Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

 If you retire, did you know that you can still be sued if you sold a defective product or performed faulty work and someone or their property is injured or damaged because of it?  If you don’t renew your liability insurance when you retire, what are you to do?

The coverage under the CGL policies you have purchased for years is triggered by an “occurrence.”  This concept is one of the most misunderstood in liability insurance.  It is true that an “occurrence” policy could provide coverage for accidents that happen well after the policy has been in force.  However, the agreement in the policy says that for insurance to apply, the bodily injury or property damage must occur during the policy period.

Consider the example of a contractor who has retired to the sun and is surprised to receive a call from a familiar voice from the past.  It’s his insurance agent, informing him that a deck he installed on a home two years ago collapsed during a party.  A claim is being filed against him for the injuries and damage to the home resulting from the accident.  In this case, the “occurrence” happened after the expiration date of the CGL policy.

For anyone who had a business that provided products or services, liability can follow you forever.  To address the risk of the unknown, insurance companies have developed insurance called discontinued operations liability.  This policy will continue to provide liability insurance to you even after your interest in a business ceases.

Call or email your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY representative for more information on this insurance coverage.

Copyright 2008-2015 by the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Inc.

The road is rough and potentially worse ahead.

Commercial auto premiums increased 2.65% in April, 2017, over the same period in 2016.  Making matters worse, auto loss costs increased 20% between 2012 and 2015, according to the Insurance Services Office.

Everyone involved with commercial auto insurance would do well to understand the factors behind this surge and what they can do to better manage exposure and expenses.

Six factors fuel the deteriorating performance of commercial auto insurance:

  • More traffic – The number of miles driven is at an all-time high.
  • Distracted drivers – ¼ of all crashes involve drivers talking or texting on cell phones.
  • Growing medical costs – Medical inflation is soaring 1.5 times faster than general inflation.
  • More accidents and more expensive crashes – Both the frequency and severity of accidents are increasing.
  • Inexperienced drivers – There is a shortage of skilled commercial drivers with good driving records.
  • Rising auto repair costs – Record US auto sales mean the roads are full of newer cars that are more expensive to repair.

Here are nine specific steps to better manage this line of insurance:

  • Implement a fleet safety program – Understand what’s causing accidents, set goals for improving performance and develop a detailed plan.
  • Enforce company policy on vehicle use – Clearly define who can use a company vehicle and create a process for approving who can drive their personal car on company business.
  • Hire qualified drivers – Professional drivers are a company’s first line of defense against accidents.
  • Consider a company fleet – Minimize the potential exposure of employees using their personal vehicles for company business.
  • Train drivers – Be sure they get the company’s total commitment to safety and its central role as a core corporate strategy never to be compromised.
  • Regularly check driving records – Set a schedule for checking driving records of all your drivers – professional and employees.
  • Use telematics – Many fleets work with telematics vendors to help manage fuel, delivery routes and maintenance. These systems can also play a key role in tracking and improving driver performance.
  • Review all crashes – Provide drivers with accident kits that help collect key information immediately following an accident.
  • Explore increasing primary auto coverage limits – Growing medical, legal and repair costs have eroded the protection provided by the current standard one million dollar coverage limit. Work with your agent to identify the benefits of increasing the primary limit and attaching to the excess policy at a higher level.

The challenges with the commercial auto line are clear.  So, too, is the route to better managing that line to protect employees, the public and a company’s bottom line.

Aug 10, 2017 from Property & Casualty 360 Degrees

Selecting a reliable, trustworthy tenant to occupy your commercial property is one of the most important parts of owning investment real estate. To select tenants who will treat your property with respect, consider the following suggestions:

General Suggestions

  • Keep your property in good condition. Make sure it is clean and tidy and that everything is up to date and in good working order.
  • Set rent at a rate comparable to similar properties in the area. It’s good to have some room for negotiation, but asking too much may deter desirable applicants from considering your property.
  • Properly screen all applicants to determine their credentials. Do not rely on their word to validate their background and credit history.
  • Remain patient as you screen potential renters. Since removing bad tenants is quite costly, remaining patient for a good tenant is worthwhile.
  • If you are having problems renting a larger property, consider if it would be beneficial to adapt it into multiple smaller spaces.
  • Consider any vehicle access needs a potential tenant may have. Find out if they need parking and if what you can offer is enough. Also ask about any large volume delivery needs that may require places to load or unload vehicles without disrupting traffic or other nearby businesses.
  • Consider the impact on the current tenants or neighbors of renting to a potential tenant. Will the potential tenants cause a noise disturbance? Pollution? Conflict business with current tenants?
  • When choosing between prospective tenants, keep in mind how long of a lease they are willing to sign. Long-term tenants save you the trouble and expense of having to find new renters, and they also give you a more consistent cash flow.
  • When renting out your property, make all tenants sign a Tenancy or Lease Agreement. Outline who will pay for utilities, take care of snow removal, maintenance duties, lawn care and similar responsibilities.
  • Include the insurance requirements of both parties, such as the landlord’s responsibility to insure the building and premises as well as the tenant’s responsibilities to insure all contents.
  • If you have multiple units, it may help to hire a property manager who can conduct background checks, screen applicants and keep the property in solid working order. This will take some of the burden off you and will make them the point of contact once the property is rented.

Create great fishing memories for your children

 No matter what season is winding down, the next season is just another reason to spend on the water in the boat with rod in hand. One of the best ways to enjoy boating and fishing in Missouri is to share the fun with others – especially your kids or grandkids.

While expert anglers tend to know the ropes of both boating and fishing on local lakes and rivers,  there are still many mishaps that can occur if the excursion is not well-planned and strategically executed. This is especially crucial when you have little ones along for the ride.

The next time you’re gearing up with your offspring to go after the ‘big one,’ make sure that it’s as enjoyable as you anticipate by considering the following guidelines.

Only if weather permits. Check the weather forecast in detail, using your favorite app, before you head out onto the water. In many climates, weather can change quickly and drastically, ushering in unexpected storms that could scare your children and put you all in harm’s way 

Dress yourself – and your little ones – for the adventure. Though it may seem obvious, it can get slippery out on the boat or the dock! Ensure stable footing for all by making sure you and your kids are wearing shoes that grip boat floors and slick rocks and docks.

Make safety a game. It’s important to be equipped with everything you need for safety and protection – from flashlights and sunscreen to plenty of water and life preservers – but you can also make it fun for the kids. For example, make them the keepers of the radio or the person who makes sure everyone is wearing a hat or sunglasses for protection from the sun.

Be hyper-vigilant about dangerous items. The sport of fishing is accompanied by some sharp items – hooks and knives to name just two. Make sure you have these items in a locked tackle box to ensure no one accidentally gets hurt.

Follow boating rules. Make sure your boat is in good standing by adhering to all the laws of the lough. To find these, research the body of water you’re going to be fishing on before you head out

At Naught-Naught Agency , we hope your fall family fishing outings become lifetime memories!

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Pain and stress can end up causing physical, mental or emotional issues. Often this physical or emotional pain significantly impacts our health, happiness and overall quality of life. Learning how to relax can lessen the impact that this pain has on your life.

The Pain Cycle

Perhaps the first step to healing ourselves is learning to better understand how our body reacts to and deals with stress and pain. Once pain occurs, whether from an injury or other source, your psychological reaction to it can have a strong effect on its intensity and duration. For some people, pain can become a vicious cycle: pain causes anxiety and tension, and anxiety and tension cause more pain. Many common health disorders, such as migraines, involve tension as a contributing source of the initial pain. By using relaxation techniques, one can release tension, greatly reduce certain types of pain and sometimes actually prevent the pain from occurring. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation and breathing exercises, are simple methods you can use to relax and break your pain cycle.

Meditation as Medicine

Meditation is an activity that can calm your mind and keep you focused on the present. In a meditative state, you can clear your mind of cluttered thoughts and memories. Studies even show meditation is effective in controlling anxiety, enhancing the immune system and reducing conditions such as high blood pressure, substance abuse and chronic pain. There are numerous kinds of meditative techniques, but concentrative, mindful and transcendental are the most common.

During concentrative meditation you focus your attention on a single sound, object or breathing pattern to bring about a calm, tranquil mind.

During mindful meditation, you keep your mind aware, but you do not react to sensations, feelings or images going on around you.

During transcendental meditation, you put your body at full rest but keep your mind fully alert, bringing about a deep state of relaxation.

Benefits of Better Breathing

Breathing is not only an important part of the meditative process, but used independently can be another effective self-help technique. Shallow or poor breathing contributes to many health disorders as well. Even though breathing is an automatic response, there are times when mentally adjusting the way we breathe can benefit our health and sense of well-being. For example, breathing deeply from your abdomen rather than your chest increases your oxygen intake. Shallow breathing inhibits the release of carbon dioxide from your body, creating an imbalance that can contribute to poor health. By practicing proper breathing techniques, you can increase your lung capacity and energy levels, speed the healing process of many disorders, and relieve anxiety, insomnia and stress.

Life is full of unexpected frustrations.   Running late, spilling coffee on yourself or getting into an argument can start your day off on the wrong foot.  The good news is that you can control your mood and prevent these obstacles from ruining your entire day.

The most important thing you can do is to focus on the positive.  Studies show that when you’re positive, you have 23% fewer health-related effects from stress, you’re 31% more productive, you’re 40% more likely to receive a promotion and your creativity levels triple.

Here are a few ways to turn a bad day around:

  • Pinpoint the concrete reason for your frustration and address it immediately.
  • Write down or recite 3 things you are grateful for.
  • Choose not to be a victim of your frustration. Make a conscious effort to be positive.
  • Set realistic expectations for your day.

Negative emotions can be contagious.  It is worth taking control of your mood – not just for yourself- but for those around you.

Zywave, Inc.

You can’t pinpoint the ideal amount of life insurance you should buy down to the penny.  But you make a sound estimate if you consider your current financial situation and imagine what your loved ones will need in the coming years.

In general, you should find your ideal life insurance policy amount by calculating your long-term financial obligations and then subtracting your assets.  The remainder is the gap that life insurance will have to fill.  But it can be difficult to know what to include in your calculations, so there are several widely circulated rules of thumb meant to help you decide the right coverage amount.  Here are a few of them:

Rule of thumb No. 1:  Multiply your income by 10

It’s not a bad rule, but based on the economy today, it’s outdated.  The “10 times income” rule doesn’t take a detailed look at your family’s needs, nor does it take into account your savings or existing life insurance policies.  And it doesn’t provide a coverage amount for stay-at-home parents.

Both parents should be insured.  That’s because the value provided by the stay-at-home parent needs to be replaced if he or she dies.  At bare minimum, the remaining parent would have to pay someone to provide the services, such as child care, that the stay-at-home parent provided for free.

Rule of thumb No. 2:  Buy 10 times your income, plus $100,000 per child for college expenses

Education expenses are an important component of your life insurance calculation if you have kids.  This formula adds another layer to the “10 times income” rule, but it still doesn’t take a deep look at all of your family’s needs, assets or any life insurance coverage already in place.

Rule of thumb No. 3:  The DIME formula

This formula encourages you to take a more detailed look at your finances than the other two.  DIME stand for debt, income, mortgage and education, four areas that you should consider when calculating your life insurance needs.

Debt and final expenses:  Add up your debts, other than your mortgage, plus an estimate of your funeral expenses

Income:  Decide for how many years your family would need support, and multiply your annual income by that number.  The multiplier might be the number of years before your youngest child graduates from high school.

Mortgage:  Calculate the amount you need to pay off your mortgage.

Education:  Estimate the cost of sending your kids to college.

This formula is more comprehensive, but it doesn’t account for the life insurance coverage and savings you already have, and it doesn’t consider the unpaid contributions a stay-at-home parent makes.

How to find your best number

 Follow this general philosophy to find your own target coverage amount:  financial obligations minus liquid assets.

  1. Calculate obligations: Add your annual salary (times the number of years that you want to replace income) + your mortgage balance + your other debts + future needs such as college and funeral costs.  If you’re a stay-at-home parent, include the cost to replace the services that you provide, such as child care.
  2. From that, subtract liquid assets such as: savings + existing college funds + current life insurance.

Tips to keep in mind

Rather than planning life insurance in isolation, consider the purchase as part of an overall financial plan.  That plan should take into account future expenses, such as college costs, and the future growth of your income or assets.

Talk the numbers through with your spouse.  How much money does your spouse think the family would need to carry on without you?  Do your estimates make sense to him or her?  For example, would your family need to replace your full income, or just a portion?

Consider buying multiple, smaller life insurance policies, instead of one larger policy, to vary your coverage as your needs ebb and flow.  For instance, you could buy a 30-year term policy to cover your spouse until your retirement and a 20-year term policy to cover your children until they graduate from college.  Parents of young children should consider 30-year versus 20-year terms to give them plenty of time to build up assets.  With a longer term, you’re less likely to get caught short and have to shop for coverage again when you’re older and rates are higher.

An area of possible confusion regarding auto policies is what vehicles should be insured on a commercial auto policy and what vehicles are more appropriately insured on a personal auto policy.  It is important to make this distinction in order to be certain coverage IS available for each and every vehicle.

The key questions to be asked are these:

  • Who owns the vehicle?
  • Who drives the vehicle?
  • How is auto used?
  • Does the title match the named insured?
  • Is the business in question a sole proprietorship, corporation or LLC?

Your NAUGHT-NAUGHT AGENCY representative is available to discuss these issues with you to make sure your vehicles ARE covered in case of an accident or loss.

Congratulations!  You have reached a milestone in your life; AARP’s mailing list.  There are scarier things than being on a mailing list; and, entering the world of Medicare is close to the top of that list.  You are being inundated with mailers, phone calls, and TV and radio ads.  The government has tried to help simplify the process by dividing Medicare into four “Parts” and then allowing you to buy Plans.  If you do not sign up when you should, you get a fine for the rest of your life.  This leads to not only confusion but also fear when planning. To help set your mind at ease, here are three things to think about as you approach your big decision.

1. Alphabet Soup

It is important to understand what Medicare is and how it works.  Medicare has four “Parts” – each with their own purpose. These plans are designed to help cover major medical expenses like inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice and home health care doctors’ services, outpatient care and other medically necessary services.  While all very similar, some types of plans are managed by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. These plans have discretion to assign their own copays, deductibles and coinsurance.  Drug coverage is a separate plan provided by private Medicare-approved companies, and you must pay a monthly premium.

2. When to sign up?

65 years is the official Medicare age although the age may be a little higher in some instances.  The answer to this question largely depends on whether or not you have health insurance through your employer.  It is possible for you to have Medicare and your employer-based health insurance at the same time.  Your employer cannot force you off the group plan because you have turned 65.  Now, maybe those Millennials are not so bad and you decide to work a few more years.  You can choose to stay on your employer’s health plan and not be penalized for signing up for Medicare.  When you do finally decide to hang it up, you will have a “Special Enrollment Period” and not be penalized for a late entry.

3. Who’s on First?

Do you need a “Medi-Gap” plan or want a “Supplement”?  The truth is… they are the same thing.  You must first be enrolled in Medicare to be eligible for Medicare supplement plans. Medicare Supplements are plans designed by the federal government to fill in the “gaps” that the Medicare plans you choose do not cover such as the deductible, copays and coinsurance.  Each Supplement is designed to cover different aspects of Medicare thereby establishing different price points for consumers.  Make no mistake; Medicare is very different than a Supplement.  The main reason for getting a supplement is to control your monthly costs.  When you are on a fixed income, it is easier to budget for a known expense rather than address big spikes in expenses due to health related issues that may arise throughout the year.  Medicare Supplements are sold by private insurance carriers, and can be purchased through a local broker.

This information may provide some clarity and set your mind at ease. However, keep in mind this is a general overview of the program and will not answer all your questions.  Like a puzzle, Medicare can offer great coverage when all the pieces are put together in the right way. Before committing to your unique plan design, it is worthwhile to consult with a knowledgeable provider.