"An insurance policy may have a good price, but poor value."

- John H. Connors

WINTER 2014 AMONG THE COSTLIEST

With still a few weeks of winter to go, insured losses from severe weather are estimated at $1.5 billion, and that covers only two of the four storms in 2014 so far, according to the Insurance information institute.  This compares to the $2 billion for storm losses in all of 2013.

Insured losses from winter storms include roof collapses, downed tree limbs and power lines, burst pipes from freezing and auto claims.  Businesses also suffered from closings and interruption, as well as transportation delays.  In all, over 175,000 claims have been paid to policyholders during those first 2 storms.

While most of these claims usually occur in the northeast or mountainous regions of the U.S., the severe cold this winter has also affected millions of homes and businesses in the south, many of whom were unprepared for such extreme conditions.

Severe winter weather, including snow, sleet, freezing rain, extreme cold and ice damage, is the third costliest natural disaster, behind hurricanes and tornadoes.

On a good note, Baseball’s Spring Training is already underway, with the Red Sox set to defend their World Championship title beginning March 31st in Baltimore.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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UPDATE ON AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

The Treasury Dept. and IRS recently issued their final regulations, implementing the employer responsibility provisions under the Affordable Care Act, which will take effect in 2015.

The final regulations will simplify employer-reporting requirements.  If employers choose not to offer insurance to their employees, these regulations will make employers share in the insurance payment responsibility beginning in 2015, in order to help offset the taxpayer costs of these non-insured employees to obtain affordable health care through the Health Insurance Marketplace.  This policy change will obviously affect employers and small business owners:

Small Business; defined as businesses with fewer than 50 employees, are not obligated to provide coverage or fill out any sort of forms in 2015.  Small businesses make up approximately 96% of all employers.

Large Business; defined as businesses with 100 or more employees, are obligated to offer at least 70% coverage in 2015, phasing upward to 95% in 2016 and beyond.  Those large businesses that do not properly cover its employees will need to make employer-responsibility payments in 2015.  Large businesses make up approximately 2% of employers.

Moderate-Sized Business; defined as businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, need to report on their workers and their coverage in 2015, but will not be applicable for an employer-responsibility payment until 2016.  Moderate-sized businesses make up approximately 2% of employers.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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FROZEN PIPES AND OTHER ICE AND SNOW DAMAGE

Your pipes freeze and burst, damaging your home.  Do you have coverage?  Most homeowners insurance policies, except for the very basic ones, cover damage to the home resulting from broken pipes due to freezing.  For example, your insurance company will pay to clean or pay the cost to replace the carpet, furniture and other property that has been damaged due to the water from bursting pipes, less your deductible.  For those with renters insurance, damage to your personal property from the water due to the burst pipes would be covered.  If the damage is so extensive that you can’t stay in your apartment, your insurance company will pay your additional living expenses as well.

What if the frozen pipes break at your business?  Is your office equipment covered?  Yes.  The coverages are similar to those for homeowners and renters policies.  Your insurance company will cover your business equipment losses, as well as the cost to repair the pipes and any other repairs associated with it, if necessary.

What about snow and ice buildup that causes leaks in your roof?  We refer to this condition as an ice dam, and it is not covered under every policy.  To obtain coverage for this kind of leakage, not directly the result of damage to the roof by wind or the weight of ice and snow, you would need an “All – Risk” type policy, commonly referred to as an HO-3 or special form policy.

What if you have a claim? How do you go about submitting a claim for your damages?  First, take immediate steps to prevent further damage and contact your Independent Insurance Agent.  They can verify your coverage and give you instructions for preparing your claim.  Generally, you’ll be asked for repair estimates for structural damage and a list of items that will need repair or replacement.  Depending on the amount of damage, an appraiser from the insurance company may need to see the damage.  As with any claim, make sure to keep all your receipts.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent with The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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TEENS MISSING THE POINT OF “DESIGNATED DRIVER”

U.S teenagers recognize the importance of using a designated driver to get home.  The problem is, that person isn’t always sober.

According to a recent survey conducted by Liberty Mutual, about 1 in 5 teens say that it’s fine for their driver to have some alcohol or use drugs, as long as that person isn’t too impaired to drive.  “Teens seem to think that unless they’re really falling-down drunk, that it’s OK for them to drive,” said Dave Melton, managing director of global safety at Liberty Mutual.

More than 10,000 people were killed in collisions involving drunk drivers in 2012, accounting for 31% of all car-crash deaths that year.  Around 18% of fatal crashes involved intoxicated motorists between the ages of 16-20.

The Insurance industry and Students Against Destructive Decisions, (S.A.D.D.), are calling attention to risky behaviors by young people.  1 in 10 teens claim to never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but admit to taking the wheel after having a drink.

In a separate study of bar patrons last year, 40% of designated drivers say they consumed some alcohol. Designated drivers, if I remember correctly, are supposed to abstain from alcohol.

Kevin Connors is a Certified Insurance Counselor and licensed Property/Casualty and Life Insurance Agent at The Connors Insurance Agency in Mechanicville, NY.  Mr. Connors can be reached at (518)664-7307 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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