profits diminish or vanish completely, the capital needed to underwrite new business is depleted. In the up phase of the cycle, competition is less intense, underwriting standards become more stringent, the supply of insurance is limited due to the depletion of capital and, as a result, premiums rise. The prospect of higher profits draws more capital into the marketplace leading to more competition and the eventual down phase of the cycle.

The chart below shows the real, or inflation-adjusted, growth of P&C net written premiums over more than three decades and three hard markets. This chart uses net written premiums, which reflect premium amounts after deductions for reinsurance transactions.

Insurance Market Cycle

During the last three hard markets, inflation-adjusted net premiums written grew 7.7 percent (1975 to 1978), 10.0 percent (1984 to 1987) and 6.3 percent (2001 to 2004).

If you’re renewal premium is going up, contact your independent insurance broker to discuss ways to help curb the costs. If you’re not getting the service you expect from your broker, contact me and we can discuss your situation and review ways to find a resolution.


Credit: Insurance Information Institute

6 Reasons Why Businesses Should Use One Broker For ALL Insurance Needs

  1. It’s more CONVENIENT to call one office…..don’t waste your time calling several brokers to see who handles a service or claims issue.
  2. It’s LESS EXPENSIVE: think about multi-policy discounts and avoid buying the same coverage twice from separate brokers.
  3. It’s SIMPLER with combined billing statements
  4. It provides SECURITY to know your Account Manager has reviewed and coordinated all your policies to avoid “gaps” in your insurance protection.
  5. Feel COMFORTABLE knowing your insurance agent knows you personally
  6. It enhances CLAIMS VALUE by charging one deductible or consolidating claims with one adjuster if multiple policies are involved.



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