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.

Wisconsin Winter Weather: Ice Dams and your Insurance Premiums

Wisconsin presents many challenges to its year-round residents and although winter may be a little late in visiting this year, there is little doubt that Mother Nature will show up sooner rather than later. Wisconsin residents truly experience four different seasons during the course of the year – a spectacular event to witness as a resident.  Mother Nature’s miracles also provide numerous hurdles for homeowners.

Have you seen this before!?

Wisconsin’s winter weather comes in several shapes and sizes:  snow, ice, rain, sleet, hail, wind, etc.  However, one of the most common claims that we see due to winter weather are ice dams.  Ice dams can cause major damage to homes and businesses and are often signs of larger problems that exist.

First things first:  what is an ice dam?  An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents water (melting snow) from draining off the roof.  The water backs up behind the dam and may leak into a home and cause damage to the walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.  The damage can be extensive – often times causing mold and mildew due to the moisture and wet walls/insulation.

What are signs of an ice dam?

  • Icicles hanging from roof eaves
  • Water dripping down or ice forming on the exterior surface of home
  • Ice is developing along the overhangs of the roof and/or gutters are filled with ice
  • Icicles forming on the underside of the roof
  • Water penetrating into home

So, what can you do to prevent ice dams?  Some suggestions are:

  • Remove snow from roof using a roof rake or a push broom
  • Make the ceiling air tight, ensuring that no warm, moist air can flow from the house into the attic space
  • Increasing ceiling/roof insulation to cut down on heat loss by conduction
  • Install sufficient soffit vents and adequate ridge vent for better ventilation

As always, if you witness signs of an ice dam – consult a professional immediately.

Ice dams are generally covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance form, so there is most likely coverage for a claim.  With that being said, ice dams are generally preventable claims.  By taking measures to prevent these types of claims, an insured is saving themselves money by not paying a deductible and keeping their claim activity to a minimum!  The less claim activity one has the more competitive rates they can obtain!

Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have – we’re happy to help!  As always, please read the policy forms for exact coverage.