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Staged Accident Fraud

Staged accidents are a common type of insurance fraud. Often, dishonest drivers will maneuver innocent motorists into auto crashes. While your car may only suffer minor damages, fraudsters can make large claims for fake injuries or charge your auto insurance company for damage.

The following are some tips on how to avoid becoming the victim of a staged auto accident:

• Call the police immediately if you’re in an accident.
• Report accident claims immediately. Don’t settle on-site with cash.
• Use medical, car repair and legal professionals you know and trust.
• Drive defensively and don’t follow other vehicles too closely.

The best way to protect yourself after an accident occurs is to take detailed notes. The more information you have, the more equipped you are to fight a fraudulent claim. When possible, your notes should include driver’s license numbers, car insurance information, names, addresses and phone numbers of all parties involved in a crash.

Filed under: Auto,Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:03 pm February 21, 2018

Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim

Accidents and natural disasters can strike without warning, causing costly damage to your home, vehicles and personal belongings. When this happens, you will have to file an insurance claim in order for your policy to kick in and recoup your losses.

In order to get the most out of the claims process, consider the following tips:

• Call your insurer as soon as an incident occurs. The quicker you get the process moving, the better. After you’ve contacted your insurer, you can ask an adjuster to come and inspect the damage.

• Document your losses before the adjuster comes. Make a thorough list of property that has been impacted by a disaster. Provide purchase receipts, or estimate how much the belongings cost and when you bought them.

• Take photographs of the accident scene, and don’t throw out damaged items before notifying your insurer.

Above all, it’s important to document the claims process, noting when you speak with your insurers and what the conversations entailed. This will help you track the amount of reimbursement you should receive and allow you to keep a record of insurance claims for future use.

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 11:25 pm January 17, 2018

2018 Impending Changes to the ISO Personal Auto Policy

Written by Denise Metz, Vice President Personal Risk Management, Partner

In California, insurance companies use some version of an Insurance Service Office (ISO) form. Most companies alter them in some fashion but because they are the base form used, it is important to know when there are changes. Keep in mind, some companies will adapt these changes while others may not. Below is a summary of the personal auto changes coming in 2018. To view all changes please visit the ISO website or contact our office.

1) Newly acquired auto:

a. ISO Current Form: Newly acquired vehicles are covered until the end of policy term if it is a replacement vehicle.
b. 2018 New ISO form: Must report within 14 days of purchase.

2) Endorsements:

a. Ride Sharing, Livery, etc.
i. ISO Current Form: Ride sharing, Livery, etc. is attached to ISO form by endorsement.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: This will now be part of the policy and not by endorsement.

b. Transportation Expense:
i. ISO Current Form: Provides $15 a day.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Higher limit will be available.

c. Named Non-Owner:
i. ISO Current Form: Only liability is available.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Will be able to obtain Comprehensive and Collision coverage.

3) Exclusions:

a. Custom Equipment:
i. ISO Current Form: Custom equipment and furnishing are excluded for pickups/trucks.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Custom equipment will be excluded for all vehicles not just pickups/trucks.

b. Racing:
i. ISO Current Form: Excluded only in a racing facility.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Broadens exclusion to include driver skill training/events.

c. Flying Car:
i. ISO Current Form: No current exclusion.
ii. 2018 New ISO form: Exclusion included.

4) New Endorsements offered by ISO in 2018 (most companies already provide these):

a. Full Glass
b. Key replacement
c. Child Restraint
d. Vehicle Replacement Cost
e. Pet Injury
f. Significant other/Domestic Partners can be covered as insured
g. Other members of your household (live in friend, nanny, etc.) can be covered as insured

Have questions on how your policy could be affected? Contact us for assistance: 916-380-5300

Filed under: Auto,Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 12:59 am December 28, 2017

Advanced Planning for Hurricanes and Other Disasters

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma caused widespread damage and forced businesses to close their doors and focus on the immediate safety of their employees and customers. Unfortunately, once a hurricane, flood or other disaster passes, a business isn’t necessarily out of danger. Recovering from a disaster can be extremely expensive, and many workplaces don’t have a plan in place to implement important safety and continuity policies.

Even if your business wasn’t affected by the recent hurricanes, any type of disaster can lead to devastating damage and prolonged business interruptions. Taking the time to plan ahead for a worst-case scenario can help give your business the time it needs to protect your employees, property and finances. Here are some steps you can take to prepare your business for a disaster:

• Learn the types of disaster that are most likely to affect your area.
• Inspect your insurance policies to see if there are any gaps in your coverage. For example, some policies may only provide coverage if a business suffers physical damage.

Call us at (916) 380-5300 for resources and toolkits that can help you create a business continuity plan. We can help you establish a plan that takes a number of important topics into consideration, including safety, health, communication, property protection, recovery and employee training.

Filed under: Personal Insurance,Property & Casualty — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 9:00 pm October 25, 2017

Serving on a Non-profit Board can be Risky Business: Non-profit directors and officers (D&O) liability

It’s common for affluent individuals to take on board positions for non-profit organizations as a way of offering their leadership skills and connections to serve their local communities. These organizations and their directors and officers can be exposed to lawsuits for mismanagement of funds, negligent acts, errors and omissions, breach of duty, misleading statements, or wrongful employment acts such as discrimination, retaliation, failure to employ or promote, or wrongful demotion.

According to the 2014 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy, nearly half of all survey participants served on a non-profit board. According to a Towers Watson 2013 D&O survey, 63% of its non-profit respondents had been subject to a D&O claim in the past 10 years. The Nonprofit Risk Management Center reports that 85% of all non-profit insurance claims filed under D&O liability policies are employment related. Even if allegations against you are groundless, you will incur costs to hire an attorney, which can add up very quickly when defending a claim. Adding the non-profit director and officer endorsement to your Nationwide Private Client personal excess liability policy will allow you to focus more time on helping the non-profit and less time worrying about a claim.

How you may be at risk

You sit on a non-profit board and cause an actual or alleged negligent act, error or omission, misleading statement, or breach of duty resulting in a lawsuit against you.
A wrongful act could come from:
• Acts such as employment-related discrimination, slander or defamation, wrongful failure to employ or promote, or wrongful demotion
• Conflict of interest, breach of contract, or fraudulent financial statements
• Mismanagement of funds such as assets being sold for unreasonably low prices or wasting assets
• Errors in judgment such as dissemination of false information, misleading statements or improper guarantees
• Negligence such as breach of duty, failure to review documents before signing, or failure to detect or
stop embezzlement

Claims could be filed against you by parties outside of the organization including donors or beneficiaries, organization members or employees, other directors or officers of the organization, or government officials.

How Nationwide Private Client responds

If you serve as a director or officer of a qualifying not for profit organization, Nationwide Private Client offers our optional non-profit director and officer coverage, with limits up to $1 million, that can be added to your personal excess liability policy. This coverage includes costs for defense up to the limit.

If you have questions or are interested in this coverage, contact us at 916-380-5300.

Filed under: Personal Insurance — Jillian Bender-Cormier @ 7:03 pm