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What Is Your Insurance Agent Doing For You?

Engaging in any business requires the support of professionals who can guide you through the complexities and challenges of your industry. One such professional is an agent. They play a critical role in ensuring your success. However, not all agents are created equal. It’s important to know what your agent should be doing for you to ensure that they are providing the best service possible.

Educating You

Knowledge is power, especially in business. Your agent should be a source of knowledge and education for you. They should be able to explain the different aspects of your business, the market, and the industry as a whole. It’s their responsibility to ensure that you are well-informed and understand the details of your business. This not only helps you make informed decisions but also increases your confidence in your business operations.

Connecting with You

Communication is key in any relationship, and the one between you and your agent is no different. Your agent should be proactive in reaching out to you, keeping you updated, and being responsive to your inquiries. They should be available to answer any questions, concerns, or ideas you may have. The more connected you are with your agent, the better they can serve your needs.

Reviewing Your Risk

Every business comes with its own set of risks, and it’s your agent’s job to help you understand and manage them. They should be able to review your business operations and identify potential risks that could affect your business. They should also offer solutions or strategies to mitigate these risks. By doing so, they can help protect your business and ensure its longevity.

Looking for the Right Combination of Coverage and Price

One of the critical roles of an agent is to help you find the right insurance coverage for your business at the best price. They should be able to navigate the complex insurance market and find a policy that fits your needs and budget. It’s their duty to ensure that your business is adequately protected without overpaying for coverage.

Responding to Questions

Your agent should always be ready and willing to answer your questions. No question is too small or too big for them to handle. Whether you’re asking about policy details, claims, or changes in the market, your agent should provide clear, accurate, and timely answers. This not only helps you understand your business better but also builds trust between you and your agent.

Providing Great Customer Service

Last but not least, your agent should provide exceptional customer service. They should be friendly, approachable, and professional. They should also be proactive in addressing your needs and resolving any issues that may arise. Great customer service not only makes your business interactions more pleasant but also fosters a strong, long-lasting relationship between you and your agent.

An agent plays a crucial role in the success of your business. They should be educating you, connecting with you, reviewing your risk, looking for the right combination of coverage and price, responding to questions, and providing excellent customer service. They should be a partner in your success and not just a service provider. So, make sure to choose your agent carefully and hold them to these standards.

The Importance of Commercial Umbrella Insurance for Business Protection

In today’s litigious society, where multimillion-dollar lawsuits can arise from simple accidents or unforeseen events, businesses must ensure they have adequate protection beyond standard liability policies. This is where commercial umbrella insurance steps in, offering an additional layer of security that can be crucial for a business’s survival. Here’s why every business should consider adding commercial umbrella insurance to their risk management strategy:

  1. Extended Coverage Limits

What It Offers: Commercial umbrella insurance provides additional coverage when the limits of your underlying liability policies (like general liability, auto liability, and employers’ liability) are exhausted. For example, if a lawsuit costs $2 million to settle and your general liability covers only $1.5 million, your umbrella policy can cover the additional $500,000, thus protecting your business assets from being used to cover the shortfall.

Why It’s Important: Businesses often face risks that can result in claims exceeding standard policy limits. Umbrella insurance acts as a safety net, ensuring that a business isn’t crippled financially by a single incident. This is especially important in high-risk industries or those prone to large liability claims.

  1. Broader Coverage

What It Offers: Besides providing higher limits, commercial umbrella insurance sometimes covers claims that are not included in primary liability policies. This can include certain legal fees, contractual liabilities, and liabilities over business practices that may not be typically covered under standard policies.

Why It’s Important: The broad nature of coverage under umbrella insurance means that businesses can be protected against unforeseen gaps in their primary insurance policies. This comprehensive coverage is vital for peace of mind and continuous business operations, particularly in dynamic environments where unexpected legal challenges can arise.

  1. Cost-Effectiveness

What It Offers: Commercial umbrella insurance is generally cost-effective, especially compared to the increase in limits it provides. Premiums are relatively low because the umbrella policy only kicks in after the primary insurance limits are reached, which makes it a less frequently used policy.

Why It’s Important: For a relatively small additional cost, businesses can significantly increase their liability coverage. This makes commercial umbrella insurance an efficient way to boost total coverage without proportionately increasing insurance costs, providing substantial financial protection relative to the investment.

  1. Reputation Protection

What It Offers: By ensuring that claims can be settled fully and promptly, umbrella insurance helps in protecting a business’s reputation. Handling claims efficiently prevents negative publicity and maintains customer trust.

Why It’s Important: A business’s reputation is one of its most valuable assets. In the event of a large claim, having the financial backing to resolve issues swiftly and fully can help avert potential reputation damage, which can be costly and difficult to recover from.

  1. Peace of Mind

What It Offers: With umbrella insurance, business owners can have peace of mind knowing they are protected against catastrophic losses that could potentially bankrupt their operations.

Why It’s Important: Running a business involves managing daily risks. With the protection of an umbrella policy, business owners can focus more on growth and less on the potential for devastating financial implications from lawsuits.

Commercial umbrella insurance is an essential component of a comprehensive business insurance strategy. It not only extends the limits of existing liability coverages but also ensures broader protection, making it an indispensable safeguard for businesses aiming to secure their future against the uncertainties of high-cost liabilities.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself About Your Personal Insurance

Everyone needs some level of personal insurance. Most purchase auto insurance, homeowners or renters insurance, life insurance, and maybe personal umbrella coverage. There are some many choices that at times you may wonder which is best for you and your family.  We put together a list of questions you might think about as you consider your personal insurance. We always recommend you review your personal insurance annually to make sure it is still meeting your needs.

Do Agents Offer Something Different?

We would answer that as a yes because agents have access to different kinds of insurance companies, they offer you a choice and work to provide the best possible combination of coverage price and service. Agents are a small business whose goal is to look out after their clients.

If I Rent, Do I Still Need Insurance?

Renters should purchase renters insurance to protect their personal property like; furniture, guns, electronics, and clothes. Your apartment owner may also require liability coverage, which can be included in renters insurance. Renters’ insurance is very affordable and can be an effective way to make sure you are covered in the event of a loss.

Does The Type Of Vehicle Affect My Auto Premiums?

Yes. The make and model of the car you drive play a factor in your car insurance rates. The cost of your vehicle also makes a big difference; the more it costs to repair or replace your vehicle, the more you will pay to insure it.

Are There Auto Insurance Discounts?

Many insurance carriers offer lower rates to good students, military personnel and people with excellent credit. Ask your agent what discounts are available.

Will a Parking Ticket Affect My Auto Insurance Premiums?

Not usually. You can generally have one ticket on your history without it adversely affecting your premium.

When Should I Consider Life Insurance?

You might consider life insurance when you get married or start having children. Some employers offer a small amount of life insurance, but these plans generally are not enough. Life insurance can provide peace of mind to loved ones in the event of an untimely death of a breadwinner. Life insurance proceeds can be used to fund college, pay for outstanding bills, to supplement lost income for a period of time.

Life insurance premiums are at all-time lows, so it can be a very cost-effective financial planning tool.

Is A Personal umbrella Policy important?

Most of us engage in daily activities that put us in danger. Your danger of being sued increases if you own a car or an automobile. Many Americans only purchase vehicle liability insurance for $300,000 and homeowners’ liability insurance for no more than $300,000. A personal umbrella policy can give you an extra $1 million in liability protection.

I Am Remolding My Home. Do I Need To Adjust My Insurance?

If your insurance is written on a replacement cost basis, there may be no need to make adjustments, but we always recommend you contact your agent to review this question. The answer depends on the kind of work you are doing. For example, if you are replacing your carpet with a similar product, you may not need to make any changes in your policy. But if you are adding a 500-foot addition on to your home, then this would definitely require adjustments in the value of your home.

For example, say your insurance valuation is based on a kitchen with laminate countertops and generic cabinets. But then you spend $60,000 on granite countertops, custom cabinets, and top-of-the-line appliances. Would your existing coverage be sufficient to rebuild your remodeled kitchen after a loss? Most likely, you would have an issue.

Before entering any renovation project, contact your agent; they can help you identify which areas may require insurance updates.

I Have A Home-Based Business. Should I Get Additional Insurance?

Homeowners or renters insurance policies do not cover any business risks. If you run a business out of your home, we recommend you purchase a business insurance policy. If you have customers in your home for business purposes, your home insurance does not provide any coverage.  Depending on the type of business, coverage may be added to your existing homeowner’s policy through a rider or endorsement.

I Just Bought A Personal Watercraft. Is That Covered?

Unlike small boats, personal watercraft are not generally covered by your homeowners. This would include; bodily injury to you, an uninsured watercraft operator causing that. The legal costs if you’re sued due to an accident.  And any damage to the personal watercraft you own.

 

How Agents Should Serve Their Customers

In today’s fast-paced business world, providing excellent customer service is more important than ever. With so many options available to consumers, businesses must strive to provide exceptional service to keep their customers happy and loyal. Here are four keys to customer service that can help businesses stand out in a competitive marketplace:

Listen to your customers:

The first key to great customer service is listening to your customers. When customers feel like they are being heard and understood, they are more likely to become loyal customers. Make sure you are actively listening to your customers, whether they are complaining or praising your business. Respond to their concerns and provide solutions to their problems. This will show your customers that you value their feedback and are committed to providing excellent service.

Be responsive:

Customers expect businesses to be responsive to their needs. When customers reach out to your business, whether it’s through email, social media, or phone, respond as quickly as possible. Even if you don’t have an immediate solution to their problem, let them know that you are working on it and will get back to them as soon as possible. Being responsive shows that you care about your customers and are committed to providing excellent service.

Personalize your interactions:

Customers appreciate personalized interactions with businesses. When you personalize your interactions, you show your customers that you care about them as individuals, not just as customers. Use your customers’ names when you communicate with them, and remember their preferences and past interactions with your business. This will help you provide a more personalized experience that will make your customers feel valued and appreciated.

Go above and beyond:

To truly stand out in the marketplace, businesses must go above and beyond to provide excellent customer service. This means anticipating your customers’ needs and providing solutions before they even ask. It also means providing unexpected perks and rewards to show your customers that you value their business. Going above and beyond can help you build strong relationships with your customers and turn them into loyal advocates for your business.

In conclusion, providing excellent customer service is essential for businesses that want to stand out in a competitive marketplace. By listening to your customers, being responsive, personalizing your interactions, and going above and beyond, you can create a customer service experience that will make your customers feel valued and appreciated.

How To Get The Most Out of Your Home and Auto Insurance

With the beginning of a new year, it is important to review your home and auto insurance policies to ensure you are getting the most out of them. To begin this process, here are some questions you should ask when reviewing your policies; “What is and is not covered with my policies?”  “Do I need to add any new family members or vehicles to my policies?”  “What are my deductible amounts?”  “Am I taking advantage of all available discounts?” “Is my coverage adequate enough to cover a loss should I have one?”

The following information will help guide you through some of these key questions for getting the most out of your home and auto insurance.

  • Review Your Policy- Make Sure You Are Aware of What Is and Is Not Covered

It is essential to review your home and auto insurance policies to make sure you are aware of exactly what is and is not covered. Different policies cover different things, so it is best to read the entire policy to understand what is included. Depending on where you live and the type of coverage that you have purchased, there may be certain geographical limitations or exclusions related to certain types of damage such as flooding or earthquakes. Additionally, many policies will also list out any items that are not covered under your policy such as high-value items like jewelry or expensive electronics. By understanding exactly what is and is not covered with a policy can help prevent any unpleasant surprises if something were to happen down the line.

When reviewing your current home and auto insurance policies, it is also important to consider additional optional coverage that could be beneficial for you in 2023. This will be based on your changing needs or circumstances – especially when it comes to new vehicles added over the past year. Optional add-on coverage options can provide extra protection from specific risks not otherwise provided by standard coverage, like roadside assistance packages or rental car reimbursement, should an accident occur away from home. It is always worth considering these additional coverage options since they often come with minimal cost, but they can offer tremendous peace of mind knowing that all bases are covered should anything unfortunate arise during 2023!

  • Add Any New Family Members or Vehicles to Your Policy

Adding any new family members or vehicles to your policy is a crucial step in getting the most out of your home and auto insurance.

If you have purchased a new car, it is important to include it on your policy as soon as possible so that you can enjoy the full benefits of coverage right away. Typically, this involves providing details such as make and model information, VIN numbers, and registration data. These details will ensure a smoother process when adding a vehicle to an existing policy!

For any newly added family members (spouse/children), you may need to update certain aspects of your policies, such as personal liability limits and increased medical payments should they be involved in an accident. It is also worth considering adding them onto the same auto insurance plan since doing so often results in discounted rates due to economies of scale associated with multi-car policies.

  • Check Your Deductibles To Make Sure They Are Still Appropriate

When reviewing your home and auto insurance policies, it is important to check and make sure that the deductibles are still appropriate for your needs. Having a deductible that is too low can put you at risk of losing out on potential savings if you need to file a claim. However, having a deductible that is too high could leave you facing hefty costs in the event of an accident or damage. It is best to review the amount of deductible currently listed with each policy and compare it against any changes in your financial situation over the past year. If either has changed significantly, then it may be worth considering adjusting deductibles accordingly, so they better reflect current circumstances while also allowing for maximum savings when filing claims down the line.

Ultimately taking advantage of all applicable deductions can help ensure adequate coverage while keeping costs manageable throughout 2023 and beyond.

  • Confirm That You Are Taking Advantage of All Available Discounts

It is advisable to investigate available discounts as well when checking deductibles since these could help lower overall premiums further. It is important to make sure you are taking full advantage of all the discounts available when it comes to your home and auto insurance policies. Some of these may include discounts for having multiple policies with one insurer, being a part of certain organizations like alumni associations or professional societies, or even having certain safety features installed in your vehicle. Taking advantage of any applicable deductions can offer significant savings on premiums while still providing adequate coverage should something unfortunate arise during 2023!

It is also worth confirming if there are additional discounts that could be applied towards specific coverages such as roadside assistance packages or rental car reimbursement should an accident occur away from home. Additionally, many insurers now offer preferred driver discount programs designed to reward safe driving habits with discounted rates, so even if you have been involved in a few accidents over the past year—this could still provide some relief when it comes time to renew your policy in 2023. Ultimately exploring all potential deductions and discounts before signing up for new policies each year can help ensure maximum savings while also protecting yourself and your loved ones against unforeseen risks throughout the year.

  • Review Your Coverage Limits To Ensure They Are Still Adequate

It is important to review your coverage limits and ensure they are still adequate for your needs. This means confirming that the amount of liability protection you have is high enough, as well as any other coverages such as medical payments or rental car reimbursement should an accident occur away from home. It is also worth considering increasing these limits if possible since doing so can often result in lower premiums due to economies of scale associated with higher-value policies. Also, having adequate coverage offers more peace of mind knowing that greater financial protection is available against unforeseen risks during 2023.

 

What’s In Your Policy?

Homeowners don’t always review their policies until they have a claim. Only to discover that their coverage isn’t what they expected. That is why it is critical to understand what you are paying for. We believe it is important to understand what you are purchasing. So let’s start with this overview.

Here are a few of the coverage you need to consider. So what’s in your policy?

Are you covered for flood loss? 

Most basic homeowner’s insurance policies exclude flood coverage. A separate flood insurance policy is required, which can be acquired through the National Flood Insurance Program. Your agent can assist you.

Do you know your deductibles? 

You will be responsible for a deductible if your house and goods are harmed in a covered loss. Your agent can tell you the amount if you don’t know.

Do you have ACV or replacement cost coverage?

Actual Cash Value (ACV), which reflects depreciation, and Replacement Cost (RC), which is what it costs to replace the item today, are the two ways claims are settled. Ask your agent if you’re not sure what you have.

Have you considered a personal umbrella policy? 

Umbrella insurance is a type of personal liability insurance that covers claims in excess of regular homeowners, auto, or watercraft policy coverage. Get a quote today.

Our agents will give you great service and the products you require, whether you need to safeguard your car and home, want insurance for the contents of your apartment, or need a general umbrella policy for peace of mind. We take satisfaction in providing personal insurance coverage that safeguards your most valuable possessions. We want to make sure that your insurance coverage covers your most important people and resources.

Oakwood is involved with numerous local, state and national insurance associations and communities. The agency encourages employees to devote time to these endeavors. Oakwood’s approach is one of total risk management, encompassing the areas of property & liability insurance, automotive insurance, worker’s compensation, professional liability, individual or group accident & health insurance, life insurance, contract surety bonds, and personal insurance. Oakwood provides an in-depth range of insurance products and services to assist in securing our clients’ future. We are an agency committed to excellence, founded on the principle of integrity.

The best way to solve a problem is to first understand it. To understand a problem involves asking questions, reviewing agreements, and visiting the facility or business. We believe that a professional agent must do more that merely issue insurance on the client’s behalf. Besides determining and placing proper coverage with reputable insurance companies, we seek to educate our clients on coverage and to reduce, or transfer risk to the insuring company, and working closely with management team to protect and preserve assets.

Personal Umbrella Insurance

Many people are unsure what an umbrella policy is or what it covers. When you are outside, and there is a light rain or breeze, you generally don’t need or want an umbrella. However, if it is pouring down rain with high winds, you take your umbrella. An Umbrella Insurance policy works much the same way.

Umbrella Insurance provides extra protection or limits above the liability insurance you currently have. Just as an umbrella protects you from heavy rain, an Umbrella Insurance policy protects you from losing the entirety of your wealth and assets in the event of a claim. Umbrella Insurance can provide limits above your personal auto and home policies. Umbrella insurance is also competitively priced.

It is true that Umbrella Insurance may not be for everyone, but if you are building financial resources for your future, are a professional, own your home, boat or recreation vehicle, you should consider an Umbrella Insurance policy. Insurance offers Umbrella Insurance with very competitive rates. Having the added protection of an Umbrella Insurance policy is coverage no one should go without.

Umbrella insurance provides broad insurance beyond traditional home and auto. It provides additional liability coverage above the limits of homeowners, auto, and boat insurance policies. It can also provide coverage for claims that may be excluded by the primary policies.

When You May Need An Umbrella Policy

  • Having rental property
  • Owning a Boat, RV, or ATV
  • Have a high net worth
  • Owning a business
  • Having teen drivers
  • Own a swimming pool, trampoline, or swing-set

In addition, the umbrella may cover things like volunteer activities, statements made online, and certain business activities that a homeowner’s or auto policy might not cover.

Why Work With Our Insurance Agency?

  • We know and understand your risks
  • We are a full-service independent insurance agency
  • Our goal is to provide the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service.

 

Five Things People Should Know About Insurance

For many people, insurance can be difficult to understand.  Most people know that insurance is needed, but often they do not fully understand what they are buying or if they are properly covered.  That is why it is important to have an insurance agent on your side.  A good agent will help you determine what your insurance needs are, educate you about your options, and help you understand the specifics of the insurance you are buying.

Here are five things that you need to know as you consider your insurance options.

  1. You cannot add coverage for a claim that has already occurred. For example, if there is flooding in your area, you cannot buy flood insurance during an event.
  1. Coverage gaps can be costly. Having a gap or lapse in coverage can be costly. Always pay your premiums on time, or ask for a grace period from your insurer.  You will end up paying more if you have lapses in your policy.
  1. Insurance is not intended to cover everything. Insurance is designed to provide financial recovery after an accident or unforeseen loss. Every policy has exclusions which are important to understand. Remember, insurance is not intended to cover regular maintenance.
  1. An agent can be a valuable resource. A licensed agent can help you find the best possible combination of coverage, price, and service that fits your individual needs. A good agent will be willing to answer any questions you may have and be there for you when a claim occurs.
  1. Do not skimp on liability insurance. The cost of litigation these days underscores the need for everyone to have an adequate amount of liability insurance.  The greater your assets are, the greater your need is to have your assets covered.  To protect yourself and your family financially, buy enough liability insurance on your auto and home insurance policies to cover above your net worth.  We can help you determine how much coverage your individual needs require.

 

The Future of Risk

Business Insurance Trends

The business insurance world is changing at a fast pace. Technology is continually evolving and businesses must change or die. New technology also brings a change in claims and litigation. Often lawsuits filed today are indicators of business liability claims tomorrow.

Business Insurance

Business or commercial insurance coverage is available for almost every conceivable risk your business might face. The cost and amount of coverage of policies vary among insurers.  Also, the type of business you are in also impacts cost and coverage.  You should discuss your specific business risks and the types of insurance available for your business with us.

Future Business Insurance Risks

Intellectual Property

This is one of the fastest-growing areas of litigation. The average defense cost in 2019 was over $500,000. With more information being disrupted over the internet, claims are sure to increase. Intellectual property insurance coverage protects companies for copyright, trademark or patent infringement, and claims arising out of the company’s operation.

Cyberattacks

Recent news that Russian cyber thieves stole billions of passwords should create heightened awareness about the risks and need for cyber insurance. The problem, Munich Re explains, stems from the fact that “most traditional property and liability policies provide no cover for cyber risks” although there still may be a duty to defend until such time as coverage is determined.

Social Media

Social media is becoming popular with many businesses, and this increases the liability risks. The combination of personal use and business use combined with privacy laws increases the risk to the business of being sued by employees and other third parties. There is a definite increased risk of defamation, libel, and slander for firms who don’t outsource the service.

Directors & Officers Liability

Most business owners don’t believe they can or will be sued despite statistics that show otherwise. The latest number by Chubb Insurance Company shows that about 20% of firms have been sued for directors and officers negligence. Claims can be made by shareholders, regulators, family members, customers, vendors and competitors.

 

How Our Agents Help Save You Money On Your Personal Insurance

Our team of agents works very hard to make sure your premiums are as competitive as possible.  There are many ways in which we help our clients keep insurance costs down.  We also believe that it is equally important to have the right kind of coverage that meets your needs at a competitive price.

Are you paying too much for your personal insurance?  If you believe you are paying too much for your current insurance coverage, then the following suggestions may help you save money:

Auto Insurance Savings Tips

Ask about discounts

Most insurance companies offer discounts.  While the availability of discounts will vary depending on your insurer, where you live, and whether you meet eligibility, make sure to ask if there are any discounts you can take advantage of.

Drive safely

OK, this one is obvious but true.  Drivers with no accidents, tickets, or insurance claims, almost always pay less for their auto insurance coverage.

Good grades

Most insurance companies offer discounts to student drivers who have good grades.

Remove or reduce coverage on older vehicles.

If your car is getting up there in age, you may want to think about dropping the collision or comprehensive coverage (or both) on your policy.

Bundle your services with one agent

Bundling your home and auto with the same agent often provides efficiencies in time and money.

 

Home Insurance Savings Tips

Raise your deductible

A deductible is the amount of money that you are responsible for paying toward an insured loss.  The higher your deductible, the more money you can save on your premium.

Make your home more secure

Invest in a home security system.  Having a smoke detector, burglar alarm or deadbolt locks on your home can earn you a 5% discount, depending on your insurer.

Bundle your insurance

Bundling auto and home insurance with the same company typically saves you 5% to 15% on your homeowners premium, according to data from the Insurance Information Institute. Again depending on your insurer.

Make improvements to your home

Updating your roof, furnace, water heater, or windows can help reduce your insurance cost.  If you’re a homeowner, your premiums could be quietly costing you more money than they should.  The good news is that insurers provide relatively easy-to-obtain discounts that can shave money off your homeowner’s insurance premium.