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September 2018

In This Issue What Your Clients Need to Know Texans Not Prepared for Hurricane Season Most Expensive Causes of Home Damage 3 Factors That Increase Identity Theft Risk Parents Guide to Insurance for College Students

8 Smart Steps to Buying Life Insurance

Texas PIA P.O. Box 700877 Dallas, TX 75370 (972) 862-3333


In This Issue Texans Not Prepared for Hurricane Season

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What You Need to Know About the National Flood Insurance Program

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5 Most Expensive Causes of Home Property Damage

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Water Damage Prevention Tips

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10 Things Your Clients Need to Know About Wildfire

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Protect Yourself From Uninsured (and Underinsured) Drivers

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Senior Drivers: When is it Time to Give Up the Car Keys?

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Boating Insurance & Safety

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Clients Need Personal Umbrella Coverage

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3 Factors that Increase Identity Theft Risk

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The Parents Guide to Insurance for College Students

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8 Smart Steps to Buying Life Insurance

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What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Insurance

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The Four Ingredients Needed for Sales & Business Success

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Accountability: A Missing Piece in Many Agencies

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Texas News Round-Up

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David Gorman One of our most important roles as an independent agent is to be an educator. This month we focus on consumer -based information for you, your clients and prospects. We have all heard about the importance of content based marketing, and the best way to build your marketing content is with relevant and timely tips and guidance for the insurance consumer. PIA provides members a large and ever-growing library of consumer-friendly info papers designed to be shared with your client and prospect base in person and online. Just follow the links in this publication to take advantage of these resources. Of course this entire issue is also meant to be shared, so feel free to forward to your contacts, perhaps pointing out articles that you know will be of particular interest. At Texas PIA, we strive to educate the public on the many benefits of partnering with a member of the Texas independent agency system. Yours,

David David (Red) Gorman Office: 214-374-9997


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Texans Not Prepared for Hurricane Season The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, but we are just now reaching the statistical peak, which falls on September 10. With four storms already in the books, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a total of nine to 13 named storms this year. In spite of the lessons of Hurricane Harvey, a large majority of Texas residents are not taking the necessary steps to protect their property, according to a new poll conducted by SurveyMonkey on behalf of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). Although nearly 15 percent reported that their property was damaged in last year’s hurricanes, 72 percent have not taken any precautions in advance of this year’s hurricane season. Texas is second only to Florida as the most hurricane-prone state. But Florida residents are much more prepared for storms, with 64 percent reporting taking precautions for hurricanes.

So what should homeowners be doing NOW to prepare? •

Review insurance policies. FEMA indicates 80 percent of homeowners impacted by Harvey did not have flood coverage. Contact your agent about obtaining additional coverages, such as flood insurance.

Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves in plumbing to prevent backups. Consider hurricane shutters.

Be alert. Sign up for your community’s warning system. Watch for warning signs, such as heavy rain.

Have a plan. Based on your location, make your own plans for evacuation or sheltering in place. Become familiar with your evacuation zone, evacuation route and shelter locations. Practice. Gather needed supplies (including cash) for at least three days for each family member, including pets. Keep important documents in a safe place or create password-protected digital copies.

Resources Hurricane Harvey: Special Edition, Texas Connection, September, 2017

Consumer-Friendly Info Paper: Hurricane Preparedness (member log-in required)


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What You Need to Know About the National Flood Insurance Program The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has certainly been in the news recently. Millions of Americans woke up on July 31 not knowing whether congressional inaction would leave the flood insurance program they rely on hobbled in the height of hurricane season. Fortunately on that day, the U.S. Senate joined the House in passing a four-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), to November 30, 2018. President Trump quickly signed the measure into law. As a result, a lapse of the NFIP was averted by a matter of hours. Why has long-term authorization of NFIP been so elusive? A recent article by Jon Gentile, vice president of government relations for PIA National addresses the issues. In a nutshell, it’s been difficult to find agreement, and the tendency for Congress has been to postpose action absent agreement. It’s a tough issue to resolve. Allowing the NFIP to expire can never be an option, but multiple short-term extensions and short lapses in the program mean the real work of reform has yet to be done.

So what do homeowners need to understand about this program that clearly needs help? Don’t let the debate over the renewal of the flood program delay your purchase of coverage. There is often a 30-day waiting period for new federal flood insurance policies, so it definitely makes sense to buy a policy as soon as possible. Flood insurance is not included in your homeowner’s policy. As the United States’ most common natural disaster, both areas considered to be high risk and non-high risk have experienced flooding in recent years. Policies cover up to $250,000 in damages to the home’s structure and up to $100,000 for its contents. It is important to review policies carefully to learn what is covered and what is not. Flood insurance is also critical for businesses and commercial property owners. Flood insurance is critical for businesses located near a river, ocean, or bay, or in areas where major storms are common. The NFIP’s General Property Form covers commercial policyholders for up to $500,000. Talk to your independent agent. A professional has access to the latest flood insurance information and can help you assess your specific situation and coverage needs.

Consumer-Friendly Info Paper: About Flood Insurance (member login required)


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5 Most Expensive Causes of Home Property Damage by Denny Jacob, When you leave your home, there’s no guarantee that it will be there when you get back. Unpredictable accidents can happen at any time. Gas leaks, burst pipes and extreme weather can rain destruction on a home in minutes. And while homeowners’ insurance is a reliable form of coverage, certain events may fall under coverages. In a recent report from Travelers, researchers have identified the most common and costliest causes of home damage. The report examines eight years of Travelers’ national homeowners’ insurance claim data from 2009 to 2016 in order to inform clients about the biggest risks threatening their properties.

Source: FEMA News Photo

“By sharing the most common causes of problems we see, we hope people protect their most valuable asset,” Scott Humphrey, second vice president, risk control at Travelers, said in a statement. With this in mind, check out the five most expensive causes of home property damage. 1) Fire. (25%) Electrical, cooking, wildfire and other sources can put homes at risk for fire. 2) Hail. (20%) Hail typically damages roofs, but may also harm windows, siding and more. 3) Non-weather related water. (17%) Plumbing, sewer or appliance leaks and failures can create devastating losses. 4) Wind. (17%) High velocity winds can uproot trees, damage roofs, collapse walls or worse. 5) Weather-related water. (7%) Leaky roofs, frozen pipes that burst and ice dams can really take a toll.

Resources Consumer-Friendly Info Papers Post-Storm Safety & Clean-Up

Flooding, Snow Pressure & Snowmelt

Tree and Wind Damage


Creating a Home Inventory List

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Water Damage Prevention Tips

Water damage to a home can be expensive. Here are some simple prevention tips agents can offer clients. by Liana Roberts, Whether stemming from the weather or from inside the home — be it from water-connected devices like washing machines, dishwashers and refrigerator ice makers — even the smallest of leaks can cause big headaches for homeowners. How big? Beyond the frequency, the Insurance Information Institute found the average water claim runs around $10,000. Such losses also are getting more expensive, with incidents over $500,000 doubling and those over $1 million tripling since 2015. In addition, many people end up out of their homes for months due to required repairs, according to Chubb data. In other words, water is simultaneously a common, costly and stress-inducing risk homeowners can’t overlook. Fortunately for insurance agents, helping clients protect their property (and their financial investments) is simple. It starts with understanding how water impacts their homes year-round.

Summer travel woes Consider how many of your clients travel over the summer. Now ask how many leave relevant home protection information with caretakers. Per a recent Chubb study, just 30% and 17% of homeowners leave appropriate water leak and flood information with caretakers, respectively. Why the concern? Data from Paul Davis, a home remediation company, suggests that even a small tear in an ice maker line can result in more than 17,000 gallons of spilled water in a week — enough to fill a swimming pool. Imagine coming home to that!

Fall landscaping oversights According to the same Chubb study, roughly one-in-three homeowners (30%) believe improvements to their home’s exterior best impacts its value (the top home-related concern identified). The cooler autumn months are the perfect time to make these enhancements, but many common garden improvements invite new water risks. Whether adding a sprinkler system or outdoor kitchen, most clients fail to speak with their landscape architect about how these improvements alter their garden’s slope. As a result, water from the home’s exterior can run towards the home and seep into the foundation or basement. Over time, this can result in costly damage. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Winter pipe negligence Chubb claims data suggests that homeowners are 40% more likely to experience a water loss in the winter. Despite this, the study found that just 21% of homeowners install pipe insulation. Often costing just pennies to purchase, clients put thousands of dollars at stake by failing to take this simple action.

Spring TLC The season of cleaning often inspires clients to give their homes a bit of TLC. Yet, waiting until the spring means homeowners have often let a small problem grow into a larger (and more expensive) issue. The EPA, for instance, found that a leaky faucet, at one drip per second, can spill up to 3,000 gallons a year — roughly 57 gallons a week. Unfortunately, Chubb’s study found that close to 30% of homeowners take more than a week to fix a home maintenance issue.

Lend a helping hand Fortunately, there are several ways to educate clients on year-round water risk mitigation. No matter the season, start by suggesting they install an automatic water shut-off device. For the spring and summer, advise they: • • •

Inspect hose connections and water supply lines for wear and tear. Inspect and test fire sprinkler systems annually. Perform regular maintenance on major systems and appliances.

For fall and winter, suggest they: • • •

Install a back-up generator to ensure uninterrupted power to critical systems. Keep drains and gutters clear. Install low temperature sensors in unheated spaces.

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10 Things Your Clients Need to Know About Wildfire from Triple digit temperatures, low humidity and extreme drought conditions have led to numerous wildfires across Texas this summer. Help your clients escape the heat with these tips. 1. When do wildfires occur, and how often? Wildfires mainly threaten the western United States from June through September. Any area with drought conditions faces a risk of wildfires. The general frequency is 140,000 fires per year, and in 2016, 5.5 million acres were burned by wildfires. 2. What are the most common dangers of wildfires? The most common dangers wildfires pose are from the rapid spread of fire and burning embers worsened by strong winds. “Fire whirls” or “fire tornados” created by the intense heat and winds can hurl flaming logs and debris, destroying property and natural habitats. 3. How intense are wildfires? The risk and intensity of wildfires are scaled by the KBDI soil/duff (ground litter) drought index. Factors that influence the scores are maximum daily temperature, precipitation, prior precipitation, and annual precipitation. The drought index is organized as follows: • • • •

0-200 = Soil and fuel moisture are high; spring dormant season following winter precipitation. 200-400= Late spring, early growing season; low litter layers are drying and begin to contribute to fire intensity. 400-600= Late summer early fall; low litter actively contributes to fire intensity and will actively burn. 600-800 = Associated with severe drought with an increased incidence of wildfires; deep burning fires with downwind spotting can be expected, and live fuels will burn actively.

4. What kinds of damage do wildfires cause? Wildfires burn hotter than normal fires, and they can release the energy of an atomic bomb. Wildfires can sterilize soil and destroy forests, taking a century to recover. What some may find surprising is that most damage to homes is caused by windblown embers. Few homes in wildfire areas burn because of direct contact with flames. Because of this, fires will spread more rapidly in areas where houses are in close proximity to each other. 5. What safety and preparedness measures should I take? There are a number of preventative actions homeowners who live in at-risk areas can take. Homeowners can use non-combustible or fire resistant roofing material and treat wood siding, cedar shakes and wood paneling with fire-resistant chemicals as well. Make sure roofs and gutters are regularly cleaned of leaves and branches to avoid accumulation of flammable debris. Outside your home, remove tree limbs within 10 feet of stove or chimney openings, and keep a mesh screen over flue openings.


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6. What should I do if I’m in my home when a wildfire occurs?

Secure your home by closing windows and interior doors and turning off gas and appliances before you evacuate. Leaving your lights on will make your house more visible in heavy smoke. Prepare emergency supplies, including food and water, prescriptions, clothes, flashlights, batteries and any other essential items. If you have time, remove loose objects from your yard, including dead tree limbs and highly flammable items. Take important documents with you, like insurance policies, an updated home inventory, wills, deeds, identification and medical cards. If you have pets, bring their records too.

Lastly, respond to evacuation notices, and heed directions from emergency personnel. Follow a family emergency plan, if you have one, and if you see a fire, call 911; never assume someone else already has. 7. What should I do if I’m in my vehicle? If you are in your vehicle when you encounter a wildfire, stay in your car with your lights on and vents and windows closed as you drive to safety. If you are unable to drive your vehicle, get on the floor of your vehicle and cover yourself with blankets. Smoke and sparks may enter the vehicle, but it’s important to know that gas tanks rarely explode. 8. What should I do if I’m outdoors? If you are outdoors when a wildfire strikes, move as far from any fuel areas as possible. Try to cover yourself with any materials you can find to deflect heat.


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9. What equipment should I have?

If you live in a high-risk area for wildfires, you should have the FEMA and NOAA apps for fire warnings and alerts. Your home should be equipped with a ladder long enough to reach your roof, hoses, a bucket, a shovel and a rake. If evacuating, bring a prepared emergency kit of supplies that includes a flashlight, batteries, first aid kit, food and water, medicine, cash and credit cards, and sturdy shoes. If you are evacuating with pets, bring vaccination records, a carrier, a leash, and a muzzle if necessary. 10. What kind of insurance coverage should I have? A standard homeowners’ policy covers damage and destruction caused by fire, and that includes wildfires. A standard business owner’s policy includes fire damage as well. Note that it is critical for homeowners and business owners living in high-risk areas to keep an up-todate inventory of belongings in case disaster strikes.

Resources FEMA Wildfire Fact Sheet

Texas Wildfires Map


Consumer-Friendly Info Paper: Summer Heat & Fire Risks (member log-in required)

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Protect Yourself From Uninsured (and Underinsured) Drivers by Danielle Ling, Even if you’re covered, uninsured and underinsured drivers still pose serious financial risks to insured drivers. Recent data from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) shows that in the event of an accident, there is a one in eight chance the driver is uninsured. In Texas, that number is one out of five. Texas requires drivers to have auto liability insurance to drive legally, but according to the IRC, the number of uninsured motorists is up for the first time in seven years, posing a serious threat to insured drivers. In the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, they may not have enough — or any — insurance coverage to pay for your medical bills if you are injured, or repair any damage to your vehicle. Data shows that an estimated $2.6 billion was paid in uninsured motorist claims in 2012 according to the IRC. This high cost is one reason insurance premiums are on the rise across the country, The Hanover Insurance Group notes. Luckily, there are tactical ways to protect yourself from uninsured or underinsured motorists. The Insurance Information Institute identifies three specific options for uninsured motorist coverage that may vary by state and insurer. In general, here are the three types of protection options available: •

Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance – Also known as Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) insurance, this coverage will pay your and your passengers’ medical bills if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist who is at fault. In addition, UM insurance will reimburse you and your passengers for lost wages. UM coverage also kicks in if, as a pedestrian, you are hit by an uninsured driver, or if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) coverage – Uninsured motorist insurance covers bodily injuries but not damage to your car or property. For this, you need UMPD coverage, which, in addition to paying for damages to your vehicle caused by an uninsured driver, generally also covers damage to other personal property such as your house or your fence. Ask your insurance professional or state insurance department whether UMPD coverage is available in your state.

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) protection – In some instances, an at-fault driver may have liability insurance, but his or her policy’s limits do not cover the full extent of damage to your vehicle. In such cases, UIM insurance will cover the shortfall.

It all comes down to the price of piece of mind, which is typically very affordable for this type of coverage. Talk to your independent agent to learn about your coverage options.


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Senior Drivers: When is it Time to Give Up the Car Keys? By Elana Aahanti Jefferson,

The problem facing older drivers (and their insurers) is not that these mature adults tend to cause more motor vehicle accidents; teenagers have the dubious honor of being the agebased group that causes the most crashes on American roads and highways. The danger for older adults is that when they are involved in an accident, they face a much higher risk of being seriously injured or killed. According to the CDC: Involvement in fatal crashes, per mile traveled, begins increasing among drivers age 70‒74, and is highest among drivers ages 85 and older.

6 signs it may be time to stop driving No. 6: The driver suffers from medical conditions that may impact his or her ability to safely navigate a vehicle. Impairments in memory, vision, mobility and/or medical conditions such as arthritis or diabetes can cause drivers to react more slowly or become less attentive. The good news is that IIHS research indicates that many older drivers with these conditions are more likely to selflimit their time behind the wheel. However, the Institute’s research also found that a portion of older drivers never recognize the need to adjust their driving habits, even when they suffer from obvious cognitive degeneration. No. 5: The driver takes medication that may impair response and reaction time. As we age, we are more likely to require prescription medication. But even over-the-counter medications can impair one’s ability to drive safely. Side effects can include anxiety, blurred vision, confusion, disorientation and drowsiness, among others.


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5 Ways to Lead Change In a Change-Averse Environment

No. 4: The driver suffers from recognizable cognitive decline. Doctors advise looking for some very obvious signs that an older driver is no longer fit for the road. For instance, when a driver stops at green lights, becomes confused by traffic signage or signals, or runs a red light, it may be time to talk about giving up the keys. Another bell-ringer: Some older drivers become confused or lost while they’re behind the wheel. No. 3: Local roads and signs need to be upgraded. Older drivers do better when the roads in their communities are well-maintained and the road signs feature clear, vivid lettering and directions. No. 2: The driver’s vehicle needs to be replaced.

Newer model cars include features such as side airbags and rear-view cameras that can help keep older drivers safe. Alternately, some older model cars may have features (such as dated seatbelts) or maintenance issues that increase an older driver’s chance of being seriously injured in an accident. No. 1: There’s no real reason to drive. Simply put: The longer a person drives, the more likely they are to be involved in an accident, and to be very badly hurt or even killed in that accident. An older person may significantly increase their lifespan when he or she makes the choice to stop driving.


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Boating Insurance & Safety from Boats afford recreation and adventure to their owners, but they come with risks, as well. Don’t let an accident or disaster sink you—understand how to insure your prized vessel.

Boat insurance basics The size, type and value of the craft and the water in which you use it factor into what type of insurance you need and how much you will pay for insurance coverage. As with any insurance policy, make sure you understand exactly what perils are covered and what your policy limits are. •

Small craft may be covered under your standard homeowners policy or renters insurance policy. Most insurers provide limited coverage for property damage for small boats such as canoes, small sailboats or small powerboats with less than 25 mile per hour horsepower. Coverage generally includes the boat, motor and trailer combined. Liability coverage is typically not included, but it can be added as an endorsement to a homeowners policy.

Larger and faster boats such as yachts require a separate insurance policy, as do personal watercraft such as jet skis.

Typical boat insurance policies cover physical damage to the boat itself. They also cover property damage, theft and medical payments, each with different deductibles. Your insurer may offer additional, optional coverage for trailers and boat accessories. Boat insurance policies generally provide broader liability protection than a homeowners policy. However, depending on the assets that are at risk, boat owners may also consider purchasing an umbrella liability policy, which will provide additional protection for their boat, home and car.

Boat insurance coverage Boat insurance is available in two types, each with different parameters and different premium costs. •

Actual Cash Value policies pay for replacement costs less depreciation at the time of the loss. In the event of a total loss, used boat pricing guides and other resources are used to determine the vessel’s approximate market value. Partial losses are settled by taking the total cost of the repair less a percentage for depreciation.

Agreed Amount Value policies are based on a valuation of your vessel that you and your insurer have agreed upon; in event of a total loss you will be paid the "agreed amount." Agreed Amount Value policies will also replace old items with new ones in the event of a partial loss, without any deduction for depreciation.

Here are some of the common and optional boat coverages. Make sure you understand what exactly your policy will pay for and what the limits are.


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Physical loss or damage to the actual boat, including the hull, machinery, fittings, furnishings and permanently attached equipment. Physical damage exclusions might include normal wear and tear, damage from insects, mold, animals (such as sharks), zebra mussels, defective machinery or machinery damage.

Theft of the boat.

Bodily injury to persons other than the boat owner or his or her family.

Damage caused to someone else’s property.

Guest passenger liability—that is, any legal expenses incurred by someone using the boat with the owner’s permission.

Medical payments for injuries to the boat owner and other passengers.

Trailer or boat accessories.

Loss or theft of belongings may or may not be covered. Your homeowners policy may provide some coverage and boaters should specifically inquire about special equipment kept on the boat, such as fishing gear, to make sure it is covered.

Boat insurance discounts If you're thinking of obtaining boat insurance or changing insurers, inquire about discounts for the following: •

Diesel powered craft, which are less hazardous than gasoline powered boats as they are less likely to explode

Coast Guard approved fire extinguishers

Ship-to-shore radios

Crew completion of boating and water safety education courses, such as those offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadrons, or the American Red Cross.

Multi-policies with the same insurer, such as a car, home or umbrella policy.

Two years of claims-free experience

Best practices for boat safety There are thousands of recreational boating accidents per year, which can be costly in injuries and damages. Contributing factors to boating disasters include traveling too fast for water or weather conditions, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, failing to follow boating rules and regulations, carelessness and inexperience. The best way to ensure your years of accident- and claims-free experience is to follow boating safety practices. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Properly equip your vessel with required navigation lights and with a whistle, horn or bell. Have on hand plenty of life jackets and emergency safety devices such as a paddle or oars, a first-aid kit, a supply of fresh water, a tool kit and spare parts, a flashlight, flares and a radio. Carry one or more fire extinguishers, matched to the size and type of boat and keep them readily accessible and in condition for immediate use.

Before you sail or launch, check weather forecasts before heading out to ensure good boating conditions. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return. Check engine, fuel, electrical and steering systems, especially for exhaust-system leaks.

When you have passengers and/or a load, pay attention when loading. Distribute the load evenly and don't overload. In a small boat, warn passengers not to stand up or shift weight suddenly. Don’t permit riding on the bow, seatbacks or gunwales. Make sure that every person on board the boat gets and wears a life jacket.

Know and obey marine traffic laws; learn distress signals and other boating signals.

In shallow waters, keep an alert lookout for other watercraft, swimmers, floating debris and shallow waters.

Don't operate the boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or allow anyone who might be impaired to operate the vessel.


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Clients Need Personal Umbrella Coverage from

3 Reasons Why There are at least three reasons for an individual to buy a personal umbrella policy. To begin with, the primary policies otherwise available generally do not provide liability limits commensurate with the exposure such individuals may face. Second, the cost of this excess coverage is comparatively cheap. Third (and perhaps most importantly), umbrella policies not only provide coverage when losses exceed the available primary limits, but add coverage for certain types of losses, such as “personal injury” claims that are generally not covered by primary policies. Although the limits of homeowners insurance and other forms of personal primary insurance have increased, most only provide coverage with “per occurrence” limits of $300,000 or $500,000. Substantial as that sum may seem, it is hardly sufficient to satisfy the liability an insured may face due to a serious accident. Umbrella coverage is also surprisingly affordable. As a result, umbrella insurers are willing to quote coverage of $1 million to as much as $10 million at rates that are proportionally cheaper than primary insurance. Umbrella carriers can quote coverage with confidence that statistics show their insureds are unlikely to be sued, and any resulting suits are likely to be resolved within the limits of the insured’s primary coverage. Umbrella insurance not only boosts available coverage limits at a relatively advantageous cost compared to dollar limits on primary policies, but it does so with respect to a portfolio of primary risks. Thus, an insured has excess coverage available for serious auto or premises liability claims without having to pay to increase limits on primary insurance policies that would insure these separate risks. Umbrella insurance presents a particular feature that separates it from other types of excess insurance. Umbrella policies (deemed “bumbershoot” policies in the London market) not only provide insurance coverage once the primary limits are exhausted, but they drop down to provide primary coverage for certain types of losses that may not be covered under the insured’s primary policy. For instance, umbrella policies typically include “personal injury” coverage for quasi-intentional tort losses, such as claims for wrongful entry or eviction, defamation or disparagement and


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malicious prosecution or false arrest that many homeowners policies do not cover. Umbrella policies may also define “bodily injury” to include claims for emotional distress that primary policies do not cover. In these cases, the umbrella insurer will step in to defend the underlying claim and fill a gap in the insured’s coverage profile that might otherwise prove expensive and perilous. While the decision to purchase umbrella coverage should be an obvious one for most policyholders, deciding whether to buy umbrella coverage from the same company that underwrites your primary policies may be more difficult. Some primary insurers may be willing to discount the cost of such insurance when the policyholder agrees to buy a package of policies. Using the same insurer may also avoid a seamless web of insurance and avoid unexpected gaps due to conflicting wordings. At the same time, having a different insurer write the excess coverage may be to the benefit of the insured in cases where the primary insurer is reluctant to accept coverage and the excess insurer acts in concert with the policyholder to apply pressure to the primary carrier to pay the loss or defend. Personal umbrella policies can help customize insurance coverage by filling gaps in a client’s coverage profile and raise the limits of coverage to safer levels. In short, the answer to the question of whether an insured should buy personal umbrella insurance is not “yes, you should” but rather, “why on earth would you not.” Contact your independent insurance agent to learn if a personal umbrella policy would make sense for your specific coverage needs


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3 Factors that Increase Identity Theft Risk by Rhys Dipshan, The breaches that came to light during summer of 2018 have come in all shapes and sizes. A recent breach at reservation software platform FastBooking, for instance, affected at least 400 hotels in Japan, while one at Ticketmaster UK affected 40,000 people in the U.K. Both exposed their customers’ names and contact and financial information. But a breach at Florida-based marketing and data aggregation firm Exactis exposed much, much more. According to Wired magazine, up to 2 terabytes of data was stolen from Exactis. While the data did not include financial information or Social Security numbers, it did include contact information and marketing data on people’s personal characteristics, interests and habits. To be sure, these breaches pose a risk of fraud for all those affected. But whether such fraud rises to the level of identity theft — the most menacing type — is another matter. Such a risk is not determined by a breach’s size and scope, but the type of data and the victims it compromises, and even the length of time since it happened. Here’s a look at three factors that can increase the chances of identity theft risk post-breach:


The golden ticket: Social Security numbers

Eduard Goodman, global privacy officer at identity and data protection company CyberScout, said that Social Security numbers “really are the golden ticket” for allowing cybercriminals to open up a line of credit in someone else’s name and get access to their vital financial accounts. And while the breaches of financial information such as credit card information and of personal information like that held by Exactis can lead to financial fraud and other scams, the identity fraud risk they pose is limited. But breaches that don’t include Social Security data can still land a company in a world of legal trouble. Exactis, for instance, is facing a class action lawsuit in Florida, which alleges theft of personal information, improper disclosure of personal information, untimely and inadequate notification of the data breach, and unauthorized charges on debit and credit card accounts. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Spokeo v. Robins that those seeking damages against breached companies must allege injury that is “particularized” and “concrete.” While it is easier to allege such injury when identity fraud comes into play, it is also possible when considering lesser types of fraud as well.


The identity theft time bomb?

The September 2017 breach at Equifax, which compromised the personal information of over 145 million U.S. consumers and included Social Security numbers, was one of the biggest cyber incidents in the history of the U.S.


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Still, there has yet to be a tsunami of identity theft cases against Equifax. And while, according to The 2018 Identity Fraud Study released by Javelin Strategy & Research, the number of identity fraud cases in 2017 did increase to 16.7 million from 15.4 million in 2017, the 6.6% increase does not seem as high, given the sheer number of Social Security numbers compromised. So what gives? For Goodman, the lack of a surge in identity theft is far from surprising. After all, “In all the grand scheme of things, in the criminal world, identity thieves are one of many subsets of crimes,” and are likely taking time to shift through the compromised data they have. “What people have to remember is that there are long-term consequences,” added Justin Daniels, a shareholder at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. “What people don’t always appreciate is that when your information gets hacked, it doesn’t mean they are going to use it right away.”

Cybercriminals may also be motivated to play the long game, given that many will be closely monitoring their credit directly following a breach, but may be less vigilant as time passes, meaning identity fraud can potentially go undetected years later.


Young and old, educated and rich

With a wealth of stolen personal data at their finger trips, identity thieves have the luxury of picking their targets. And usually, they go after a few key demographics who may be illprepared to recognize or respond to identity theft. Carl Wright, chief revenue officer for security testing company AttackIQ, noted identity thieves will usually focus on age certain groups, such as children, seniors over the age of 50, and young adults, more than others. The reasons for targeting each group varies. Children do not actively manage their personal data, but they can get access to credit cards on their parent’s accounts, meaning identity fraud can go unnoticed for a long time. Meanwhile, young adults aged 18 to 27 “don’t have a lot of credit built up, so there is not a lot of data on these folks” to help discern fraudulent credit activity from normal activity, Wright said. On the other hand, seniors are ripe targets because of the retirement accounts or investments they may hold. Wright noted that “the more you have going on, the easier it is for someone to do something small and go unnoticed.” Besides targeting certain age groups, cybercriminals are also likely to steal the identities of those over a certain income level. The risk of identity theft “exponentially increase if the household makes more than $50,000 and up,” Wright said, adding that identity theft happens more in states with wealthier populations, such as New York, California, Texas, and Florida.

Consumer-Friendly Info Paper: Identity Theft (member login required)


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The Parents Guide to Insurance for College Students

by Barbara Marquand, Saying the last goodbye in the dorm parking lot, the stark realization dawns that you can’t protect your child from every risk. It’s time to let go. But back at home, you can assemble a strong financial safety net. Knowing what your current insurance will pay for — and whether you need to buy extra coverage — is a good first step. Here’s how to evaluate your auto, homeowners, life and health insurance needs as your kid heads to college.


Ask your insurer about an away-at-school discount. Some insurance companies offer a price break if the college is at least 100 miles away from home. Keep the student listed on your policy, so your son or daughter has coverage at home on breaks, says Scott Johnson, manager of Marindependent Insurance Services in Mill Valley, California. Maintaining continuous auto liability insurance also keeps rates down over the long haul.


Consider the risks. “It’s the first time away from home. Why throw a vehicle into the mix?” Johnson says. Notify the insurance company if your child takes a car. Some insurers might reprice the policy based on the school’s location, Johnson says. The coverage price might go up or down.

Car or no car, don’t forget about the good-student discount. Many insurers offer one for maintaining at least a B average. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Homeowners or renters insurance FOR A DORM Your child’s stuff will be covered under your renters or homeowners insurance in a campus dorm. Check the policy for details. Some policies limit coverage for belongings away from home to a percentage of the total amount of coverage for all possessions, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Typically there are also coverage limits on expensive items such as computers. Consider buying extra coverage for these items if necessary. FOR AN OFF-CAMPUS APARTMENT Students who live in off-campus apartments will need their own renters insurance policies. Renters insurance covers belongings and, like homeowners insurance, provides liability coverage. Liability insurance pays legal expenses if anyone covered on the policy inadvertently injures someone else or damages property and is held responsible. It doesn’t cover illegal acts.

Make sure the liability insurance includes personal injury coverage, Johnson says. If it doesn’t, the price to add it is small, he says. Among other things, personal injury coverage would pay for legal defense and settlement costs if your son or daughter were sued for posting something objectionable on social media.

Life insurance Shop for a term life insurance policy if you don’t have enough coverage and your income is crucial for paying the college bills. Buy enough to cover you at least until the youngest child graduates from college, says Garrett Prom, a certified financial planner and founder of Prominent Financial Planning in Austin, Texas. “Ideally you already have the coverage you need and have all your ducks in a row, but that isn’t always the case,” he says.


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Health insurance Check whether your health plan’s provider network includes doctors and hospitals where your child will attend school, says Elizabeth Hagan, associate director of coverage initiatives for Families USA, a national consumer advocacy group. You’ll pay a larger portion of the medical bills for treatment outside the network with a preferred provider organization, or PPO. With a health maintenance organization, or HMO, there may be no coverage outside the network, except in emergencies. If your student will be uninsured or will move outside the health plan’s network, check the following: THE COLLEGE’S STUDENT HEALTH PLAN Many student health plans offer good coverage, but they do vary. Make sure you understand any coverage limits, Hagan says.

THE GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED HEALTH INSURANCE MARKETPLACE If the college town is outside your plan’s provider network, your child will be eligible to sign up for a health plan outside the regular open enrollment period. Start shopping before the move. The coverage will go into effect: • •

the first day of the next month if the plan is selected between the first and 15th of the month. the first day of the second month if the plan is picked between the 16th and the last day of the month.

Then sign up for a 2018 plan during the annual open enrollment period, which will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2017. Even if the Affordable Care Act is repealed or revised, changes won’t take effect before open enrollment. “Obviously there’s a lot of uncertainty now with the fate of the Affordable Care Act, but consumers will still have the opportunity to enroll at least through the 2018 open enrollment period,” Hagan says. HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS OFFERED OUTSIDE THE MARKETPLACE Consider this only if you’re not eligible for income-based subsidies that would lower the price through the marketplace. Find health insurance confusing? You’re not alone. “It’s very complicated, and a lot of times, people are left with questions about what to do,” Hagan says. She recommends getting help sorting out the options. Contact your health plan or health benefits administrator at work. For help finding a marketplace plan, log on to to get contact information for free, in-person assistance.

More changes are ahead as your college student gains independence. Review your insurance policies annually to make sure the right coverage is in place.

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8 Smart Steps to Buying Life Insurance from Life insurance can form a vital part of your family’s financial stability and well-being but, if you’re like most people, you may find the thought of shopping for the right type of coverage a little daunting. Fortunately, these eight simple steps can guide you along the way.

1. Determine whether you actually need life insurance Most people do, but not everyone. If no one depends on you financially, if you have no debt and would leave an estate with enough cash to pay its own taxes and expenses, you probably don’t need life insurance. If you do not meet these criteria, you probably will need individual life insurance.

2. Calculate how much life insurance you need There are two important questions to ask: •

What financial resources will be available to survivors after your death? For simplicity, consider three categories of resources: (1) Social security and other retirement-related survivor benefits; (2) group life insurance; and (3) other assets and resources. It is also important to know when these resources will become available—for example, social security survivor benefits are payable immediately to a surviving spouse with dependent children, but only after age 60 if there are no children.

What financial needs will your survivors have after your death. For simplicity, consider three categories of requirements: (1) final expenses; (2) debts; and (3) income needs.

Then subtract your survivors’ financial resources (step #2) from their financial needs (step #3) to determine how large a policy to buy. Many people are underinsured, often because they skip these steps or take a shortcut (such as simply buying a multiple of annual income).

3. Consider other objectives you may have for your life insurance Some types of life insurance policies include a savings feature that can be used for purposes other than paying death benefits.

4. Determine what type of life insurance best meets your needs Essentially, there are three types of life insurance policies—term life, whole life and universal life. If you need the insurance for only a specific period of time, or are on a limited budget, a term policy, which has lower premiums, may be a good fit. If, however, you need the insurance for as long as you live and want to accumulate savings, a whole or universal policy may be a better choice.

5. Find out if you need to add any “riders” to the policy There are two that you should consider—waiver of premium and guaranteed insurability. Some policies come with one or both included with the basic contract but, if not, it is generally a good idea to add them. Waiver of premium pays the life insurance policy premium for you if you are TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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disabled. Guaranteed insurability permits you to add to the death benefit without providing additional evidence that you are in acceptable health.

6. Shop around There are many ways to save money when buying life insurance, but they don’t always entail paying a lower premium immediately. That said, life insurance is a very competitive business so quotes can vary significantly between companies. An independent agent can help by comparing coverage options among multiple carriers.

7. Decide whether to pay premiums annually In most cases, it is better to pay annually rather than in installments because there is often a relatively large additional charge for paying smaller amounts more frequently.

8. Tell your beneficiaries about your life insurance policy Once the policy is issued, inform your beneficiaries the company that issued it, where to find the paper copy of the policy and any specifics about what you want them to do with the death benefit. While it is rare for people to be unaware they are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, it does happen and you want to make sure that the benefit will not go unclaimed. And store your documents so that they can be easily accessed by your beneficiaries.

For agent to agent information from PIA, see “Building a Cross-Selling Machine: Revenue from the Sale of Life Insurance” by Time Gilder, CLU, ALMI


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What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Insurance from Starting a business and being a small business owner is great. You get to channel your energy and passion into your craft and your customers. But on the flip side, you also have to spend time focusing on the nuts and bolts of your business. And one of those things is insurance. Due to the surplus of business laws, business insurance can be confusing, and it’s also something you have to factor into your accounting as it lives on the books as an expense. But if you own a small business, it’s pretty essential. Insurance can save your business from all sorts of unforeseen events like theft, natural disasters, lawsuits, and even employee screwups. Without it, you don’t have a parachute. With it, you can operate with the peace of mind that if any covered, unexpected losses come your way, you’re covered. If you’re a new business owner, it’s helpful to understand the pieces of business insurance. There are four basic building blocks (and a bunch of smaller ones) for small business insurance coverage: property, liability, workers’ compensation, and auto insurance (if you have vehicles). Any way you slice it, you are going to want some combination of these to protect your business against the unknown.

What kind of business insurance do you need? 

Property coverage. Whether you own or lease the physical things you use to run your business, you need property coverage to protect stuff like tools and equipment, computers, printers, laptops, furniture, office supplies, and more.


Liability insurance. You need liability insurance to protect you from lawsuits alleging injuries or property damage (either at your place of work or at your clients’). In many cases, contractors and other service providers are required to have general liability insurance before entering into a contract. Or you may just need it to sign a lease.


Workers compensation insurance. If you have employees, most states require you to have workers’ compensation insurance. It is designed to protect employers from the liabilities associated with employees who are injured on the job. It covers medical bills and, often times, lost wages and legal expenses associated with the specific case. It also protects you as the employer from being sued by employees who are injured on the job.


Commercial auto insurance. Lastly, if automobiles are part of your business, a commercial auto policy provides coverage for you, your employees, and the vehicles you own, lease, rent, or borrow. This coverage applies both on the road and off. Many states make this coverage a requirement. Even if it’s not mandatory, this kind of policy protects against liabilities that can arise from incidents involving these vehicles. Continued on page 36


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The Four Ingredients Needed for Sales & Business Success by John Chapin It happened again two weeks ago. I met with someone struggling to get their business going. One of the first questions I asked, and always ask: “What are you doing to bring in revenue (sell something)?” “I have a display at the local Walmart, and I belong to five Chambers of Commerce.”

“And how long have you been doing that?” “Five years.” “And how much business have you gotten from each one?” “Pretty much zero from all.” I’m not kidding. I also wish I could say this experience is the exception to the rule. Actually, it is more the rule than the exception when I talk to a struggling salesperson or solopreneur. What’s the definition of insanity? Right. For five years. Look, it really only takes four things to be successful in sales and business. If you have all four, success is virtually guaranteed. If you are missing even one, eventual failure is guaranteed.

4 Items for Sales and Business Success Item #1: Good people skills If you’re good with people, in other words, people like you because they feel good around you and believe you care about them, you’re off to a good start. If people like you, they’ll buy from you. The best salespeople and business people always have great people skills. They can connect and carry on a conversation with anyone at any level or any age. They have a charisma about them and their conversions flow smoothly and easily. They are able to make people feel important by talking about what’s important to them, being a good listener, and focusing completely on the other person as if they are the only person in the world. Even in a crowd, they can make you feel as if the two of you are the only ones there. That relationship, that connection, is usually the most important aspect when selling most items.

Item #2: A great attitude A great attitude includes: passion, confidence, conviction, commitment, and perseverance. It also includes being positive. The former attributes ensure you have the mental wherewithal to go out into the world with enthusiasm and remain that way while suffering the slings and arrows necessary to succeed in business and sales. The latter attribute, being positive, ensures that you present well to people. Your objective is to be a pleasure to interact with, to be the most pleasant person that people encounter during the day, and to be a joy to do business with. You want people to enjoy the experience of working with you. This means going above and beyond, doing more than people expect, and always doing everything in your power to make sure the client feels important. You want to have a can-do, happy-to-help-you attitude.


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Item #3: The right activities Activity starts by having a plan which includes how much business you need, how many people you need to talk to, and where to find those people. In addition, you need the self-discipline to stick to the plan and ensure that you spend your time and money on the right activities and resources. The most important activities you spend time on during the day are the ones that bring money into the business. It isn’t working on your logo, driving to the post office, or entering information into the computer. During business hours 90+% of your time should be spent on activities that generate cash flow. The fastest way to build business is by calling on people in-person or on the phone. Business is a contact sport and is all about relationships. In order to build relationships and connect with people, you need to be talking to them live, not sending spam e-mails, LinkedIn messages, or connecting on Facebook. Also, your activities should be focused on meeting new people (strangers). Going to the same networking events and seeing the same people over and over again is a mistake. Incidentally, discomfort and fear of calling on people, both strangers and people you know, is what stops most people and causes them to fail in sales and business. If you’re going to be successful, you need to get over that. Bottom line: focus on meeting strangers and making lots of contacts. Business is a numbers game, if you talk to enough people during the day you will eventually run into someone who needs what you have or knows someone who needs what you have. So go out there and take massive action.

Item #4: A good product and support This one goes without saying. If you have good people skills, a great attitude, and are focused on the right activities, you’ll make your share of one-time sales. But if you have a bad product, or are lacking support, the word will get out and any success will be short-lived. From “What Small Business Owners Need to Know About Insurance”, page 34

Property + liability = business owners policy For many industries, insurance companies have simplified business insurance to offer what is called a “business owner’s policy,” or a BOP. This policy is a combination of property and liability coverage designed to make the coverage simpler to understand and more affordable to buy. A BOP is typically tailored to your industry to help you with specific scenarios associated with your type of business. For example, most BOP policies include “business interruption coverage.” This coverage helps cover the loss of income when you can’t run your technology business because of property damage, or when you can’t provide your service because your business was closed due to a fire. For most small businesses, a BOP is the best way to get the most coverage.

Putting it all together To package the right coverage for your business, you need an adviser you can trust. An adviser can help you put together the protection you need without any unneeded coverage or expense. Ideally you can get this advice from an already trusted insurance company or broker that will make acquiring the right coverage easy and put your mind at rest. If you are concerned with cash flow needs, look into using a “pay as you go” provider to keep it affordable and aligned with your budget needs. With the right business insurance coverage in place, you can focus on running and growing your business, not worrying about covered disaster scenarios. TEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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Accountability: A Missing Piece in Many Agencies

by Curt Pearsall, CPCU, AIAF, CPIA, President, Pearsall Associates, Inc., Consultant to Utica National E&O Program Accountability is a key element that needs to be in place for agencies to achieve a solid errors and omissions (E&O) culture. It is also necessary for agencies, or any business, to become a great organization. In the words of author Henry Evans, “a culture of accountability makes a good organization great and a great organization unstoppable.” Can your team look each other in the eyes and convince one another the job was handled in the manner the firm wants and that you achieved the desired results? Can you look yourself in the eye and convince yourself of the same thing?

For many agencies, the issue that is holding them back from achieving the “great organization” status is their level of accountability. Accountability in an organization does not just happen. In fact, it is more than each employee looking at themselves in the mirror and convincing themselves they did the job. Many business experts feel that organizational health will surpass all other disciplines in business as the greatest opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage. Peer-to-peer accountability is considered the primary and most effective source of accountability on the leadership team of a healthy organization. One of the key issues to begin the process of achieving accountability is defining the expected results. For an insurance agency, there are many expected results. They include various issues involving the pre-sale, sale, and post-sale processes. The issues could involve the completion of an exposure analysis checklist, quality and timely documentation of client discussions, the completion of the application, timely follow-up, confirmation of client purchasing decisions, management of one’s workload, policy review, policy delivery, etc. Staff should not have to guess or assume they know the expected results. The expectations should be documented and periodically communicated to all staff, including producers. This will help to ensure there are no misunderstandings. Nothing will frustrate an employee more than a belief that not all employees are held to the same level of accountability. In some cases, there may be the belief that some employees are not held accountable at all. The frustration level may get to the point where a firm will lose some of their better employees. Many staff probably feel they can walk out at the end of the day and say, “I did my job.” Accountability is more than each person feeling they did their job. The objective is for the firm’s goals to be achieved, whatever those goals happen to be. Achieving a greater level of accountTEXAS CONNECTION - TEXAS PROFESSIONAL INSURANCE AGENTS DIGITAL JOURNAL

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goals to be achieved, whatever those goals happen to be. Achieving a greater level of accountability and becoming a GREAT organization requires teams with a level of joint accountability. This level of joint accountability is essentially the responsibility and the product of management as they are, at the end of the day, ultimately responsible for results. A culture of joint accountability is necessary for the firm’s results to be achieved. Management should not look for employees to just do their jobs. They should look for them to achieve the expected results. An employee’s job is to achieve results and to go above and beyond. Motivating and inspiring the staff to do that should be a key goal of a firm’s leadership. How can an agency measure their degree of accountability? Since a significant part of the goal is to determine whether staff are meeting the firm’s expectations, one way to do this is through an internal auditing process. When a firm strides to enhance their culture of accountability, audit results will definitely shed some light on whether progress is being made or not. If an individual or division is not passing their audits, there is a good chance they will not be achieving the results they are striving for. When the audit results are not at the expected level, the individual (or team) should be required to develop an action plan to improve the audit scores moving forward. This initiative is a positive step in achieving the desired level of accountability. What is the level of accountability in your firm? You might want to ask the staff. They probably know the answer. The material contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not for purposes of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.


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Join Texas PIA Now If you’re not yet a member, discover the benefits! Membership in Texas PIA is an investment that provides tangible benefits & services, saving you time and money so you can increase your agency’s bottom line. As a member of the Texas Professional Insurance Agents, you are also a member of the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents and have access to a variety of valuable benefits and information that can support you in the growth and success of your business. Our focus is entirely on you, the professional Texas agent. Member Benefits Include: •

Insurance products to sell

Insurance coverage for you

Agency Marketing Guide

Agency Revenue Tools

Agency assistance

Industry advocacy

DocIT for Agents

Member discounts

PIA Market Access

Together we’ve formed an alliance of experts to deal with any type of issue or question you may face.

Visit for more information.

Source Materials: Texans Not Prepared for Hurricane Season, page “4 to 7 hurricanes in 2018, according to NOAA's updated prediction”, by Brian K. Sullivan, August 9, 2018, “PCI: Majority of Texans Not Prepared for Hurricane Season”, August 6, 2018, What You Need to Know About the National Flood Insurance Program, page “The National Flood Insurance Program Has Been in the News: Here’s What You Need to Know”, July 5, 2018, “Why is long-term re-authorization of NFIP so elusive?”, by Jon Gentile, August 6,2018,


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Texas News Round-Up Texas Windstorm Insurance Association: Rates Inadequate by More Than 30% While the board of the directors of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association voted at its recent quarterly meeting to raise rates for residential and commercial properties by 10 percent next year, the group acknowledges a rate inadequacy that is far greater than that...more Texas Commission Seeking Comments for Texas Windstorm Insurance Review While the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is not subject to closure by the state’s Sunset Commission, the insurer is subject to periodic review by the commission as required by the Texas Sunset Act...more

Lingering Texas Drought Has Ranchers Reducing Herds A growing number of Texas ranchers and farmers are trimming their livestock, or selling them altogether, as the persistent drought has eliminated water supplies and forage for the animals…more Flood Insurance Uptake Rates Rise in Texas Following Harvey Little more than two months before Hurricane Harvey slammed the Gulf Coast of Texas, Alberto Castaneda let his home’s flood insurance lapse. He had never filed a claim on the policy in 10 years and he needed the extra cash to expand his restaurant business…more Texas Governor Renews Hurricane Harvey Disaster Declaration Texas Governor Greg Abbott has extended the disaster declaration for 60 counties impacted by Hurricane Harvey last year...more Texas Seeks Input on Draft of Revisions to Catastrophe Data Call Standards The Texas Department of Insurance said following Hurricanes Ike and Harvey, insurers participating in data calls resulting from those hurricanes urged TDI to use the standard National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) catastrophe data call or develop a standardized catastrophe data call that insurers can program into their systems well in advance of any catastrophe...more Texas Contractor Ordered to Pay $250K After Worker Fatality at Dallas Site A Texas construction contractor has been ordered to pay $250,000 in criminal and civil penalties an employee suffered a fatal fall at an apartment complex in Dallas, federal safety officials said...more Petrobras Reaches $3.5M Settlement in Texas Refinery Emissions Case A U.S. unit of Brazilian state-run company Petrobras agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle a lawsuit over alleged toxic emissions from its Pasadena, Texas, oil refinery, the company said. The settlement, which is subject to approval by a federal judge, comes in the midst of the company’s efforts to sell the refinery...more Texas Woman Heading to Prison for Burning Down House for Insurance Money A Dallas woman with a history of filing 31 insurance claims against a dozen companies got burned when one turned out to be arson...more Do you have news to share? Email with your story. Download Latest Issue


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Texas Connection September 2018  
Texas Connection September 2018