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Archive for the ‘Commercial Property Insurance’ Category

Flood Insurance Maps in New Jersey

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Flood insurance takes 30 days to put into effect. So start now if you want it when you need it.  Try our site for quotes.  Click here, fill in what you can, and we will help you get a quote. (Remember to fill in the security code at the bottom.)

Here is a link to the new flood insurance maps in NJ. This uses National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) data (part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA).

While we can’t guarantee these maps, because we don’t control the site, they have been useful to us in counseling clients.  There have been winners and losers in the new maps; some New Jersey areas have been moved to lower risk designations, many have moved to higher risk and higher costs.

With new maps in place, individuals whose property was damaged by Hurricane Sandy now know how high they have to raise their property to qualify for lower rates.

But keep an eye on rate changes.  While the FEMA/NFIP program states that prices will rise under caps, the caps come off when you make certain changes.  That’s when you see the headlines about people whose flood insurance rate has gone up 100% or even 1,000%.

If you have questions, need some advice, want to change agents, or need to start a flood policy, please give us a call at 1-800-548-2329, extension 117.   Para Español, ext. 110

Tropical Storm headed toward you?

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Insurance companies prohibit adding or starting property coverage when named storms approach. A tropical storm is approaching the Atlantic coast of the US. If you want property coverage, if your coverage is inadequate, act now.

If you need help in with New Jersey insurance coverage, call us today. 1-800-548-2329. or http://www.GBWinsurance.com

If you want flood insurance, it may be too late for this month, but you should get started if you want it before September.  Hurricanes in the Northeast peak late in the season.

Limitations on CGL coverage for Pollution

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In a harder market, insurance carriers raise prices. That’s pretty obvious. They also restrict classes of business they write, and tighten underwriting for new and existing clients.

Less obviously, carriers may change coverage. They can do that by changing forms for entire classes. In Personal Insurance that usually requires regulatory approval and a process to notify clients. In Commercial Insurance, failure to properly notify clients will guarantee litigation against the carrier.

But action on a single client can slip by the attention of the client and their broker.  We expect underwriters to try to put in coverage restrictions for clients who have had a number of losses, or a serious loss.  But some underwriters have introduced coverage restrictions in anticipation of losses, after a period in which the coverage has been provided.  If the underwriter does not signal the change, and the broker and client do not catch it, trouble can start for all three.

A note from the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI) made us think about some recent examples of restrictions on pollution liability.

One of our recycling clients was hit with a much more restrictive form for their main location.  The carrier is a solid national company but our client had suffered a number of small property losses (non-pollution) and the the carrier wanted to tighten up its exposure.  After a lot of discussion, we went to another carrier to regain most of the lost coverage, at a slightly higher price.  Not a great outcome, but better than the original renewal offer.

In another case, an individual underwriter at a carrier put on a very restrictive form, without reducing the renewal price, and didn’t tell us or the client.  That we caught because we have been getting more paranoid about coverage.  After some “forthright” discussions, we got the coverage back, though at a higher price.

IRMI uses the example of a large insured where an underwriter introduced an absolute pollution exclusion to the CGL without telling the client or broker.  The insurer removed the exclusion when requested.

Poor execution in imposing coverage restrictions can harm insureds, carriers, and producers.  As in almost any risk management case, restrictions in coverage are a problem; an unexamined risk can be fatal.

If you’d like to talk about coverage restriction problems, give us a call at 1-800-548-2329.

If you’d like to sign up for IRMI’s free newsletter, use the link below.

http://www.irmi.com/newsletters/irmi-update.aspx

Flood Insurance – Hurricane Season Coming Soon

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The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) sent us this warning/outlook for flood insurance 2013.   In summary, another tough hurricane season forecast, which means more  flooding.  And flood insurance takes 30 days to get in place.  (Click here for our flood insurance page and quick quote page.)

Hurricane Season Outlook 2013
Experts are calling for an active Atlantic hurricane season, which means it could also be an active flood season. In their annual spring forecast, Colorado State University Meteorologists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray predicted 18 named storms, 9 hurricanes, and 4 additional major hurricanes. They suggest there is a 96 percent chance a storm will hit the United States.
Hurricane season is the optimal time to speak to new and existing customers about flood insurance. The prospect of potentially damaging storms provides context for the flood talk, as it reminds consumers that flood risk is real. Homeowners still remember Hurricane Irene’s impact in 2011 and the destruction from Sandy last October. While flood risk is top of mind, you have an opportunity to target existing customers without a flood insurance policy and teach them how flood insurance can help them recover from a flood. For clients in a Non-Special Flood Hazard Area (NSFHA) who are within the “one mile buffer zone,” explain that floods don’t stop at a line on a map.
Show clients and prospects who don’t have flood insurance how they might be affected by hurricane season. Use the Flood Risk Scenarios tool to illustrate how tropical storms and heavy rains can cause flooding. Remind them that if it can rain, it can flood. It’s also important to let your clients know that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods; instead, only flood insurance provides the financial protection property owners need.
Help your clients protect their assets by encouraging them to obtain flood insurance today. There’s a 30-day waiting period before a flood policy takes effect, so don’t delay in communicating this important message.

Insurance Company Financial Stability

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Insurance companies are rated for financial strength.  Why does that matter?

Insurance is a promise to pay future losses.  If the company does not have a future, no payments.  And some losses are going to happen years down the line.

Property losses tend to be settled shortly after they occur.  You owned a building, it burned, the value is usually relatively easy to establish, you are paid for the loss.  The solvency of your insurance company is not of concern because of time, but because property is exposed to catastrophic threats such as hurricanes, which might bankrupt a small insurance carrier which has not prepared properly.

Liability losses, especially large losses, are usually litigated.  That can take years.  If an insurance company becomes insolvent, that will at a minimum complicate and delay settlement and payment.  An insurance company which misestimates its average losses far in the future will be in trouble.

So, how do you assess the strength of your insurance company?  While states review the strength of insurance companies within their supervision, day to day the best measurement is available from private companies that specialize in rating insurance carriers.

Without getting into a long discussion of the relative merits of the rating companies, one of the best is A.M. Best.  Ratings run from A++ to F, with additional notes for the future (stable, negative, favorable).  Here’s a link to Best’s explanation of their financial strength ratings.    You can sign into Best for free to get basic rating information on most insurance carriers.  (Some decline to submit their results for rating.  Not a great sign about the company.)

Or call GBW Insurance at 1-800-548-2329 and we can give you the information.  We are also paid subscribers and are therefore able to access detailed information as well.  www.GBWinsurance.com

Prepare for disasters in advance

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Hurricane season for 2013 starts in less than a month.  Preparing in advance may take more time than we have before the next hurricane.  Or you may have a couple of years before the next major hurricane strikes you.  Either way, here are some locations for preparation advice.

Residential preparation: Click here for the DisasterSafety.org pamphlet on preparing for hurricane damage to homes.

Or go to this GBWInsurance.com link for more catastrophe preparation and response info and suggestions from Travelers Insurance and Hanover Insurance.

Business preparation: Click here for the DisasterSafety.org page leading to a full business recovery preparation program.  This is an excellent introduction to developing a step by step business recovery plan.  If you would like help with this or additional resources, call us at 1-800-548-2329 ext. 101

After two years of significant hurricane damage in the Northeast, we should all be on our toes about catastrophe preparation and catastrophe insurance (flood and windstorm).  The odds of another serious storm are exactly the same as they were in 2011 and 2012.

Fire protection – A Spring problem – Fire Insurance

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A cautionary note from our friends at the fire protection company, City Fire Equipment

It’s April and Spring is finally here! With the changing of the seasons, things in our environment are starting to change. There is actually one highly flammable substance in nature that only exists during this short time of the year. Can you guess what it is?

Answer: Pollen

Employees here have witnessed serious pollen fires before, so it is something to keep aware of in the next few coming weeks if you have pollen buildup on your properties. Be sure to sweep pollen away and into gutters and away from any outside electrical/mechanical machinery that produces any type of heat.

And remember, April showers, bring May flowers!

Kind Regards,

City Fire Equipment Co., Inc. (click here for the City Fire web site)

Or click here for property insurance quotes in NJ