Posts Tagged ‘risk’

I wish to remind all consumers that developing a plan to effectively manage the risks of a stolen identity is a critical part of any personal risk management program. Where to start? First, a few words of caution on where not to start. Beware of the large number of organizations offering to sell “identify theft protection services” to individual consumers. (more…)

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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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 In an attempt to speak with a local attorney about the importance of un / underinsured motorists coverage, I clumsily asked how he felt about the topic. My awkward phrasing provided the perfect fodder for this attorney to display his oh-so-sharp wit, and he mockingly replied to my question “Why, I’m 100% against uninsured motorists!”  

Once he was done laughing at his own joke (it took awhile), I explained that what I intended to ask was whether he ever felt it worth his while to recommend to his clients the importance of structuring their automobile insurance to better protect themselves from the costs of injuries caused by a driver with either no insurance, or very low limits of liability coverage.  As I recall, he wasn’t so against uninsured drivers that he felt it important enough to makes his clients aware of the need to protect themselves and their families. According to this news report, neither is Geico.

A large part of Geico’s ability to help consumers “save 15% in 15 minutes” stems from the fact they feature a “select your own coverage” business model. One of the outcomes of DIY insurance: according to this report (check the link above), Geico is not complying with state laws designed to help consumers make informed coverage decisions. Why not?  They are not complying because it is more profitable for Geico to allow consumers to select less protection from un and underinsured motorists

Call me @ 631-329-7246 if you want to understand WHY Geico and several LARGE insurance carriers encourage consumers to “save money” by skimping on important un/underinsured motorists coverage, and to learn what you can do to actually protect your family and your clients from the many drivers who have little or no liability coverage.

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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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A former colleague and a Senior VP at Ace Private Risk Services has succinctly explained the “Five Steps For Getting The Best Protection From Your Insurance Agent”  in this two page article published in a recent edition of the Institutional Investors publication Private Asset Manager.

An excerpt: “Independent agents are skilled in asking questions about your lifestyle and interests. By better understanding the risks you face, along with your tolerance for risk, they can recommend a program which provides the best value – an ideal combination of customized insurance protection and affordable price.”   The article then instructs the reader on exactly what to ask your agent for, as well as what your agent should be asking and providing you. Make no mistake, each of the steps are essential. Meanwhile…..

IF after reading this article you are able to recognize that your agent is not already performing each of the five recommended steps, find a more skillful and dedicated agent.

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This summer several newspapers reported the results of studies documenting what we all know to be true: the use of cell phones while driving is dangerous.  Of course, there are many variables that increase or decrease risk, but the common perception that hands-free use of cell phones while driving is safe has been proven to be a myth.

I don’t offer this information with any great expectation that others will substantially change their use of cell phones while driving. BUT – after reading the research, I know I have been compelled to re-think my perception that my blue tooth enabled cell phone conversations while driving were a lot less risky.  They are risky, and research has proven that yours are as well.  I encourage you to  read the research provided in this great article and share it with those you care about. 

I knew someone who was involved in a very bad auto accident. He shared that the worst part of his long recuperation was knowing that he could have exercised greater precaution and avoided the accident altogether. He shared that while he was laying in the hospital, thankful to be alive, he remmbered the common practice in his youth of being able to “call for a do-over”, and how much he’d give to have a “do-over” .  Knowing real life does not provide us “do-overs”, I’ve instead decided to dramatically change how I use my cell phone while driving.

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missing-piece1…there is an insurance solution, if you know where to look (and who to ask). Meanwhile, I’m often surprised to meet prospective clients who have been told by other insurance brokers “there’s no coverage available”.  In the vast insurance marketplace, that is rarely the case!

With a great deal of turmoil in the financial marketplace, we’ve been asked to secure insurance coverage for a wide range of risks labeled “uninsurable” by other brokers. While the choices may be few, we can likely secure or direct you on how to secure insurance protection for even the most unusual risks.

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As high net worth individuals embrace the tax and asset protection benefits of placing private property ownership in the name of a trust or LLC, critical insurance coverage issues arise. Few trusted advisors or property owners are aware that the “named insured” insurance contract provisions prohibit the extension of coverage to protect the interests of the real property owner – the trust or LLC – in the event of a covered loss.

The resulting coverage void can remain undetected for years, only becoming apparent after a loss for which the application of coverage has been invalidated. Depending upon their role in the creation and administration of the trust or LLC, some advisors may even discover they have a professional liability exposure in the event of an uncovered loss. 
                                                                                                                                                           Click here to access an article from The CPA Journal that explains this problem and the solutions that can be made available.  

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Recent news reports tell a story that insurance carriers know all too well: residential construction projects involve a number of risks that can create significant damage to your home.  Determining who can be responsible after a loss can be very challenging. While it is  important to have the right insurance coverage, it is just as critical to know the steps that can be taken to avoid or reduce the chances of the most common causes of loss.   

This insightful report explains the risks, as well as the precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of loss during home renovation and construction projects.


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When asked this common question: “how much liability insurance do I really need?” I respond with another question: “how much might you be sued for?”  Everyone knows that protecting the asset base from the threat of lawsuits, however unlikely, is simply prudent risk management. Deciding how much protection is needed is a little trickier. I have yet to meet someone who was named in a lawsuit who was not immediately concerned with whether they had “enough” coverage.

Deciding “how much do I really need?” requires a close examination of a number of issues, which we can help you address. Among those issues: what is happening in the real worldThis link offers a quick reminder that when it comes to what and how much you can be sued for, you never know….

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