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What Questions Will a Loss Adjuster Ask Me?

A Loss Adjuster is appointed by an insurance company to manage and investigate claims. Insurer’s will use them for a variety of reasons such as when the claim is of a large value, complex or suspicions of fraud or simply because they do not have the internal resources to deal with the claim at that time.

There are a number of questions a Loss Adjuster is likely to ask you when investigating your claim. This will vary depending on the nature of your claim, however, there are some standard questions that they will ask including:-

  1. Personal details of those living at the Insured property – This will normally include residents names, dates of births and occupations and is mainly to verify who lives at the property and is covered by the Insurance policy. Occupations will give an indication as to whether the claim being presented is consistent with the Policyholders lifestyle
  2. How long you have lived at the Insured address and confirmation as to whether you own or rent the building
  3. Details on the property – for buildings, this may include things such as age of property, number of bedrooms, type of heating system This builds up a picture of what is actually Insured by the Insurance company, whether there are any property features that cause a higher risk to Insurers and also enables it to be established if the cover / sums insured taken out are adequate and that you are paying a sufficient level of premium (if not, this underinsurance can lead to a financial penalty on your claim).
  4. Details of previous Insurers (this is normally asked if your current policy has been in existence for less than a year) together with confirmation of any previous claims submitted within the previous 5 years. This is to check if you have disclosed previous claims when taking out the current policy – normally if there are concerns or if your policy is less than a year old, checks will be made via a national claims database called CUE – if any claims are identified that you did not disclose, this can lead to Insurers refusing your claim and cancelling your policy)
  5. Whether you or any persons living at the property have any CCJ’s, bankruptcy orders etc. This can cause an issue with your claim / policy in the event that it was never disclosed to your insurers (people with these are considered to be a higher risk to ensure and the Insurer if they knew may have refused cover or charged a higher premium)
  6. Circumstances regarding what caused the loss / damage This is to enable a picture to be built up of what caused the claim so it can be determined if policy cover is in place and also to establish if there are any concerns or if any Third Parties involved who may be considered responsible for causing the loss or damage ie: a neighbour
  7. What you did immediately following the incident ie: called a plumber. This is

Pros and Cons of Critical Ilness Insurance Coverage

Critical illness insurance is a relatively new type of policy that is frequently misunderstood. Today, we will clarify what it is, and what it covers.

How Does Critical Illness Insurance Work?

Critical illness is similar to term life insurance, except it is paid out when you are diagnosed with an illness covered by the policy, rather than being paid out upon death. However, some people confuse this type of insurance with disability insurance, which substitutes your income if you become disabled.

Illness insurance, like term life insurance, is paid in a lump sum, should you be diagnosed with a pre-defined disease such as cancer. You decide how this amount will be spent – some people put it into additional medical treatment (especially if there are some treatment methods that are not covered by provincial healthcare), others decide to take time off work to spend with family, or to travel.

As with many insurance products, this type of insurance plan comes with an extensive insurance quote, application and underwriting process that the insurer analyzes before you can get a policy; and as with any insurance policy, a critical illness policy comes with both pros and cons.

Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of this type of insurance.

Pros of Critical Illness Insurance

There are several positive aspects:

  1. Funds that can help where needed: The lump sum you receive if you are diagnosed with a critical illness will allow you to get better treatment and, hopefully, fully recovery in some cases. You can also spend these funds on other needs or projects (such as travel or taking items off your bucket list).
  2. Protection for your own business: If you have your own business, you might need to work part time, after being diagnosed with a critical illness (reduced work hours are common when extensive medical treatment is required). It closes the financial gap created by your reduced hours at your company. With the funds, you could hire somebody to help out with your business.
  3. Stackable protection: Unlike disability insurance, critical illness coverage is “stackable”. With disability insurance, coverage is limited because it is based on your income, and you cannot go over that limit even if you have several disability policies. You can, though, have several policies with varying coverage amounts of different diseases. If you have, for example, two policies with benefits of $250,000 and $300,000, you can get a $550,000 payout when you make a claim.

Cons of Critical Illness Insurance

  1. Expensive: This type of insurance policy is not cheap. As an example, a Term 10 insurance policy with $500,000 coverage (Term 10 means a policy that covers you for 10 years) for a 35-year old non-smoking male without any pre-conditions costs around $180/ month (exemplary quote) whereas a Term 10 life insurance policy with coverage of $1,000,000 for the same person costs around $50.
  2. Definitions matter: If a diagnosed disease, such as a heart attack, is not aligned with the definition of this illness in

Pre-Approach Letters Keeping You From Selling Insurance?

Are you using pre-approach letters in an effort to secure appointments? How well are those letters working for you? If your results are less than you’d like this article will help you make some adjustments to those letters and improve your insurance sales results.

Realize when you take the time and spend the money to actually mail a pre-approach letter that letter has to produce results greater than the costs associated with the mailing. If it doesn’t then continuing to do what doesn’t work isn’t going to produce different results. No big surprise there yet it amazes me how people will continue to send a letter they already know doesn’t work and expect a miracle.

There is an incremental process that has to happen to have a pre-approach letter work for you. The first step in the process is getting your letter opened. Don’t use one of your fancy letter head envelopes when mailing these letters.

If you want your letter to get opened it absolutely has to look like a personal correspondence. The easiest and cheapest way to do that is to use a plain envelope hand addressed and sent using a live stamp. A live stamp is just a postage stamp like you buy at the post office versus any kind of bulk meter postage.

Your reader is standing over the waste basket sorting their mail and deciding what gets put aside to look at, and what gets immediately thrown away. They open yours because they’re curious as to who is sending them a letter. You’ve succeeded in the first step.

When they pull your letter out of the envelope it must still look like a personal message, so again don’t use your fancy letter head paper because when you do you immediately trigger their defenses. As they begin to read your letter your first sentence must clearly communicate the value to them in reading your message. They must immediately get that you get what’s going on with them.

The reader will not perceive value in an offer from you for a free review or a personal appointment. They’re thinking so what. You’re a complete stranger they don’t know anything about you and they certainly don’t see any reason to give you an appointment. That’s the wrong offer.

The right offer will provide them with something that does have perceived value for them. Offer them something they do want and tell them the exact actions to get the offer. Then allow them to reach out to you first.

Some will reach out immediately others won’t. You need a system to properly follow-up with each person. Your objective when you call the people who reached out to you is to determine if this person is a good potential client for you. Only extend an offer for an appointment to the people highly qualified to work with you who realize there may be a reason to meet with you and learn more.

Look at your current pre-approach letter and match …

Pros and Cons of Owning Your Own Independent Insurance Agency

There is always a lot of pride in owning your own company, but there is also a great deal of responsibility, work and hassle. Here’s how to tell if owning an insurance agency might have enough benefits for you to outweigh the liabilities.

Every employee has had the experience of looking at their boss and/or the owner of their company and thinking “I could do this so much better than you.” If you find yourself thinking this too often, you may soon find yourself looking into actually starting a business. And if you’ve got experience working in the insurance or financial products industries, as so many people do, then you are probably considering starting your own insurance agency.

Let’s start off with some clarifications. Any small business is either going to be an independent insurance agency (which sells policies from a number of major insurance companies) or a “captive” agency, which sells policies from just one company. To actually start providing people insurance requires something called a “corporate insurance license”, and they can cost $50,000 or more to buy. To actually be able to originate insurance policies requires over a million dollars of capital, just to start, so what most small business people want is to sell insurance, not create the policies themselves.

To sell insurance you will have to be licensed in your state for the kinds of policies you want to sell. There are three major kinds of insurance policies: health, liability, and life insurance. Many insurance licenses also let you sell financial products. Because insurance is so much of a financial product there’s a lot of overlap both in services and licensing.

The pros of having your own shop are that you get to choose which hours you work — but only to a certain extent, because you have to be on the job enough to stay in business. You get to decide how long and when you will take vacations — but again, only to a certain extent, because you have to make sure your business can stay afloat while you are gone. Another major pro is that if the business is successful, you will be the owner and will have a valuable asset that can generate income for years to come. Also, as the owner, you get to decide when and how to hire and fire people. If you are brave, you can even decide which clients and customers you want to fire.

While to pros sound great, here are the cons: you will probably work more than 60 hours a week the first years. If your agency is not successful in the first year or so (and many aren’t) you may end up not paying yourself a wage at all in order to be able to balance the books. Also, until your agency can afford to hire people for different jobs, you will be wearing a lot of different hats — accountant, computer guru, secretary, marketing manager, printer fixer, and many, many more. You …

Your Homeowners Insurance May Not Cover Woodpecker Damage

Meet Amy, City Girl that became a small town resident upon her marriage to George. The stark difference between living in the very center of urbanized civilization and township dwelling was somewhat of an adjustment for Amy. Sure she loved the sights and sounds of nature exposed: the lake, the trees, grass, flowers and the vibrant color of winged birds. Nonetheless, how she missed the hustle and bustle and – yes – even the noise of what she had always recognized as the center of commercial shopping, auto and bus traffic – honking included – and life as she had been bred to appreciate!

Though noise has always been the core of her existence, the incessant pecking on the side of her roof in small town America where she currently had set up residence did absolutely no good for her nerves. Five o’clock in the morning, you see was far too early for a woman of the world such as she to be rudely awoken from her slumbering state. And the fact that the pecking was coming from a fine feathered ‘friend’ known most commonly as the woodpecker did little to placate her uneasiness.

Then came the crunch that really threw Amy off. It appeared as the bothersome woodpecker had begun to incur damage on her lovely home! But nothing could appease Amy when she discovered that her standard homeowners insurance policy did not even cover the damages and losses she now suffered!

“You see, Ma’am,” explained the nice insurance agent, “insurance companies simply do not cover general home liability that has been wrought through negligence. In fact, they view woodpecker damage as something that could have been avoided through proper home maintenance.”

If only Amy had known! She most certainly would have confronted the little peril with a vengeance. Now it appeared that it was too late and she and her husband would have to bear the losses through out of the pocket expenditures.

They say life is a great teacher. Amy knows better than most.

“Learn from me,” says Amy, former city dweller. “Don’t let pests get the better of you or your home risks will!”

How does one tackle a woodpecker problem? There are a number of hands-on methods:

• Go out and purchase a tool that’s on the market in regard to woodpecker deterrence.

• Surround outside home spots that connect to the roof with wired fencing.

• Attach colorful tape below roof and around the roof’s gutters.

• Seal attic holes and house siding with caulk or other materials.

• Hire a pest eliminating firm to take care of the problem.

• Explore your own creative to tackle the nasty wood-pecking problem.

Ask Amy. She’ll tell you forearmed is indeed forewarned: speak to an independent insurance agent about your homeowners insurance policy to make sure it is tailored to your needs.…

Real Estate – The Velocity of Money

This lesson is really adapted from Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Who Took My Money?” I strongly encourage investors to read this book. He writes that the Velocity of Money is the one reason why rich get richer and the average investor risks losing it all. I agree. From Robert’s book, he writes “As a professional investor, I want to…

1. Invest my money into an asset.

2. Get my money back.

3. Keep control of the asset.

4. Move my money into a new asset.

5. Get my money back.

6. Repeat the process.”

When I teach my homes buying homes investment strategy, I am teaching Robert’s velocity of money concept. I read Robert’s book in the summer of 2005. Little known to me, I was already teaching the velocity of money and didn’t really realize it. Thankfully, I was already utilizing it with my investing.

To give you an example: Let’s assume you purchase a nice single-family home for $200,000. To purchase this home, you use a 5-percent down payment loan program and invest approximately $10,000. You use a fixed, interest-only loan program and your total monthly payment is, say, $1,400. You offer this home on a Rent to Own Program. Your new tenant/buyer gives you $6,000 up front on this lovely home and picks a program paying you $1,695 a month in rent.

After collecting your up-front payment, you would still have $4,000 invested in this property ($10,000 down payment less that $6,000 upfront payment received from your tenant/buyer). Your monthly cash flow would be approximately $295. (Rent of $1,695 less your payment of $1,400) It would take you another 13 1/2 months to recover your remaining $4,000 invested. ($4,000 divided by $295 monthly cash flow) In this example, it would take you around 14 months to complete steps 1, 2 and 3 above. You would have invested in an asset, gotten ALL your money back and kept control of this same asset. Now you are on to step 4, which is move your money into a new asset. Robert continues his teaching as follows:

“A professional gambler wants to be playing the game with house money as soon as possible. While in Las Vegas, if I had put my money back in my pocket and only played with my winnings that would have been an example of playing with house money. The moment I began betting everything, I lost the game because I lost sight of my goal, which is to stay in the game but to play with other people’s money, not my own money.”

When you come to a point in your investing at which you have gotten all of your money back and still own the asset, you are playing with house money. In this example, after Month 14, you would still receive a cash flow of $295 a month until the property sells. This is all house money. Now let’s move on and assume that the your tenant/buyer doesn’t purchase your home during the …

Russian Attitudes Toward Money

Lynn Visson's "Wedded Strangers" explains:

"For Russians, the ultimate sin is being stingy.

Russians and Americans have vastly different views of money. This is understandable considering that Russians were under the Soviet system and Americans were raised under a capitalist system.

Under the Soviet system, Russians had money in their pocket, but no place to spend it. Jobs, medical care, apartments, pensions – the basic necessities that one needed for life – were provided by the state.

The problem was that the state decided what to produce. Choice in goods was unavailable. That was if the product was even available. Goods were scarce. You could not compare shop even if you wanted to.

You did not have to worry about spending too much money because there were not too many goods to spend money on.

There are stories to illustrate life during the Soviet times. When you walked down the street and you saw a line of people, you got in line, even though you did not know why the line was forming and what you were waiting for.

Whatever it was, it was scarce and people wanted it, so it was better to get in line before you missed out.

Conversely, Americans have more money, but they have a thousand choices on how to spend that money. The whole American consumption system is designed to get you to spend money on whatever product is advertised. They supplement the myriad choices with easy credit.

The trick in the American system is to figure out what it is that is really important to you. It becomes important to make wise choices because there are so many choices available. Shopping for bargains and good value becomes imperative to survive American capitalism. Your choices are virtually unlimited. You could spend hundreds of thousands times your income in America without giving it a second thought.

The problem is that you would soon find yourself wallowing in consumer debt.

Americans value their ability to negotiate a good deal and to find a bargain. They brag about the great deals they get. They are proud of their ability to get the most for their money. To live at the highest standard of living possible is the goal of America's consumer society.

For that same reason, American men are proud of their success and the assets they have accumulated. They think that they can attract a Russian woman by telling her about their ability to provide for her.

They brag about their income and their wealth to impress her and then they turn around and tell her about what a good negotiator they are in exacting the best price for things.

These tracks are valuable in American society. But all that talk about money makes them sound like Ebenezer Scrooge to the Russian woman they are trying to impress.

To a Russian, who earns one dollar for every fifty dollars an American earns, an American sounds incredibly cheap when they talk about what a hard bargain they …

Insurance As a Device For Handling Risk

The real nature of insurance is often confused. The word “insurance” is sometimes applied to a fund that is accumulated to meet uncertain losses. For example, a specialty shop dealing in seasonal goods must add to its price early in the season to build up a fund to cover the possibility of loss at the end of the season when the price must be reduced to clear the market. Similarly, life insurance quotes take into consideration the price the policy would cost after collecting premiums from other policyholders.

This method of meeting a risk is not insurance. It takes more than the mere accumulation of funds to meet uncertain losses to constitute insurance. A transfer of risk is sometimes spoken of as insurance. A store that sells television sets promises to service the set for one year free of charge and to replace the picture tube should the glories of television prove too much for its delicate wiring. The salesman may refer to this agreement as an “insurance policy.” It is true that it does represent a transfer of risk, but it is not insurance.

An adequate definition of insurance must include both the building-up of a fund or the transference of risk and a combination of a large number of separate, independent exposures to loss. Only then is there true insurance. Insurance may be defined as a social device for reducing risk by combining a sufficient number of exposure units to make the loss predictable.

The predictable loss is then shared proportionately by all those in the combination. Not only is uncertainty reduced, but losses are shared. These are the important essentials of insurance. One man who owns 10,000 small dwellings, widely scattered, is in almost the same position from the standpoint of insurance as an insurance company with 10,000 policyholders who each own a small dwelling.

The former case may be a subject for self-insurance, whereas the latter represents commercial insurance. From the point of view of the individual insured, insurance is a device that makes it possible for him to substitute a small, definite loss for a large but uncertain loss under an arrangement whereby the fortunate many who escape loss will help to compensate the unfortunate few who suffer loss.

The Law of Large Numbers

To repeat, insurance reduces risk. Paying a premium on a home owners insurance policy will reduce the chance that an individual will lose their home. At first glance, it may seem strange that a combination of individual risks would result in the reduction of risk. The principle that explains this phenomenon is called in mathematics the “law of large numbers.” It is sometimes loosely referred to as the “law of averages” or the “law of probability.” Actually, it is but one portion of the subject of probability. The latter is not a law at all but merely a branch of mathematics.

In the seventeenth century, European mathematicians were constructing crude mortality tables. From these investigations, they discovered that the percentage of …

The Insurance Agency Elevator Pitch

An insurance agency elevator pitch is a succinct summary used to quickly describe your insurance agency, products and services. It should include your unique agency value proposition, and must be delivered within the time span of an elevator ride, in about 30 to 60 seconds. This can be much harder than many agents might initially think, and should be scripted, vetted, rehearsed, and timed. The elevator pitch is a truly important and fundamental component of your insurance agency marketing and insurance agency prospecting efforts.

A great exercise for agents or agency executives is to ask a variety of people in your agency to tell you their version of the agency elevator pitch. Don’t be surprised if the pitch varies dramatically from person to person. Does the pitch adequately describe your value proposition? Does it highlight the products, services and solutions which best showcase your agency expertise? Did the litany of pitches even sound remotely alike?

Some years ago, I met with the executive team and senior managers of a small company, which at that time employed less than 100 people. I asked each of the dozen people I met to provide me with an elevator pitch about their organization. Some people were taken completely by surprise. Others sat and thought, and struggled to articulate an elevator pitch, or even describe their value proposition. The pitches I heard varied drastically.

Elevator pitches are an important digital asset for every agency. They should be vetted, scripted, practiced, and preached. I call it an asset, as it is a fundamental component in the marketing of any agency. And every member of an insurance agency, from agent to receptionist, to customer service representative to executive team should be able to promptly and professionally deliver their insurance agency elevator pitch.

Your sales and marketing efforts are built upon a well articulated and easily repeatable value proposition, which should be a microcosm of your elevator pitch. If you cannot communicate your value proposition in less than 30 seconds, or stumble when trying to express it, it’s time to write it down, rehearse it and communicate your value proposition with everyone in your agency. Once that is done, turn it into a 30 to 60 second elevator pitch. Practice makes perfect, try repeating both of these in monthly management meetings and sales meetings, and it’s important to note that your elevator pitch might vary based on your target niches (P&C versus Group Benefits for example).

Here are a few best practices when it comes to your insurance elevator pitch:

  • Be succinct – 30 seconds is much better than 60 seconds (you may not have 60 seconds!)
  • Create empathy – For example, “We work exclusively with New York contractors” or “we work with trucking companies with 5 to 50 power units” or we specialize in groups between 50 and 150 participating employees”
  • Verticalize – a vertical pitch is easier to differentiate, allowing you to better articulate your unique pitch. “We insure restaurants addressing their unique risks.”
  • Be different

Know About the Consequences of Not Having Public Liability Insurance Coverage

Public liability insurance is an important insurance policy that protects your business during the time of adversities. Especially, if your business handles risky activities like construction, plumbing, etc., or if the public enters into your business premises like in retailing, then this insurance plan is a must have. Owing to the uncertainty of accidents and the huge costs of legal claims, your business may run into crisis if you are not properly guarded by the right insurance plan, i.e. public liability insurance.

This article gives you a little insight into the consequences your business might face, if you do not have public liability insurance coverage.

Financial burden: Depending on the damage or loss caused to the third-party, the amount claimed may vary. But the third parties generally sue the company for heavy amounts as small amounts do not matter for both company and the sufferers. These claims will add up to the company’s existing costs and become a financial burden to the company. Managing the finances between the company’s needs and legal claims is not wise as it halts the business operations.

Legal battles: Apart from the amount to be reimbursed, a company has to face legal battles which occur as a result of lawsuits filed against the business by the third parties. The legal costs and expenses are generally high. You need to deal legal authorities with utmost care. These legal battles are hectic. The time and effort required to fight these legal battles is also high. It diverts you from your core business. But if you have a public liability policy, the insurance company assists you and takes charge in fighting these legal battles till the case is closed, besides paying the legal expenses.

Chances of bankruptcy: Inability to pay the outstanding charges claimed by the third parties may lead the business to go bankrupt. Unless a business has outstanding capital, it cannot afford to pay these legal expenses. Moreover, you are needed to provide additional financial assistance in the form of medical aid as in case of accidents and repairing charges in case of property damage, besides paying the lump sum amount and the legal costs.

Investment at risk: In case your business is facing a third-party legal claim, and if you are in a position where you cannot pay the claimed amount instantly, then, the bank or the court gives permission to seize your various monetary investments or fixed assets such as land, furniture or machinery to cover the legal expenses and the claimed amount.

Lack of mental peace: With the all the above issues, you will surely lose mental peace. These legal claims not only eat away the business’ time and effort but in some cases may ruin the business’ existence. Legal claims should be dealt instantly; any delay will only aggravate the tension and loss.

A good business will always be prepared for the future crisis. Having a public liability insurance policy is a wise decision. It provides timely financial help to pay the …