Insurance changes for those saying “I Do” (or will be soon)!

Before you say “Yes to the Dress” – you may want to give your insurance representative a call.  It may be the last thing on your mind while you pick out colors, dresses, and flowers – but it may be the most important call you make.  Marriage changes many things – including your insurance contract – so it’s important to figure out what you need to do.  We’ll share the six most common tips for those who are planning on getting married.

  1. Schedule your engagement ring!  – The average cost of an engagement ring (according to is $5431!  What if the ring is stolen?  What if the ring is lost while washing dishes or doing lawn work?  Standard renter’s and homeowner’s insurance policies only provide coverage up to a certain amount and only for certain causes of loss.  Protect the jewelry by ‘scheduling’ the ring on your home or renters policy to provide cost-effective comprehensive coverage.

  2. Add your spouse! – Add your spouse to your policies after you are married – you may be eligible for certain discounts.  Statistics show that married people have fewer accidents than those flying solo.  Also, if you each are insured with different companies (or different policies) – you’ll most likely save money by combining your policies.

  3. Ask about a multi-vehicle discount!  – If you each own a car, you will be eligible with most companies to receive a multi-policy discount.  In some cases, it may cost the same amount to insure two vehicles as it does one!  When are insurance companies ever logical!?

  4. Ask about a multi-policy discount! – When combining insurance policies, always first check to see if it is cheaper to put all of your insurance policies with one company.  Many insurance companies offer substantial multi-policy discounts – which may save you bundles of money.

  5. Ask about an umbrella policy!  – After marriage, life tends to start moving quite quickly.  Home purchases, baby showers,  and babies all happen before you know it!  An umbrella policy is a cost effective way (around $10/month) to protect your assets from the increasing liability exposures that usually accompany marriage.

  6. Buy life insurance! – You no longer just care for yourself – you have a spouse (and possibly children) to care for and protect.  Life insurance can provide protection for a spouse in the event the unthinkable does happen.  Life insurance proceeds can be used to pay off mortgages and debts, used as replacement income, for children’s tuition, final expenses, and a myriad of other uses.  Protect those you love by purchasing life insurance.

Insurance is the last thing anyone thinks about while planning their special day; however, it is an important topic to bring up.  It’s also a great way of saving money and offsetting some of those wedding day expenditures!

Casualty Rates Expected to Rise, per Property & Casualty 360

A recent article in the February 2013 issue of Property Casualty 360 magazine outlined projections for casualty rates for the remainder of 2013.  For those that are unaware, casualty insurance is often equated to liability insurance but is insurance not directly concerned with life, health, or property insurance.  Casualty rates climbed during the fourth quarter of 2012 and shockingly, are expected to increase during 2013.

A recent report from the brokerage, Marsh, focused on four U.S. Casualty lines of business:  General Liability, Workers’ Compensation, Auto Liability, and Umbrella/Excess Casualty.


  • 56% of clients experienced increase in rates
  • 29% experienced no change in rates
  • Average increase in rate was 4.9%

General Liability:

  • 54% of clients experienced increase in rates
  • 18% experience no change in rates
  • Average rate increase was 2.1%
  • Clients with superior loss history, good loss control measures, and lower exposures were able to secure rate decreases at renewal.
  • Underwriting scrutiny continued to increase = longer processing times

Workers’ Compensation:

  • 51% of clients experienced rate increases
  • 16% experience no change in rates
  • Average rate increase was 2.9%
  • Marsh reports in its study that this line of business has been operating at a “historically unprofitable level for insurers”.  Insurers will look to become more profitable via rate increases and higher retentions
  • Employers with good loss control programs tend to be better protected from rate increases

Auto Liability:

  • Rates were stable throughout 2012; however, Q4 experienced the most clients that experienced rate increases at 47%
  • 24% experienced no change in rates
  • Insurers sought rate increases for this line; but typically agreed to on rates that were lower than the original quote

The insurance rates that have grabbed the headlines had been property rates – due to the increased weather activity, deductible requirements, and other underwriting changes by companies.  However, it’s important to note that casualty rates continue to rise – especially in workers’ compensation.  Additionally, it’s is of particular interest to note that most insurers are willing to write policies at a lower rate if the client agrees to implement loss control measures and has a favorable loss history.

It’s important to remember these studies when you are reviewing your renewal policies this coming year.  As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Insurance is a cost of living (and doing business) – Period.

As insurance agents, brokers, advisers, risk managers – whatever you want to call us – we hear it all.  The majority of the time it is negative statements regarding insurance – mostly about premiums, bills, audits, etc.  We always hear from an individual or business owner that one of their friends told them how to save a fortune on their insurance or how to scam the system (see “recording employees as subcontractors”).  You hardly ever hear from one of your friends how insurance saved their lives – literally or financially – or how it rebuilt their home after a Hurricane Katrina or Sandy. Yet, the never ending search for people trying to get ‘something for nothing’ continues.  Frankly, it’s a shame.thCAYTMVMJ

Why does everyone want to save a fortune on their insurance premiums yet they are willing to go buy the latest technological gadget?  They want the social status of having ‘the best’ but are unwilling to pay for the best protection.  Individuals or businesses that pay the extra money for more insurance coverage should be applauded and advertised.   They should be proud that they have the best protection money can buy.  Instead – everyone wants less – less coverage, lower premiums, less headaches and so forth.  The best way to put your family in a position with less risk is to pay for better protection.

I like to use the example of people who pay to heat their homes (for those unaware, we live in WI and therefore, this is mandatory).  What temperature do you keep your thermostat at during the winter months?  I would guess that the average is somewhere between 65 and 70.  Why?  That is where we are most comfortable – not too hot and not too cold.  It also avoids us having to pay for problems that may arise – like illness or freezing pipes.  Why not keep the thermostat at 45 or 50 degrees?  The human body would be able to survive, but your life would be extremely uncomfortable and probably miserable.  We are willing to pay for that comfort – with very few complaints and very few questions asked.  We correlate paying for heating as a cost of living in Wisconsin.

Why don’t we correlate paying for insurance and protection as a cost of living (or doing business)?  My guess is that it is the perception that insurance is a scam, not worth the money, and that insurance companies make billions of dollars.  Some of this is true and most of it is false, but people need to realize the billions of dollars the private insurance industry pays out on a yearly basis to restore individual lives.  Every individual certainly has every right to under insure or not purchase insurance at all (except for auto liability insurance in the state of WI).  However, don’t expect any sympathy from your insurance advisor when an accident does occur and you don’t have proper coverage.  Would you have sympathy for someone who turned their heat down to 30 degrees and then complained about frozen pipes?  I didn’t think so.

As always, talk to an insurance professional when determining what coverage is appropriate for you.  If you are paying for the best coverage you can afford – good for you.  If you are on the other end of the spectrum, consider all possible outcomes and determine what you believe is in your best interest.

Personal Umbrella Policies – what you need to know!

At some point or another, almost everyone who has shopped their insurance has been asked if they would like an umbrella policy.  The large majority of customers or prospects that we talk to over the course of a day have no idea what a personal umbrella policy does or the coverage it provides.  However, as is the case with many of the prospects and clients we speak with, many insured’s are not taking proper measures to protect themselves and their assets.

First things first – what is a personal umbrella policy?  A personal umbrella policy provides an additional amount of liability – usually starting at $1 million – over and above what your current policies provide.  That’s right; these umbrella policies usually extend over the underlying liability limits of your other personal insurance policies – some which may include:  homeowners, autos, motorcycles, boats, rental dwellings, recreational vehicles, etc.

The first rejection that is common among our customer base is:  “Why would I need $1 million of liability coverage!?”  Many of us have much more liability exposure than we realize.  For a quick 15 question quiz to determine your liability exposure, visit .  In addition to paying any damages that you may be liable for (injury, damage to property, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.), an insurance company will also pay for to defend you in a court of law!

Secondly, a true umbrella policy will also provide coverage that may not be available in the underlying coverage.  Normally, the insured must pay a type of deductible called a self-insured retention before this coverage will apply.

Personal umbrella policies can insure your assets and your dreams!

Umbrella policies are usually very affordable, especially when packaged with existing policies.  You may be eligible to apply discounts to your existing policies when an umbrella policy is written as well!  Most importantly, umbrella policies protect you, your family, assets, and future income!

As always, contact your local agent if you have any questions and read the policy form for exact coverage.  Usually, the underlying coverage must be maintained during the policy period in order for coverage under an umbrella policy will apply