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Posts Tagged ‘personal insurance’

I was surprised at the level of interest in my post a few weeks ago referencing the often overlooked (and uninsured) risk of “personal injury”. For those who missed it, I reminded readers of the need to be aware of this risk, especially for those with children who are active on social media websites.

I recently learned that Peter Spicer, one of the personal insurance industry’s true thought leaders, sat down with NJ.com last year to explain the often overlooked consequences of sharing so much information so freely on the internet.  To read Spicer’s thoughts on on NJ.com click here(it should be noted that while Spicer was working at Chubb at the time of the interview, he’s now working with Ace Private Risk Services, and remains a great source of information on this and other topics concerning personal risk).   

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There are many examples to support my strongly held belief that proper insurance planning is not a DIY project. One recent example: when the mainstream press offers guidance on how to manage your risks, be aware that such stories often omit important pieces of information that can leave you and your family’s assets exposed to uncovered losses

In a recent article by Paul Sullivan, the highly acclaimed Wealth Matters columnist for The New York Times, readers are urged to understand and manage the many insurable risks associated with children attending college. Mr. Sullivan begins by reminding his readers that “insurable risks faced by college students have gone up tremendously in the decades since their parents lugged stereos and crates of vinyl records into dormitory rooms”.  So far, so good. 

So, you ask, just what are these new risks facing college students in the 21st Century? Surprisingly, instead of learning about any new insurable risks that have “gone up tremendously”, readers are simply reminded of the usual and obvious risks that I sure hope every parent already knows to prepare for: theft of valuable items, automobile claims, serving alcohol, trip and fall injuries, and identity theft.  While the risk of identity theft has surely risen in the past decade, readers are left to wonder what are the other risks that have actually “gone up tremendously in the decades since…stereos and…records”, as the article forewarns???  

Unfortunately, there actually are risks facing college students and their families that are on the rise, and although these risks were not revealed in this article, you can learn about them here.  Consider for a moment the liability risks (and defense costs) that can arise from your student’s improper use of e mail, blogs, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and webcams.  Had The New York Times consulted this risk advisor, they would have learned to warn readers of the increased risk of “personal injury” — the very broad and overlooked category of risks that all parents of teenagers should understand and secure protection for.  Not to be confused with bodily injury, “personal injury” refers to those injuries that don’t affect the body. These include false arrest, wrongful eviction or entry, invasion of the right of privacy in a room or dwelling, slander and defamation, or the violation of the person’s right to privacy.

Few consumers (or even traditional insurance agents, for that matter) ever examine whether coverage for the increasingly real risk of “personal injury” is even covered by the policies that provide their family’s personal liability protection.  Especially for families with children in high school or college, consumers should learn if the liability insurance covering the actions of their family members includes coverage for “personal injury”, as a great many personal insurance policies do not. If your policies do not provide this important protection, contact me for access to the handful of carriers that provide policies that do.  And —- please do not rely on newspaper articles for guidance on how to craft your insurance program, even those appearing in The New York Times.  

For a link to the New York Times article that omits this important information: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/18/your-money/home-insurance/18wealth.html?pagewanted=print

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Almost forever, consumers who have wanted “the very best” in personal insurance protection have placed their coverage with Chubb. While Chubb has remained the leading insurer of fine homes and valuable articles, they have also seen a marked decrease in the number of automobiles they insure over the past decade. Mass marketers, offering variations of the “save x %  in y minutes” (those savings are funded by coverage that is often very deficient after a large loss, by the way), have caused Chubb to research and introduce a new approach to pricing their program that rewards those families who have the best risk characteristics.

The result? Chubb is recapturing many of the automobile accounts they lost to the “better deal” carriers in the past decade.  This isn’t just a price play; in many cases Chubb not only competes well on cost, but provides vastly improved protection. If you or your clients have not seen an automobile coverage offer from  Chubb in the past 6 months, we can help you evaluate the many reasons to also regard Chubb as “the very best” in automobile insurance.

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I cringe each time I see major insurance carriers advertising their coverage using “save ___% in __ minutes” or “name your own price” deceptive sales pitches. Most sophisticated consumers understand that in order to significantly lower insurance costs, certain sacrifices in protection (known or unknown) lurk somewhere in the fine print.

Meanwhile —- there IS a way to purchase high limit personal excess liability (often referred to as “umbrella” coverage) at costs between 30 and 50% below the prevailing market costs. Often, coverage enhancements can be included that even expand the protection normally available with such policies. More coverage at a lower cost —– but how?

As always, there is a “catch”: more protection for less money can be arranged only when carriers are presented with a large enough group of applicants who comprise an eligible “Group”. “Group Personal Excess Liability” (GPEL) is a concept that has been around for decades, and is regarded as a valuable voluntary benefit at many large corporations.

The leading underwriters for this product are Chubb, CNA, Chartis, Fireman’s Fund and Ace. The differences in eligibility, costs, and coverage features offered by each carrier are subtle, yet important. Generally, the program is most successful in a workplace with a group of 10 or more participants seeking liability limits of $5 million or more. For larger groups, the coverage enhancements, ease of enrollment and cost discounts can become very meaningful. I’d be happy to have a conversation to help you examine whether this program can benefit you and others you know, or clients you advise.

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Shocked MonopolyWith alarming frequency, the media reports heart wrenching stories of insurance consumers who have had a significant property or liability loss, only to learn after the loss that the insurance policy they have purchased does not provide the proper coverage.   

While the reasons for an uncovered loss vary, I provide this one page overview  that details the three leading causes for uncovered personal property and casualty losses, and the solutions that are available to help prevent them.  Why not help those you know to examine these solutions —- before a loss occurs.

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