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Make sure you communicate with your agent for extended absences from you home.   See the article below.

How Your Home Insurance Can Vanish Overnight.

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According to Insurance Journal, State Farm filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Insurance after TDI publicized recent rate hike proposals on their website.

Shhh...

Looks like the "good neighbor" doesn't want to share with the whole class

Shhh… Let’s not tell anyone about the rate increase…

The suit seeks to protect  certain information relating to rate  proposals  from being disclosed.  These rate hike proposals filed over the past eight months will  increase homeowner premiums an average of 13%.  (I guess it’s more profitable to spend millions on legal fees than to pass these dollars on to their policyholders… ha).

And we certainly don’t want anyone to know we overcharged by $310,000,000!

Additionally, in November of 2009, TDI ordered State Farm Lloyds to refund a total of $310,000,000 to policyholders after finding that the insurer had overcharged customers beginning in 2003.  That’s a lot of zeros on the end of that number!

So much for transparency in pricing! 

Perhaps a healthy bit of skepticism is in order?

Hey the reality is that all insurance companies are there to make a profit for their shareholders which is fine as long as you go into this with your eyes open.  Take a proactive approach and evaluate your options for home and auto insurance.  Carriers typically cycle in rates for a variety of reasons.  If you’ve been with the same carrier for more than 3 years, chances are you are leaving money on the table.

The payday for evaluating options…

Case in point:   Phil, a good friend of mine who I’ve known for 32 years.  (OK, there will be a small break in the penning of this article as I try to figure out the exact point at which I became my father…) was with State Farm for 10 years.  Never had a claim, just kept sending them money every year.  He decided to have Inspire Insurance Solutions take a look and was able to get more coverage and get this… save $857 a year!  Pretty good return on the 20 minutes it took him from start to finish.

Maybe it’s time to have Inspire take a look at your home and auto policies.  Call us at 512-257-3773 or you can go to Austin insurance to fill out the online quote form.  (We can write homes anywhere in Texas).  Also, remember to share this with the whole class and pass it on to two friends.

I’ve always wondered how the consumer might benefit if just a little of the hundreds of millions in advertising budgets were redirected into the “servicing” areas of the insurance industry…

Connecticut Fines GEICO $178K.

Chris J. Baumli, CIC
Inspire Insurance Solutions, Inc.
Cedar Park Insurance

Time to change the batteries

The result of wrestling with a smoke detector at 3am

(Or in my case actually reinstall it).  Yes, I’m busting myself…  I pulled this out of the ceiling about 10 months ago when that devious little beep programmed to alert me that the battery is low started screaming at me at 3am. 

Of course I just happened to be right in the middle of the most magnificent slumber… You know, the kind where you’re smack dab in the middle of one of those blissfully sublime dreams:  Laying on the beach in Bora Bora (having just won the lottery, naturally), while sipping some refreshing coconut-smelling concoction with obligatory umbrella, all while my beautiful wife is telling me how smart and amazing I am and that she would find me sexier if I would only watch more football! Wait a minute… where was I?  Oh right… Risk Management tips!

So for all of my “smoke-detector-neglector” brethren, do yourself a huge (and easy) favor. Change the batteries this weekend.  Protect your blissful slumber and more importantly your family!

Note to aforementioned beautiful wife–(that part of the dream is actually true!  Yea me!):  Honey, we can add the NFL network to our cable package if you insist 🙂 )

Do your neighborly duty and pass this along to  at least two of your friends to remind them to change their batteries.  Also make sure you subscribe to this blog to get periodic tips on protecting your family and business.  Inspire Insurance Solutions is an independent insurance broker with access to over 100 carriers and routinely saves people money on business, home and auto insurance.  Get a free rate quote at Austin Insurance or call us at 512-257-3773. We can save you money anywhere in Texas.

In Texas, the host of a party can incur severe liabilities in the event that a guest gets intoxicated and then, heaven forbid, injures themselves or someone else because they got behind the wheel. Make sure you take precautions to prevent drinking and driving incidents.

Have a safe holiday season!

A couple of simple ways you can avoid these liabilities are:

  •  Outsource the serving of alcohol. It’s a great idea to hire a bartender or catering company, who has undergone TABC training. Not only can this help limit the amount served, but the bartenders are trained to spot if someone is intoxicated and take appropriate measures.  Make sure they carry general liability and liquor liability coverage. It’s a good idea to have them name you as an additional insured on these policies. (Some policies will allow this, but this is not always an option).   
  •  Designated drivers made easy! Remind guests to use a designated driver in the invitation and as they are leaving the party.  There are services such as Zingo who will have a driver ride out to you on a foldable motor scooter and then drive you home in your own car. Rates for this are $20 plus a couple bucks for additional miles. You can call them 30 minutes before you’re ready to go at 877-OK ZINGO.  That’s 877-659-4646 (OK, I translated this because it took me about a 45 seconds to decipher and dial the number at 10am this morning because I got the “O” and the zero confused so dialed the wrong number…  I then had visions of some exuberant partygoer fumbling with the numbers trying to spell ZINGO on their blackberry in the middle of the night…)  
  • Don’t over-serve your guests and don’t let someone drive who is visibly intoxicated.  You don’t have to be a party Nazi to make this happen, just pay attention and if someone is over their limit call them a cab or find them a designated driver.
  • Insurance is a last resort!  Insurance (risk transfer) and is not a substitute for trying to prevent, avoid and reduce any risks… especially this one.  Even though most General Liability policies for businesses and most homeowners policies do provide some “host” liquor liability coverage” it is often limited and in the case of a homeowners policies the limits are typically way too low.  This is not a road you want to go down so take some simple steps to avoid and prevent these risks!  

With a little bit of forethought and awareness, we can all help prevent some potentially disastrous things from happening. Please pass this on to two friends as a reminder to be safe this holiday season and subscribe to this blog for more tips and ideas on how to protect your family and business. If you have questions feel free to shoot me an email at cbaumli@inspire-insurance.com or go to Austin Insurance.

About Us

Chris J. Baumli, CIC

Chris J. Baumli, CIC

Chris is a Certified Insurance Counselor with Inspire Insurance Solutions in Cedar Park, Texas. He educates entrepreneurs and families on affordable risk management strategies as well as helping them secure the optimal insurance programs.

He lives in Austin with his wife, five (yes five) kids,and two “manly” Chihuahuas named T-Bone and Bodhi. If you’ve found this post helpful, please share with your friends and colleagues that you like and hide it from the ones you don’t! Chris can be reached at (512) 257-3773 or cbaumli@inspire-insurance.com.

Inspire Insurance Solutions, Inc. is an independent insurance agent with access to over 100 A-rated carriers. In addition to shopping your coverage to find you the best alternatives for your business, home and auto insurance, Inspire Insurance Solutions will take the time to understand your needs and prescribe the insurance solution that is perfect for you, not the insurance company! Call us at (512) 257-3773 or get an online quote at www.inspireinsurancesolutions.com.

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