Why Me?

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In this new age of multiple access to insurance products it is important to have a unique selling proposition to stand apart from the competition.  If one is going to do business like everyone else, the prospect of success is grim. Why should people buy insurance from me? I came up with a list which I believe distinguishes me from a 1,800 customer rep or someone hiding behind an Internet website.

1. I have a graduate degree in Business (MBA) and an advanced degree in insurance (CPCU).

2. I take the time to educate and advise on insurance matters.

3. We don’t just sell insurance products. We design a needs based insurance program.

4. I help solve problems with claims and other insurance issues.

5. I position myself as a colleague with my clients and help with matters other than insurance.

6. My Firm participates in the community and donates funds for worthy causes.

7. We have a cadre of affiliates in law, accounting, real estate, and mortgage services available for our clients.

It is important to be “a cut above” the competition for both the welfare of those we serve as well as our own success. If one fails to do this, one will fall into that dreaded abyss of mediocrity.

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.

Road Trip

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Standing at the rental car counter one ponders whether to take that mysterious outrageously expensive insurance package offered by that cute but not very knowledgeable customer service rep. Certainly if you don’t own a car of your own, one should load up on physical damage and liability right there on the spot-because there is nothing to fall back on. If you own a car, your auto policy will most likely provide physical damage (collision and other damage to the vehicle) and excess liability-as if you owned the rental car outright. Coverage would mirror your policy. Some insurance companies are a bit more generous and will agree to cover the rented vehicle for its entirety with no deductible. Rental companies are fussy about who is doing the driving so be sure to include on the agreement any other person that may take the wheel. If you rent a vehicle outside the U.S. or Canada, you are really on your own since your domestic auto policy will not protect you. Because of this it is best to rent from a major rental service where the rental documents are standard. Most personal umbrella policies will provide worldwide excess liability over what is provided by the rental. This is not universal so check with your insurance professional. If possible, have a rental official sign off on the condition of the car when you return it. Even if you have back up coverage for a rental, consider purchasing their insurance with no deductible-especially if the rental is short term. You will be driving a car you are not used to in unfamiliar territory and thus the possibility of a mishap is enhanced. So happy motoring and if you are really confused and apprehensive, take the train.

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.

 

The Cyber Crook

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Most people think of insurance as a mechanism to insure things such as a house, car, jewelry, boats and other tangible items. Now that the Internet is entrenched in the way we do business there is a new exposure that is just as real-cyber crime.

There have been more and more instances where a hacker has been able to infiltrate not only personal databases but commercial ones as well where information is not only stolen but also utilized to cause further financial damage to the victim. The most frightening scenario is where the hacker thief accesses the banking information of the unsuspecting person or business and arranges a money transfer to an unknown account. The bank will honor the instructions since it appears to come from the depositor. The bank may not take responsibility for the fraudulent transaction since it came from your Internet site and therefore it is not considered a bank error.

Fortunately there are insurance policies that will reimburse for a fraudulent money transfer as well as protect for other first party losses such as a virus which may wipe out an entire database.

In addition, insurance is available for third party cyber liability where a business may inadvertently disclose confidential client information such as social security numbers or credit card data or introduce a virus to another entity.

There are many scenarios of potential cyber crime. It is important for an individual or business to assess their exposure and utilize risk management techniques and/or insurance for protection.

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.

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So What’s Your Plan?

disaster plan

Insurance is a very important ingredient in the recipe to keep a business going after a disaster strikes. Yet, insurance alone will not guarantee that your Company will retain its customer base during and after the recovery period. Therefore, it is important to develop a business disaster plan that will focus on two strategies – to get back into business as soon as possible and, secondly, to keep your clients happy during the down period.

Many services and retail businesses have the advantage of relocating quickly and returning as a functional operation in a short period of time. Proper insurance coverage will pay the “extra expense” to set up shop and promptly replenish lost inventory and equipment.

Most manufacturers, however, cannot relocate and must stay put in a nonproductive mode until the facility is repaired.

A good disaster plan that is forged before a loss occurs can help your business continue to operate even under difficult circumstances. Some techniques that should be considered are as follows:

  1. Make a deal with a friendly competitor to manufacture your product or service your customers during the recovery period. Your Company must be prepared to do the same if your colleague suffers a loss.
  2. Keep backup records and computer discs away from your headquarters so that they can be accessed easily and utilized if the originals are destroyed.
  3. Store a few months inventory of goods at another location so that your customers will continue to receive your goods even if you have no manufacturing capability.
  4. Seek out alternative suppliers beforehand so you don’t have to scramble if your major supplier suffers a loss of their own.

A copy of the disaster plan should be given to each manager so that he or she can refer to a specific emergency action plan. The manual should contain the names, addresses  (including email), phone and fax numbers of key vendors, support personnel, and customers. Some larger Firms have gone so far as to have a duplicate second office already set up in case of an emergency.

You will find that for the most part the public will be supportive and sympathetic regarding a Firm’s setback because of a loss. Nevertheless that support will wane unless it is perceived that you are determined to get back into business – fast!

The author of this blog, Guy Hatfield CPCU CIC, can be reached at 203.256.5660.

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