Congress Considers Flood Insurance Reforms

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is one of the few ways to get insurance coverage for flood risks, and the program is set to expire later this year. However, Congress is currently examining a number of possible changes to the NFIP before it’s reauthorized.

One of the most important topics regarding the NFIP is its financial stability. The program is currently $24 billion in debt as a result of rising claims costs and severe weather events, and some lawmakers believe that the program needs substantial reforms in order to remain viable.

The following are some of the changes that are being considered to the NFIP:
• Making private flood insurance more available to consumers
• Limiting payments to properties that flood repeatedly
• Reducing taxpayer subsidies for flood insurance
• Creating financial incentives for flood mitigation

Contact us at WGBCO with questions on how we can help you with flood coverage. 916-380-5300

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 6:35 pm July 19, 2017

Auto Insurance Prices Likely to Keep Rising

Most lines of insurance cycle between soft and hard markets over a number of years, which has a direct impact on the price of insurance. The auto insurance market is currently hardening after many years of a soft market, which has resulted in higher prices for both commercial and personal auto policies.

Between 2011 and 2016, competition between auto insurance carriers created a soft, buyer-friendly market. Since then, however, the high cost of claims and increasing costs of vehicle repairs have contributed to a noticeable transition in the market.

Contact Warren G. Bender Co. today. We can provide you with resources to help you understand and save on auto insurance, including our new article, “Coverage Insights – The Hardening Auto Insurance Market.”

Filed under: Auto,Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:22 pm May 3, 2017

53 Million Vehicles Recalled in 2016

Statistics released by the Department of Transportation (DOT) revealed that automakers issued recalls for a record 53 million vehicles in 2016. This marks the third straight year that there have been over 50 million vehicle recalls.

A majority of the recalls were due to ongoing issues with airbag inflators manufactured by Takata, a Japanese auto part supplier. At least 16 deaths have been attributed to the malfunctioning inflators, which led to a recall of over 42 million U.S. vehicles since 2013. Takata recently pleaded guilty to a felony charge as part of a $1 billion agreement with the Justice Department that also includes financial compensation for automakers and victims of the malfunctions.

The high number of recalls in recent years has been accompanied by an increase in highway fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatalities rose by 7.2 percent in 2015, the latest year for which data is available. Although the NHTSA has yet to release its full set of data for 2016, preliminary reports from the NSC indicate that the number of fatalities continued to rise.

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:10 pm April 12, 2017

Remodeling Your Home – What to Consider

You’ve hired a reputable builder, collected paint swatches and selected the siding and now you’re finally ready to start that long-awaited remodeling project.

What Protection Does it Offer?

Whether your addition budget is large or small, you are adding both the value of your home and your exposure to risk. To ensure that your project goes smoothly and that you have the coverage you need, here’s what you need to know.

Working with General Contractors

The best way to minimize your renovation risk is to hire a reputable general contractor for the job. As part of the biding process, ask the general contractor to provide a Certificate of Insurance and/or copies of the policies. Specifically, check for coverage for the following:
• Workers’ Compensation: Verify that he or she has workers’ compensation coverage in the event that an employee or subcontractor gets hurt on the job.
• General Liability: Ask if the contractor has liability insurance, which covers losses due to negligence and errors or omission, which results in property damage. Also ask that you are added as an “additional insured.”
• Builders Risk: This policy is designed to cover damage to your home and materials, including those not installed yet. We can help you verify whether you should require this from your contractor, based on your renovation project.

Advice for Do-It-Yourselfers

If you decide to do it alone and manage a renovation yourself, you assume all the risks. A review of your homeowners coverage for liability and property is prudent, as you are assuming more risks and exposures than contemplated by homeowners insurance.

Hiring subcontractors who can provide you with a “Certificate of Insurance” or copies of their policies showing their general liability and workers’ compensation coverage is mandatory for your legal protection. Otherwise, you could be subject to workers’ compensation laws, should they become injured while working on your home. If a friend or relative helps out as a favor and gets injured, your homeowners insurance typically covers the cost of their injuries, up to your policy limits. For an extra layer of protection, it’s a good idea to also carry umbrella liability coverage, which kicks in to provide liability coverage above your homeowners limits.

Insuring the Real Value of Your Home

Experts estimate that 1 out of 4 remodeling projects adds at least 25 percent to the value of a home, yet often most homeowners forget to increase their coverage to protect their investment. Most homeowners insurance policies require 100 percent of the home’s replacement cost, so it’s important to raise your home’s policy limit before your project begins.

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 4:45 pm February 22, 2017

Home Fire Safety

christmas-candle-1419989Because many holiday traditions take place in the home, it’s also the peak time for home fires according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Here are some things to consider to keep your home and your family safe this holiday season:

• Never try to fight a fire yourself—instead, call 911 immediately. According to the NFPA, 55 percent of all civilians who are injured in home fires are hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
• Stay in the kitchen when you’re cooking, so you can always keep an eye on your food.
• Check your home’s smoke detectors to ensure they’re working. Your home should have at least one smoke alarm on every level, and preferably one outside every bedroom. Check every smoke alarm once a month to ensure that it’s functional and loud enough to wake you up in the event of a fire.
• Keep all flammable materials and fire starters up high where children won’t be able to reach them.
• Check your home’s electrical systems to ensure that they in working condition, and that no power outlet is overburdened with appliances.
• Make sure that any medications, glasses or other essential materials are easily accessible if you must escape your home quickly.
• Make a fire escape plan with your family, and practice it at least twice a year. You should identify two ways to escape from every room in your home in case flames or smoke block an exit.

It’s important to review your homeowners or renters insurance to ensure that your home and personal belongings are covered for fire damage. Contact Warren G. Bender Co. today to see how you’re covered.

Filed under: Personal Insurance,Safety — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:33 pm November 25, 2016