Car Insurance Rates Studied

Car Insurance RatesPost Date  February 11, 2013 – Auto insurance industry players are up against the recent car insurance rates study released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), saying that their study is flawed.  The car insurance rates studied were released by the consumer advocacy group based in Washington D.C. in the last week of January reported that auto insurance companies are charging higher premiums to safe drivers compared to those drivers who had been found responsible or an automobile accident. The consumer group pointed out that expensive car insurance rates being referred to their report is a result of the practice of the insurers to use non-driving-related factors such as the education and occupation of a driver in rating their car insurance rates. Using income-based rating factors is “discriminatory” and “mainly harm low and moderate income motorists. Policymakers  ask why insurance companies are being permitted to use the said non-driving related rating factors in calculating car insurance rates.

Unrelated rating data dictates Car Insurance Rates

NAMIC’s vice president for public policy, Robert Detlefsen, belittled the report to be just a “press release.” Detlefsen assailed the report saying that it “erroneously suggests” that the said non-driving related factors used in rating car insurance rates are not predictive of risks. He said that the CFA’s findings are based on “one false assumption” that the only relevant risk rating factors are only those that involved accident history.  Progressive Insurance Company, 3rd largest auto insurer in the United States responded to the report saying that they sometimes include non-driving related factors in rating car insurance rates as these factors have been proven to predict a driver’s likelihood of having an accident. Progressive Insurance Company along with other insurers such as Farmers, GEICO and Allstate has been cited by the  report to have used the non-driving related factors, specifically the driver’s education and income level.

Hurricane Insurance Deductible Waived For Homeowners

Hurricane Sandy Deductible WaivedPost Date November 11, 2012 – Hurricane Sandy was the most destructive weather event in the northeast over the last 60 years.  The death and destruction from Sandy will be felt for decades.  Law makers in the effected eight states and the District of Columbia recently announced a temporary change in Homeowners Insurance Rules to help many of those affected.  To help reduce the sting associated with the expense from the mandatory hurricane insurance deductible, Insurance Commissioners in those effected states will waive the hurricane insurance deductible for that homeowner.

The burden of a Hurricane Insurance Deductible will not be a burden for Sandy homeowners victims

The trend started when Karen Weldin Stewart, the Delaware Insurance Commissioner stated homeowners in the “First State” would not be required to pay a deductible associated with Sandy’s Hurricane Insurance Deductible. On November 1st;  Pennsylvania’s  Governor Tom Corbett announced PA Residents would also not need to pay a hurricane insurance deductible.  It’s obvious a Hurricane Insurance Deductible would add an additional burden to Pennsylvania Homeowners already enduring the expense of cleaning up and rebuilding their lives after this devastating event. Homeowners insurance policies in PA have different types and names for their state deductibles. They can be called Tropical Storm, Named Storm or  just referred to as Hurricane.  The bottom line is the Super-Storm that plagued the northeast was named “Hurricane Sandy”.

The states affected by Hurricane Sandy are the following;   Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maine,  Delaware, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia. This came as welcome news to many of our customers.  In many situations, I have customers with deductibles as high as $2500.00 for higher value homes or those whom are members of a Condo Association.  In those situations, It makes more sense to raise the insurance deductible which will lower the their insurance premium. In addition, a condo association can share the expense of a larger deducible by dividing up among the condo association members and lowering the overall risk.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 206

 

Homeowners Insurance Coverage Vital For College Students Dorm Rooms

College Dorm RoomPost Date September 7, 2012 – As the beaches become less crowed  as the end of summer comes to a close; parents all over the commonwealth have education on their minds.  Moms and Dads all over the state are packing up their teens up and taking them to colleges and universities all over the State of Pennsylvania.  Along with students now flocking back to their classes for a new academic year, it’s vital  parents make an inventory of all the items in their dorm room for insurance purposes. Homeowners Insurance Coverage which covers personal property is a must.

Homeowners Insurance Coverage vital for students away at school

All students in the 21st century have very costly personal possessions. These personal possessions or personal property should be itemized.  It’s important parents contact their insurance agents to check and see if these items are all covered under their homeowners insurance coverage. Some Homeowners Insurance Coverage have limitations for student’s belongings such as computers, cell phones and other expensive electronic equipment while away at school. Most insurance agents like myself will recommend that if  a parents Homeowners Insurance Coverage limits are too low, they can raise their limits or buy special personal property coverage for those items. If the agent whom handles your Homeowners Insurance Coverage does not offer that type of coverage, ask your students Resident Assistant (RA) or Housing Coordinator about obtaining this coverage.  If a parent lives in an apartment and maintains a Renters Insurance Policy, usually the student personal property is coverage just like Homeowners Insurance Coverage.  If a parent does not have Renters Insurance Coverage, you can obtain coverage for as little as $10.00 a month.  A Renters Insurance Policy will not only cover a student’s computer, cell phone, refrigerator and stereo be covered – their books, clothing and personal liability will be covered as well.  It will also cover theft, vandalism, fire and other natural disasters.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  Option 1

NJ Homeowners Encouraged To Review Homeowners Insurance

Post Date June 21, 2012 –  Since wildfires ravaged parts of New Jersey, NJ State Authorities call for homeowners to review their Homeowners Insurance policies to assure their homes have sufficient protection from such type of disasters.  New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) together with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) have reminded the state’s residents especially those who live near forest areas to maintain home insurance coverage that have wildfire protection. DOBI acting commissioner, Ken Kobylowski stressed that this months break from extreme dry weather makes it as an ideal time for residents to review their homeowners insurance policies to make sure they have the necessary coverage “to replace their homes and all contents in the event of a loss due to a wildfire.”

Since the start of the year, wildfires had already burned more than 2,500 acres in New Jersey. Though the rains have significantly reduced fire threat levels within the state, wildfires continue to pose a threat especially in the Pine Lands Region of NJ. A report from the State Fire Service showed that the number of wildfires that struck New Jersey areas this year had already exceeded last year’s total.  According to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, wildfires are commonly caused by human activity such as arson, or plain carelessness and negligence. Wildfires might start when someone carelessly tossed a cigarette or a match, or due to unattended campfires, or a poorly maintained chimney.

To help residents in reviewing their home insurance policy, the DOBI recommend conducting home inventory to help them assess their insurance needs, and to inquire about the umbrella insurance policy for coverage of high-valued items. To cut down on homeowners insurance expenses,  DOBI also recommends that residents should inquire from their insurance providers about discounts when mitigation steps against wildfires are being taken.  One item not mentioned in the report is those whom rent their home or apartment near a high risk wildfire area.  Keep in mind an owners dwelling or homeowners Insurance Policy which insures the building you live in, will not cover your personal possessions. If they are lost in a fire – they’re gone forever.   If you want to guard against a fire loss, you must purchase a Tenants or Renters Policy which not only covers your personal property – it covers you for liability if you started the fire by accident.  In many cases, that careless act of a burning cigarette or iron left on is the fault of a renter or tenant.  The owner of the building and the others in the building can sue you for negligents.  If you maintain a renters insurance policy, you are covered for accidental acts.  If you are sued, your renters insurance policy will not only pay for your legal defense, they will pay the amount of the judgement against you.

-Mike 

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

 

 

Fidelity National Financial Insurance Dumps Over 80 Percent Of Personal Lines Division

Sunday’s Post 1.8.12 –  A major Insurance Company which underwrite many products such as Auto Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Title Insurance and Financial & Investment Services;  Fidelity National (FNF) Inc. will off-load eighty-five percent of its personal coverage lines policies to a Memphis insurance carrier, WT Financial.  WT  Financial will buy the FNF Co, FN Property/Casualty Insurance Co, and Fidelity National Insurance Svcs., while Fidelity will maintain 15% ownership of those lines of business. Those three divisions will continue to provide products offered under the FNF Moniker. These divisions  provide insurance for private property, condos, other homes and cars, and personal “umbrella” coverage policies. As with all sales, the deal will be guided by adjustments for surpluses prior to the conclusion of the same. The closing process is expected to begin during the first six months of 2012. William Foley, Chairman for FNF, expressed his support for this plan of action. The sections of the business being sold off represent risks for volatility in earnings that exceed the limits set out by FNF for acceptable levels of risk. In selling these portions of the organization, the cash outlay can be transferred to other ventures and initiatives that may provide better returns and benefit to investors. This move will help FNF keep up its place as a major player in the insurance industry.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

 

 

Unitrin Direct to change it’s name to Kemper Auto & Home Insurance

Kemper Auto & Homewowners Insurance

A legendary Auto & Homeowners Insurance Company name is back in the headlines. Unitrin Inc. one of the top car insurance companies has taken the Kemper name, and  will officially operate as Kemper Corp. with trading on the New York Stock Exchange as the KMPR ticker symbol. The Kemper name seemed to be a permanent fixture in the property/casualty insurance business until 2001-2002, when the company took a series of losses. Kemper’s capitalization declined significantly in late 2001 due to some reductions caused by adverse loss reserve development, principally in asbestos reserves, adjustments driven by the new regulatory accounting principles and modest losses from the 9- 11 attacks which also hurt a large number of other insurers.

Unitrin Direct Auto & Home Insurance

At year-end 2001, the group entered into a retroactive reinsurance agreement on its asbestos reserves and in April 2002 Kemper sold its personal lines business to Unitrin. Today, this segment of personal lines business represents Unitrin’s largest business unit with just under $1 billion in total earned premiums in 2010. “Kemper is a well-known name in the Car, Home and Renters insurance industry, and it offers an opportunity to create a unified brand for family of companies and a strong platform for continued growth and expansion.

Don Southwell, chairman, president and CEO stated; “Since the Kemper acquisition, we have looked for opportunities to leverage the value of the Kemper brand throughout our organization.  When we had the opportunity to purchase the name outright in mid-2010, we jumped on it.”

For marketing purposes, the personal lines unit will be called Kemper Preferred, which became effective August 25th. Kemper Preferred will provide auto, homeowners and other insurance products to individuals through a network of independent agents. The Unitrin holding company will incorporate the Kemper name to other business units over time.

Despite its absence in the insurance community, the Kemper name remains a very strong brand. “The Kemper name fits who we have become as a company,” Southwell said. “It allows us to bring together all of our approximately 7,000 employees under one banner that reinforces our position as a straightforward company that delivers personal service and financial excellence in all of our interactions,” he added.

InsureDirect.com does not represent Kemper at the moment.  During the time the company functioned under the Unitrin name, Auto Insurance Products were marketed on a Direct to the Consumer Basis.  This bypassed the independent Agent and severly restricted their marketing abilities to the loyal customers of InsureDirect.com and other auto insurance agents who market on a national basis.  I will be contacting Kemper during the 4th quarter of 2011 and hopefully arrange for a national agency appointment. Upon acqusistion; we will immediately make all the Kemper Personal Lines Products available to you, the consumer.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

 

 

 

 

Ohio Insurers Register Astronomical Losses From May Storms

The end of the storm-ridden quarter saw Ohioans and their insurers grappling with yet more rigorous rounds of storms leading to massive damage and losses.  A report complied after a statewide preliminaries show that homeowners & renters insurance companies incurred losses in excess of $400 million just within the last week of May 2011.  The Ohio Insurance Department stated that this was the deadliest and most costly disaster to ever hit Buckeye state in recent history. The last time such devastation was witnessed was during April 1974 when Xenia tornado struck  followed by Hurricane Ike five months later. The damage caused by these storms has seen between 68,000 – 77,000 claims filed.  The intensity of the destruction in Ohio is much the same as that which was experienced in May 22 when EF-5 tornado wept across Joplin, MO. Close to nine tornadoes were experienced in Ohio between May 22-26 and five of which were EF-1. The northern and southwestern were the worst hit this time round.

Property Claim Services reported that at least 19 states through out the mid-west were affected by the May 20-26 storms. The risk modeling agency, AIR Worldwide on the other hand estimates that insured losses from homes & autos were nearly $47 billion.  The agency also expressed its concerns that the May’s outbreaks are most likely to be the costliest in the entire US history.

These recent storms are among the top five major storms to hit Ohio in less than six months. This is in retrospect of other natural catastrophes that struck Ohio between the months of February and April. Storms in late February brought about a great deal of devastation, with insured losses totaling to $69 million while April events caused $123 million.

Some of the major losses covered by insurance companies include property damage due to heavy winds and water. Insurers also cover expenses from further damage which is done under the homeowners insurance. Others include deductibles for commercial and homeowner’s claims. The Ohio Insurance Institute advises customers to obtain repair estimates before filing a claim in the event they feel that the damages are close to deductibles.  It further recommends the need to keep all the necessary documents-such as receipts-in good custody to facilitate claims filing.

– Mike 

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

 

 

Home Insurance Study Shows Improved Customer Satisfaction Among Insurers

In their 2011 National Homeowners and Auto Insurance study, J.D. Power and Associates reported that customers are more satisfied with their home insurance providers this year compared to last year. Despite this major improvement, satisfaction of ones homeowners insurance, renters Insurance and car insurance companies was still below the study completed in the 2008-2009 study.

As the President and Managing agent of InsureDirect.com since 1992, I find this very interesting information. I feel there is major component missing from the study which is very important if you are looking to find  whom is a happy customer and whom is not.  My question is were the homeowners/auto insurance customers surveyed from a Direct Online Insurance market sample of customers or were these customers picked from those homeowners & auto Insurance carriers whom are represented by an independent insurance agent which represents the insurance customer.

The study took into account five major variables which are price, claims, interaction, billing and payment, and policy features. On the whole, satisfaction in 2010 was at 750 points but improved to 769 points in 2011. The progress touched all the five factors but the biggest growth was on the interaction variable. I don’t see where having an agent was a variable. Bottom line, having an advocate which has your best interest at heart is very important when you have issues which cause concern.

In comparison to auto insurance customer satisfaction that reached an average of 790 points in 2011, homeowners’ insurance satisfaction is still way below par. This is according to another J.D. Power and Associates survey, the National Auto Insurance Study released in June, 2011. However, for both homeowners and auto insurance, satisfaction levels have increased since 2010. With Auto Insurance Rates on the decline, I can understand why customers would feel better about both their Homeowers Insurance and Auto Insurance.  Price seem to be an inportant factor.  You have a tendency to let small irratants go when the price you pay is lower.  Not only do customers at InsureDirect.com enjoy a lower rate from the carriers they represent, customer service, claims handling and billing are superior to other carriers in the business.

One interesting outcome emerged from both the homeowners and auto insurance customer satisfaction ratings for 2011, particularly, on the pricing factor. Greater satisfaction was found in homeowner/renters insurance policy holders with bundled policies as compared to those without. On the other hand, the reverse was noted in the auto insurance survey whereby individuals with a single car insurance policy reported greater price satisfaction as compared to those with bundled policies.

Flood insurance also played a key role in this year’s home insurance satisfaction survey. Less than 1 out of 10 homeowners had flood insurance in New England and Mid-Atlantic regions; and this was before Hurricane Irene struck. In contrast, over 25 percent of homeowners in the Gulf region had flood insurance via different sources, such as their homeowners insurance provider, state funded flood covers or other providers.

The survey also reported less satisfaction among flood insurance policy holders, at 735 points, compared with satisfaction levels of earthquake insurance policy holders, which was 31 points higher.

Jeremy Bowler, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates, expressed that 2011 has been an unexpectedly difficult year due to numerous natural disasters affecting the country which underscored the importance of owning adequate homeowners insurance coverage. If you are represented by an independent agent such as InsureDirect.com; these items are discussed in detail.  You don’t need to worry if you checked off the correct box when buying insurance coverage from a paper applications or mail in card or an online form.

– Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

Berskhire’s National Adds New Twist To Auto Insurance Empire

On Friday August 26 2001, Transatlantic Holdings initiated agreements with National Indemnity, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway regarding a $3.2 billion takeover option and thus adding a new surprise in the battle for reinsurers.

This option will add another valuable component to Berkshire’s holdings which also includes GEICO Auto Insurance Company’s Cavemen and adorable Gecko. GEICO’s car insurance, homeowners insurance, renters insurance, motorcycle insurance, RV Insurance and other recreational vehicle insurance products are advertised 24 hours and day,7 days a week on Television, Radio, Newspapers, Telephone Directories and of course online through the World Wide Web. GEICO is now the 4rd largest Auto Insurance Company in the nation behind State Farm Insurance Company, Allstate Insurance Company and Progressive Insurance Company.  Although InsureDirect.com does not represent GEICO Insurance Company,  we do represent Progressive Insurance and Encompass Insurance Company which is a division of Allstate Insurance Company.

Transatlantic also acquired an all-stock $2.9 billion deal and a cash-and-stock of the same amount to finance a merger with Allied World Assurance Company Holdings Ltd. and a takeover offer from Validus Holdings Ltd. Due to Friday’s move, an eruption of bidding wars between New York-based Reinsurance Company is anticipated.  The Validus bid, which at a certain instance was nearly $400 million better than its opponent’s offer, has lost its entire premium, due to aggressive investor reactions influencing its bids and further agitate market chaos. In June, Transatlantic started a deal with Allied World, but its plans were compromised when in July, Validus came with its own offer.

Allied World’s and Validus’ offers were $3.2 billion and $3.5 billion respectively the moment each started business. Earlier this month, Allied World offer’s started dropping when Ajit Jain, Buffett’s lieutenant, took action through a $3.2-billion cash bid.  Transatlantic initially rejected Berkshire’s offer but opted that it could lead to a superior proposal and thus soon became considerate to initiate negotiations, on the condition that Berkshire would sign a confidentiality agreement.  Transatlantic continued that the terms of the aforementioned confidentiality agreement with National Indemnity are considerably similar to the terms of agreement it previously entered with Allied World.

Strikingly, the agreement has a standstill provision which caused a point of discord with Validus and diverted Bermuda reinsurer to bid directly to Transatlantic’s shareholders.  Thus, Validus therefore sued Transatlantic Thursday, but also presented its own documentation for the purpose of reviewing, in order to raise the mounting pressure on Transatlantic to persuade opening talks with it.

– Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

 

 

Classic Car Insurance Deals for Traditional Antique Car Owners

As most InsureDirect.com Car Insurance Customers are aware, the agents and customer service personnel in our Home Office National Call Center in Lansdale, Pennsylvania receive the best customer service in the insurance industry. Where Auto Insurance and Homeowners/Renters Insurance products and service are our #1 products,  InsureDirect.com has been insuring Classic Cars since near 1995.  There are many different types of classic type vehicles and types of insurance coverage. Classic cars are similar to exotic cars; they offer great value to car enthusiasts and costs relatively expensive, but unfortunately not available to every richest and most affluent members of today’s society.

 Classic cars can be evaluated into three (3) basic categories:                                

a.)    Antiques – manufactured before the 20th century.

b.)   Vintage – manufactured at the start of 1900s at between 1902 and 1933.

c.)    Classics – cars manufactured for over 35 years old.

Each category has their own given conditions and Antique cars being the most expensive among them have the most identified conditions. 

Basically, because of the significant value of some classic cars, they are either purchased second – hand and restored by hand or sometimes inherited. Some cars are so rare that if they incur heavy damages or even destroyed, it is impossible to neither repair nor replace them. Thus, classic car owners are more dependent on car insurance deals available that will give them substantial amount of money in compensation for the losses.

 At times, because of the scarcity of classic cars, most insurance policies placed on them are personalized. In other hand, no standards are set to be followed and therefore they quite expensive or are very costly. In addition, it depends to the car owner who has to comply with the standards set by most insurance companies, not the other way. The following are the given requirements:

 The car must not be the primary mode of transportation used by the customer or car owner.

·         The car must be in perfect working condition at all times.

·         The car must be old enough to be considered a classic car.

·         The car can only be used to drive to certain exhibitions or club activities where the car’s presence is needed.

·         The car must be stored in a safe, fully – enclosed garage which is kept locked at all times.

Since the specific policy you are trying to get is fully – personalized and customizable, you being the car owner have the option of going for Collision Coverage Protection and/or Comprehensive Policy Coverage.

Collision Coverage Protection denotes that the insurance company would offer reimbursement in case of an accident. To be detailed, in the case of an accident, the car insurance company will cover all expenses on damages, medical bills, and court costs.

Since your classic car will not be used as often as your ordinary car, chances of making an accident during the few times a year that you drive it to an exhibition are of fewer chances. To be on the safe side, it would be good to be insured in the unlikely case of an accident while if you are on the economical side, it would be better to take the risk and just being extra careful while driving.

Comprehensive Policy Coverage denotes that the company will offer reimbursement only for damages incurred that are not related to any collisions. There are 2 sub-types under this coverage:

  • Location Coverage Protection covers the location where the car is stored. For example, if your garage is slowly losing its strength and a piece of wood drops from the ceiling smashing your windshield, the insurance company would pay for repair on damages done by the garage.
  • Spare Parts Coverage refers to parts that are either stolen or just need replacement. To illustrate, if one of the diamond-engraved bolts of your car is stolen by a thrifty thief, the insurance company will be the one looking for a replacement or paying out an equivalent amount in money.

Because classic cars are rare, they are extremely expensive to insure and have much more terms and agreements than ordinary cars /automobiles.  Since policies are not standard, it is essential that you read and research a lot about insuring these sorts of cars to avoid any unpleasant surprises when the unavoidable circumstances happen.

-Mike

Michael E. Dortch
President &  Managing Agent
InsureDirect.com
Corporate Home Office
618 South Broad Street
Lansdale, Pennsylvania  19446
(800) 807-0762  ext. 602

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