Posted on July 21, 2016
Unless you’ve been off the grid for the past few weeks, chances are you’ve heard of the latest smart-phone craze Pokémon Go. With over 7.5 million downloads in its first week, Pokemon Go is one of the most popular games ever to span multiple age groups. (more…)
Posted on June 09, 2016
A new month means a new insurance coverage highlight! With all the different insurance policy options for your business or home, it’s hard to know just what you need as part of your risk management plan. One coverage that is universal to everyone’s plan is the umbrella liability policy. It may sound like just an extra expense your agent is trying to sell you, but it’s a coverage that if needed can really make a financial difference.
So, what is an umbrella policy? It’s an extra layer of coverage that- like in an umbrella in a rainstorm – sits over your liability policies. (more…)
Posted on May 04, 2016
Companies need to identify, manage and prevent risk in order to maintain a sustainable business. Business insurance has long played an important part of helping companies in a key area of risk management, risk financing. And while insurance can still help businesses transfer potential risk, it isn’t the only reason why companies should create a relationship with an insurer.
Traditional Role of Insurance
Companies use risk management strategies:
- As a way to identify significant risks
- To assess the potential of a risk event occurring
- Employ risk control or risk financing strategies
- Determine the amount of damage a risk event may cause
Risk control is a method companies use to eliminate unacceptable risks as well as prevent future risks. Risk financing strategies is ensuring a loss can be covered when they occur, usually by transferring that risk to an insurer or other third party.
Evolving Role of Insurance
Originally, insurance companies created products based solely on the idea that companies purchased policies as a way to transfer risk. However, with the advancement in the science of risk management, a company may be able to use certain insurance policies for other reasons. Other benefits for obtaining insurance products include:
- Putting a joint venture partner at ease
- Easing the mind of a customer
- Government regulations
- The ability to work with claim-handling experts
- Receive cash flow benefits
Risk financing is only one benefit you can receive from corporate insurance. Contact the experts at AW Welt to learn how insurance products can help your company with your evolving risk management needs.
Posted on October 01, 2015
Today, October 1st, marks the official deadline on EMV card changes for retailers. EMV, which stands for Europay, Mastercard, Visa, is a secure payment technology used throughout Europe since 2005 but newly introduced to the U.S. It uses a small computer chip embedded in a credit card rather than the magnetic strip to provide a more secure transaction at a credit card terminal. Unlike the static information held by the magnetic strip, the chip provides dynamic authentication information which changes for each transaction making it more difficult to counterfeit. This is good news for consumers who use credit cards for in-store purchases, but for a majority of retailers it may mean investing in new terminals that can read the new chip.
So, why should retailers be concerned? After today, businesses that do not have EMV reading terminals will be held liable if fraud occurs on an EMV-ready credit card; not the credit card company. As more magnetic strip credit cards are being replaced with cards fitted with the EMV chip, it’s important for retailers to begin investing in new terminals, whether purchased or leased, if they haven’t already. The cost of new terminals may not be cheap, but in comparison to potential losses, very much worth the expense.
A few key items to remember:
- Magnetic strip-only cards can still be used/accepted. Banks and credit institutions are still working to send new cards that are EMV-equipped. However, that does not mean retailers should wait to update their terminals.
- EMV technology will have no effect in online purchase security. The dynamic authentication chip only offers protection for in-store transactions through an EMV reader. Consumers should continue to only enter their credit information in secure, reputable sites.
Posted on July 27, 2015
Summer is in full swing and that means firing up the backyard grill. But, before you do, keep in mind these tips to stay safe while using a propane or charcoal grill:
- Always check the propane tank hose for holes, cracks or leaks before use.
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak while in use, turn off the grill immediately.
- Any grill suspected of having a leak should be serviced by a professional before future use.
- If a leak does not stop, get away from the grill immediately and call 911.
- Only use starter fluid designed for charcoal use. Never use gasoline or non-approved flammable liquids.
- Do not apply starter fluid to charcoal that has already been ignited.
- When finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing of the ashes.
- Coals and ashes should be disposed of in a metal container.
Summer grilling season is a great way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends, as long as you do it safely.
In 2007-2011, fire departments responded to an average of 8,800 home fires caused by grilling with $96 million in direct property damage.
Posted on June 25, 2014
In 2013, there were 7 weather and climate disaster events with losses over $1 billion EACH across the U.S. – five from severe weather and tornadoes, one major flood event, and the western drought & heat wave.[i] No one can control what the weather will do in your area, so it’s important to make sure you and your family are prepared.
Creating a family communication plan is essential to every disaster plan. Your family may not be together when severe weather strikes, so it’s important to plan ahead on finding safe shelter, getting in contact with each other, and a plan to get you back together. Ready.gov has created some helpful templates on creating a communication plan for you and your family: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/34330.
Building an Emergency Supply Kit:
The need to seek shelter in your safe spot can come a moment’s notice, which means you won’t have time to gather up items to take with you. Building a disaster kit well in advance of impending severe weather can make it easy for you to have the supplies you need in the event of a disaster. For a list of recommended items to include in your kit, download the Emergency Supply List from FEMA: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/90354. Be sure to check your kit often and replace any items that have been used.
Severe Weather Preparedness:
When a severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for your area it means that storms are likely to occur due to favorable atmospheric conditions or storm tracking. As long as the weather in your area is non-threatening, check to make sure any loose outdoor items are put away or secured to minimize damage or loss. Once a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued that means dangerous weather has been reported by spotters or weather radar and it’s time to consider moving to your safe spot with your weather radio. If you are outdoors when severe weather is approaching, seek shelter indoors immediately.
The week of June 22-28 marks Lightening Safety week. With the spring and summer storm season already off to a busy start, it’s important to remind ourselves of the dangers associated with lightning.
First of all, there is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. If you can hear thunder then it’s likely you are within striking distance of the storm and it’s time to seek shelter indoors. Substantial buildings and hard-top vehicles are safe options, whereas rain or open park shelters, small sheds and open vehicles are not. Wait 30 minutes after you hear the last rumble of thunder before resuming your outdoor activities.[ii]
We hope you and your family stay safe during this severe weather season – having an emergency plan in place and educating your family on severe weather safety are important steps to doing so. Regular review of your safety plan is key to make sure everyone in your family knows and understands what to do in a severe weather event. As always, AW Welt Ambrisco is here to help! Whether you’re looking for more information on creating a weather safety plan for your family or business or you need to file a damage claim, we are just a call or click away! (319) 887-3700 www.awwelt.com.
Posted on May 02, 2014
What do you think is your most important asset? Your home? Your car? Family heirlooms? Most people who think about their assets immediately think of tangible items. But the truth is, your most valuable asset isn’t something you purchase or inherited – it’s your ability to earn a paycheck. Makes sense when you think about it, right? Without your paycheck you would probably have a hard time paying for your house, your car or much else for that matter. So what are you doing to protect your most important asset?
You purchase insurance for your home and car, why wouldn’t you consider insuring your paycheck with disability insurance?
A majority of Americans, 68%, say most people need disability insurance, but only 30% actually have it, according to a 2013 LIMRA research study. Why are so many people convinced disability insurance is important, but only 1 in 3 have it? For one thing, the possibility of becoming disabled sounds extremely remote to many people. Certainly those in high-risk jobs (farming, law enforcement, manufacturing, construction, etc.) have a higher likelihood of suffering a disabling injury than someone in an office setting; but, the truth is, everyone has a 3 in 10 chance of experiencing a long-term absence from work (3 months or more). That’s because 90% of those absences are not a result of injury but illness.
Since disability insurance is such an important coverage for you to consider, the Life Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated toward education on financial responsibility, has dedicated each May as Disability Insurance Awareness Month. Visit the AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance DIAM webpage or follow us on Facebook or Twitter all month long to learn more about the importance of disability insurance in your financial plans.
It’s time to protect your paycheck!
Posted on April 18, 2014
‘Tis the season for vacations and that means rental cars for many people flying to their destinations. But before you hop in that car, make sure you take steps to ensure that you’re covered if any problems arise. Don’t Breeze Through the Pre-Inspection You’ve just landed and you’re already tired from the flight and just want to get to your hotel, but before you drive that car off the rental lot, take a few minutes for your vehicle pre-inspection. You may not think that little paint scratch on the door is a big deal now, but that could come back to haunt you when your vacation is over. If the company you’re renting from does not offer the pre-inspection make sure you ask for it. Most credible car rental agencies will have you fill one out before they let you drive off the lot. Sure you’re anxious to get on with your day, but taking the extra time to look over your vehicle and noting any damage or defects now could save you a future headache. If you have the opportunity, consider taking photos of the vehicle before and after your rental contract. Having extra documentation could help if any issues come up. Rental Car Insurance – Do I need to buy it? The best time to make the decision about whether you will need extra rental car insurance is before you’re standing at the car rental counter. It’s not uncommon for rental car agencies to offer you the opportunity to purchase additional auto coverages, but do you need them?
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), relieves you of financial responsibility if your rental car is damaged or stolen. If you have comprehensive and collision on your own car, you most likely do not need to purchase CDW from the rental car agency.
Additionally, your credit card company may include some collision and theft protection if the rental car is paid for with your card. This includes coverage for “loss of use,” which refers to the amount of money a rental car company can stand to lose while a car is being repaired. If your credit card doesn’t offer coverage for loss of use, you may want to consider purchasing CDW from the rental agency.
- Liability insurance provides excess liability coverage of up to $1 million for the time you rent a car. Rental companies are required by law to provide the minimum level of liability insurance required by your state. Generally, this does not offer enough protection in a serious accident. If you have adequate liability coverage on your car or an umbrella policy on your home/auto, you may consider forgoing this additional insurance.
If you don’t have comprehensive and collision coverage on your own car, you will not be covered if your rental car is stolen or damaged. It is also important to check that your coverage level is enough to cover the complete cost of the replacement value of the car you are renting – especially if you plan to rent a luxury vehicle or a substantially newer vehicle than yours. If you have questions about your current auto coverage and how it would apply to a rental vehicle, talk to your AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance agent! We can review your coverage limits to make sure you have the right level of coverage in place.
Posted on February 28, 2014
With the deep freeze we’ve been under this winter, it’s hard to imagine that temperatures will warm, all that snow will melt, and spring will arrive – but it will! And with that melting in addition to the typical Iowa spring storms, comes the potential for flooding. With current frost depths at 2 to 3 feet as a result of the “polar vortex,” periods of rapid snow melt and any additional rain will runoff into streams and rivers rather than being absorbed into the soil. (National Weather Service, 2014) We all hope that we won’t see devastation like that of 2008, but it’s important to remember that even mild instances of flooding can cause significant damage to your home and property.
Flood damage is not covered under a standard homeowners or property policy. A separate policy is needed to cover losses such as structural damage and debris clean-up costs that result from flooding. Additional policies to cover the contents of your home (furniture, clothing, jewelry, etc.) can also be purchased.
30% of flood claims are filed by people living in moderate-to-low flood risk areas.
Many people assume that the U.S. government will cover financial needs in the wake of flood damage. However, federal assistance is only available if the president makes formal disaster declaration. Those federal funds are then treated as a loan which in-turn have to be repaid, plus interest. Having a flood insurance policy means you’ll be reimbursed for covered losses and unlike federal aid, it never has to be repaid. In general, a flood insurance policy has a 30 day waiting period before taking effect. Therefore, it’s important to plan ahead instead of waiting for an immediate threat to apply for coverage – by that point it will be too late.
Currently, The National Weather Service in its first Spring Flood Outlook report issued on February 20th shows Eastern Iowa in a “Near or Slightly Below Normal” flood risk. Though we have had above average snowfall, that snow’s moisture content has been below normal – something to thank the frigid temperatures for – and current soil moisture levels are also below normal levels. Hopefully that means we’ll be in good shape heading into spring – but we still need to be cautious; heavy spring rains can still pose a risk so it’s good to be prepared. Remember, there is a 30-day waiting period for a new flood insurance policy to take effect so don’t wait until it’s too late!
Posted on October 11, 2013
First of all, welcome to our NEW risk insights blog! For those of you who are already subscribed to our quarterly newsletter, you’ll find this blog an active continuation of the risk management tips and news articles we include there… but with a more personal touch! (for those who are not signed up for our newsletter you can subscribe from our website: https://www.awwelt.com/newsletter.)
So, what can you expect to read about? Anything and everything related to insurance coverage and risk management. Whether you’re a homeowner, renter, business owner, HR manager, benefits administrator (the list could go on and on!) you’ll find something catered to your needs and questions; perhaps even the ones you haven’t even thought of yet!
Risk presents itself very differently to each person, business, or situation that’s why we want to take a more proactive approach in sharing our knowledge, life lessons, and coverage availability with you! If you have questions or some topics you’d like us to address here let us know – after all, this is just one more avenue in which all of us at AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance are with you each step of the way.
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