From An Agents Prospective 5/22/2013

This year seems to gone by without any incident so far in 2013. No major hail, no crazy wild fires, well at least not yet. Last year in Colorado, we had a ton of hail and wild fires. Property Insurance companies lost Billions of dollars, homes were destroyed, and people were displaced.

As an indirect consequence, a lot of consumers opened up their home insurance renewals this year, only to see insurance has gone up. For some people, it went WAY up. Especially for people who live in Colorado Springs. Some homeowners saw their premiums double. This is due to the inevitable fact, that the cost of these claims eventually gets passed onto the consumer.

I am hoping we can dodge a couple of bullets this year. The Colorado Property Insurance  market has become incredibly hard for insurance companies to figure out. This is not only due to losses in the Calendar year of 2012, but also previous years.

Lets pray that we get no more wind, hail and wild fires this year. In the long run this will be good for consumers. This is so they don’t keep seeing their pocket-book hit each year, with extra cost in Homeowners insurance.

Why An Evacuation Plan & Being Prepared Is So Importortant

As an insurance agent for the past five years, I have been through experiences and have seen a lot of things that have made me more wise.   My job has been to insure people against the unforseen. To help them protect their families, lives, wealth, assets and property.  I see things a lot differently these days since starting my agency. Being an insurance agent has taught me a lot about risk management. I’ve  also learned a great deal outside of my work too. This has all changed my perspective in life over the years.

On September 11th, 2001, our world in the United States was turned upside down. We were attacked by terrorist in ways never even seen before. Tragically about 3,000 people were lost their lives.   Some lost lives  by jumping out of the towers, because they couldn’t escape.  Everyone’s security bubble was popped, and people woke up to see the times we live in to be crazy.   People were scared and I’ll admit, so was I.  At this point no one was truly “safe” any more. No one truly understood what had happened but it did  pull a lot people back into reality. It made us realize how delicate modern-day society can be, and just how precious life is.  This event created a lot of questions for myself over the past years.  It did for a lot of people.  It made me think deep and hard.  It made me draw the conclusion:   always be prepared for anything, and always keep a positive attitude for the best.

This past year in Colorado alone, we have seen hundreds of homes damaged or completely destroyed by wildfires. Lives were lost.  Colorado has been extremely dry in 2012, and this has sparked a condition for wildfires to break out. This occurred throughout the entire state. Then it happened. Wildfires broke out all over the place at different times of the year. They included, the Little Sand Fire, The Treasure Fire, Weber, Waldo and Flagstaff,  Lower North Fork, The High Park, Springer, Woodland, Last Chance, Ironing Board and Pine Ridge.  These wildfires have easily exceeded over $500,000,000 in damage and lives were lost.

The Waldo Canyon Fire that occurred in Colorado Springs was, in my opinion, almost unbelievable. Colorado Springs is just about an hour south of Denver. Colorado Springs is a small city. According to a 2010 Census, over 400,000 people live in the city. Metro Colorado Springs  includes around 650,000 people. They have small skyscrapers, and the city is wealthy. 

This modern, wealthy city faced wild-fire perils on the west side of the town that were unthinkable t starting  from June 23rd until the end of August. This was the quote “suppose to never happen”. Even though the west side of Colorado Springs is close to the Rocky Mountains and is in wild-fire area, the thought of the Waldo Canyon Fire getting that big and moving that far into a modern city, was truly “unthinkable”. Even with all the modern-day fire equipment, people, planes and tactics, the fire at times was quote “almost unstoppable”.

These are just two events in modern history, where “hell” literally broke out and caused havoc. Once caused by man, the other by nature. Most people were unprepared. They were to complacent. They also had the attitude of “it’ll never happen to me”. I know it’s extremely hard to prepare for a plane crashing into a skyscraper, and the same could be said about a wildfire literally breaking out in the middle of a city. But I believe situational awareness, planning, mindset and other factors can go a long way.

What happens when a fire fighter knocks on your door and says, “you have 10 minutes to leave”?. What if it’s not even a wildfire threatening your life, but something else. What if it is a terrorist attack? What about a flood? What if there is civil break down and unrest and there is no rule of law? There are many scenarios. And if you are one of those “it will never happen” people, look to the past. History will prove my point.

Everyone should have a plan. Unfortunately not many people do. Your plan needs to include all possible aspects and possibilities. Wildfires, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, civil unrest and disorder and any other possibilities which are unique to your situation and geographic area need to be considered.   For example,  if you live off the beach in California, you probably won’t have to worry about sitting out a week-long winter in your house. But you would have to worry about earthquakes.

Here are some of my tips on creating a plan. This also comes from more that just my experience in insurance.

  1. You need to scout and brainstorm all scenarios of all possibilities in your area. For example If you are in a flood area, your plan should be based off not just one,  but many possibilities.
  2. Build your plan. The plan should include all family members, no matter where you  are at.(work, school, etc) Have a meeting point A, B, C and etc. This will let you reunite with family, especially if one of the family members gets mixed up in all the havoc.
  3. Include your family, friends, neighbors and whoever else you can trust in you plan.
  4. Have bug out bags. If you need to get out in 5 minutes, you have to be out in 5 minutes! Everyone should have a bug out bag in the family. For more info on bug out bags, Google it! There is a ton of info out there on them.
  5. Be ready to possibly bug in. If you have civil unrest and there is no rule of law, don’t go far from Dodge!  Best thing is to turn into a ghost.
  6. Be prepared with supplies! If you’re not, and if there is an emergency, grocery shelves will be empty. Just google about empty grocery shelves on you tube during Katrina. There are plenty of peppers on you tube that can give you good advice. I am not saying to have 5 years worth of food, but a good back up supply won’t hurt. Don’t forget other things, such as extra fuel, propane, candles, medicine, communication, maps and etc.
  7. Be able to protect you and your family. Yes, have some sort of defense plan. As we all know the gun is a great equalizer. I personally think a Gun is your best defense. If you don’t like guns, have something else! When thugs are looting your neighbor and every single cop is busy in the city, the only law left is between you and the thugs. When they get to your house, you don’t want you or your family to be victims.
  8. Have locations B and C as bug out locations. Maybe the city has become unsafe and now its time to get out of Dodge. You, family and friends all need to know these locations. It wouldn’t  hurt to have location D. This can be very important for reuniting later on.
  9. There are many more tips out there for being prepared and having a plan. In my opinion, there is no such thing as doing something wrong. A lot of it is personal preference. Go out and do more research. Find what is best for you.

So all in all, be prepared and have a plan! Don’t forget the 5 basic needs of survival. Water, Food, Shelter, Fire(heat) and Security. The last position you want to be in are like the unprepared people from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. No water, no food, no nothing. You wouldn’t also want to end up in the New Orleans Super Dome of lawlessness.  You never know what might be around the next corner or what lies in the future. Don’t be a “it’ll never happen to me” person. Because when the Calvary can’t come rescue you, it’ll be just you and your family, friends and neighbors. The best thing is always to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

How to Choose The Right Contractor After An Insurance Claim

Choosing the right contractor after a claim can be tough. So in this blog I am going to discuss  how to locate the right contractor, and how to deal with the contractor during the process of the project. My standpoint and advice is coming directly from my knowledge and experience as an insurance agent.

First you need to find the right contractor. This can be done in many ways;  through the internet, recommendation from a friend, a door knocker and etc. Recommendations directly from your insurance company are not always the best. The contractors tend to favor the insurance companies and what they want to do, versus working solely for you. If you have an insurance broker or agent recommending a contracting company, they will generally work in the client’s favor.  (Brokers & agents need to keep their clients happy if they wish to retain business) I personally have a couple of contractors I recommend.

Be very careful about door knockers (solicitors that come in after a catastrophe, such as a wildfire or bad hail store.) Though not all cases but most likely, these are illegitimate people  who take your money and jump state.  Be very careful of contractors  from out-of-state.

Once you have found a contractor who you like, check them  out. See if he or she is  accredited with the BBB, or the Chamber of Commerce. Look on the internet for reviews(be careful sometimes they can be fake), see how long they have been in business, ask for recommendations and ask to see recent jobs they have completed  (not pictures of work but an actual address you can go see and look a completed project).  Also ask for a list of suppliers. Suppliers will be able to tell you how good and reputable a contractor is.

Now you have done your research and you have decided that the contractors are worthy of completing work for you. Now they are going to ask for you to both sign a contract. First of all, read everything in the contract. DON’T EVER SIGN ANYTHING UNLESS YOU HAVE READ IT AND UNDERSTAND IT! Make sure everything is under your conditions and the circumstance you want. Make sure there is also a grace period for you to back out without  stipulations. Don’t ever sign a contract that is incomplete or blank. Make sure you get an exact copy of what you sign.

Next the contractor is going to ask for money down or half down. My advice is NEVER  GIVE A CONTRACTOR ANY MONEY UNTIL THE PROJECT IS COMPLETE. If they can’t complete a job without any money down, then they are not a real contractor. A good contractor can get any job done, without any money down or up front cost.

Before a contractor shows up to any job site, make sure you get the following from he or she. A Certificate of Insurance, this should include general liability with a minimum one million in liability, workman’s comp, and commercial auto insurance with at least a half million dollar liability limit. Do not directly accept the certificate from the contractor. Get it directly from the insurance company or agent. They are too easy to fake. If you feel wary about the certificate call the company or agency. Make sure that the contractor has also pulled a permit through the proper authorities. Also, NEVER sign for any materials that gets delivered to the job site.  Once you sign for any materials, you are now responsible for them.  If they can’t deliver with supplies without a signature, then tell them you will find another contractor.

Finally your project is done and now the contractor is asking for his money. Make sure you do/get three things. Make sure you inspect the job and it meets your standards. Get the final inspection report from the proper authorities from which the permit was granted. Make sure that their report is satisfactory.  Finally make sure you get a signed lien waiver from the contractor.  Now you can pay them.

Independent Insurance Agents & Insurance Brokers | Denver, Colorado

We are your local independent insurance agents and insurance brokers located in South East Denver Colorado. We would love to help you out with any of your insurance needs. This can be Auto, Home, Business insurance and more. Please visit our Products page for more details.

As independent agents and brokers, we offer multiple companies for multiple needs of insurance. We belive this gives us an advantage over the competition. Versus calling a Captive Agent with only one company, call us instead. We are a one stop shop for all you Property & Casualty insurance needs.

In August 2007, Mark A. Schneider started his agency, with a vision to help customers out with their insurance needs. His vision was to create an agency that can write multiple insurance needs, while representing multiple companies. Since then he has helped out thousands of clients, and has grown his agency substantially. Mark’s agency is also family operated and has his family work with him.

Work with our agency! Let us help you out with your Denver & Colorado Insurance needs. To Get A Free Quote, Click Here.

Thanks for stopping by! By the way, we sport an “A” rating from the BBB.

SR22 Insurance | DUI And High Risk Insurance | Get A Free Quote

Sr22 Insurance, DUI & High Risk Insurance

We offer competitive SR22 & high risk insurance rates. As independent insurance agents and insurance brokers, we offer some of the most competitive rates in Colorado. We make the process easy and pain-free. All documentation is available as soon as we sell you a policy. This includes both paper and electronic filing.

We Insure All Drivers

We insurance anyone and everyone. This includes anywhere from drivers who don’t have any points left on their license, to someone who has gotten 3 dui’s, in the past year. The only exception is someone who has a permanently revoked license.

Coverages We Offer:

  • We can write-up to a half million dollar combined single liability limit.
  • We Offer up to $25,000 in medical payments coverage.
  • Under insured or uninsured motorists is available on all policies.
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage is available, with deductibles as low as 250 dollars.
  • Roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement available.
  • Lien/Lease Gap Coverage Available.
  • Uninsured Motorists Property Damage Available for “Liability Only” Policies

Our Companies Claims Process Is Excellent

We only write insurance with companies that have an excellent claims process. A claim can be complicated, but our companies will treat you fair and keep the process as simple as possible.

Personalized Service

Our agency is family based and understands insurance. You will work one-one-one with an experienced agent who will find a policy that best fits your business needs. We believe in “good old-fashioned customer service”.

Get A Free SR22 Insurance Quote!

We offer up to 6 personal lines companies for sr22 insurance. To get a free sr22 car insurance quote, please use our quick form, or contact us during normal business hours at (888)-270-0995. We will counsel you into how to receive the best price, for the most coverage. We will also advise on how to maximize discounts.

We Are Your Local Safeco Insurance Agents

Looking for a Safeco Insurance Agent? You are at the right place. We are appointed and represent Safeco Insurance and their products. Our agent code is 05-3429. We are a full service National insurance agency. Here is a line up of products that we write-through Safeco.                Click here to see our Agent listing on the Official Safeco Insurance Website.

  • Auto/Car Insurance
  • Collector Car Insurance
  • Home Insurance
  • Condo Insurance
  • Renter’s Insurance
  • Landlord Dwelling Insurance
  • Landlord Condo Insurance
  • Personal Umbrella Insurance
  • Commercial & Business Insurance
  • And More!

We service the following area’s in Colorado:

Aurora, Arvada, Colorado Springs, Commerce City, Castle Rock, Denver, , Centennial, Englewood, Greenwood Village, Littleton, Northglenn, Thornton, Westminster, Wheatridge and more. Please visit this link for our map.

If you would like a quote, please contact us during normal business hours, or shoot us an email. Thanks for visiting our site!

How To Know If Your Dealing With A Licensed Insurance Agent Or Company

Today is this world, it seems like some one is always out to scam or cheat someone else. We all know its very important to protect your identity and other financial information. We all need to be skeptical, and must protect ourselves as best as we can. So how do you know if your dealing with a legitimate agent or company when shopping for insurance? You have to give out a lot of information when shopping for insurance. It’s always good to double-check if that person or company is licensed before you do so.

How Do I check If a Company or Person Is Licensed?

It’s very easy to check if an agent is licensed or if a company has a certificate of authority. You can simply do this by contacting the department of insurance in your state. For example in Colorado, its DORA- Division of insurance.  From here you can see if they’re licensed and what lines they authorized to transact business in. It also shows the dates of inception and expiration of their license or Certificate Of Authority.

The division of insurance also requires agents to pass a mandatory test, and also pass a credit and background check. They require insurance companies to get a Certificate Of Authority, and to prove solvency and stability  in order to write insurance in their state.  Some companies are Surplus and Excess and do not have to got thorough the process of getting a Certificate Of Authority. These companies  write unusual risks or hard to place, and are considered non-standard markets. In most states, the commissioner has a list of Surplus and Excess companies they find the most trust worthy.

Other Ways to Verify Acknowledgement and Recognition

  • Most agents must go through the process of being appointed by an insurance company. This includes license check with the state, background check, and credit check.
  • Check the financial score of an insurance company by visiting AM Best.
  • Check with the BBB.
  • See how long a company or agent has been in business. A new or small company or agent is not necessarily negative.
  • Meeting an agent or company rep in person is always a good idea.
  • See if the agent and/or company has any past or current complaints with the division of insurance.

Most of all if its to good to be true, or you feel uncomfortable, don’t give out your personal information! Check with the State Department of Insurance first. As always if you have more questions please call us during normal business hours.