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COVID-19 Insurance Rebates, Credits, & Discounts
Truthfully, there hasn’t been a lot of good news lately. Living through a pandemic can be physically, mentally, and financially exhausted. That’s why when we see things that could help our clients save money, we want to pass along that good news. Given the large number of unemployment claims, businesses operating remotely or at a reduced capacity, and families strapped for income, it comes as welcome news that the insurance companies across the country are offering rebates and discounts. Here are a few local carriers that are offering rebates or credits.

Plymouth Rock Assurance

Plymouth Rock is pleased to share that a COVID-19 relief credit amount for auto customers is now available to view in Agent Web and eServices. They have prepared a frequently asked questions document to help you understand the application of relief credits. In addition to credits, Plymouth Rock also extended the suspension of cancellation of insurance due to many clients having financial difficulties during this time. They have published all of their latest COVID-19 updates to the Plymouth Rock COVID-19 Independent Agent Message Center.

car crash

Safety Insurance

Safety Insurance has announced the Safety Personal Auto Relief Credit. Any Safety Insurance personal auto policyholder that has a policy in effect as of April 1st will receive a 15% credit off their premium for the months of April and May. They have also rescinded cancellation notices as of March 23, 2020. This includes all non-payment cancellations. Along with this, they have waived all late and NSF fees. In addition, clients who now find that they are using their personal vehicles to deliver food or in some other way due to a change in business operations during this time will be covered in those policies as well. In order to help local charitable organizations and frontline workers, Safety Insurance is providing financial support to: Massachusetts COVID -19 Relief Fund, the Boston Resiliency FundProject Bread, and Healthcare Heroes to benefit the Massachusetts General Emergency Response Fund.

car fire

MAPFRE Insurance

MAPFRE is proud to announce the MAPFRE Insurance Staying Home Refund in order to ease some of the financial burden facing many of their customers. The MAPFRE Insurance Staying Home Refund will return 15% of April and May premium to their voluntary personal auto policyholders in Massachusetts, a total of over $30 million. On average, most policyholders will receive a premium credit of approximately $40. Further details will be available on their website at http://mapfreinsuranceblog.com/covid-19-updates/.

Arbella Insurance Group

Arbella has publicly announced the Arbella “Here. For Good.® Give Back Program,” which will provide premium credits to personal auto customers. The “Here. For Good. Give Back Program” will provide Arbella private passenger auto customers with a credit equal to 20% of their auto premium for three months, April, May, and June 2020. The savings will result in an estimated average of $60 per vehicle, and customers with multiple vehicles on their policy could see significant savings. Subject to approval by state regulators, Arbella customers can expect a credit to be applied to their bill within the next 60 days. Customers do not need to take any action to receive the credit. If the policyholder has paid in full, they will be mailed a check. A policyholder must be an active customer at the time the refund is issued.

Vermont Mutual Insurance

As of May 1, 2020 Vermont Mutual Insurance began mailing letters to Personal Auto customers advising them if they qualified for a 20% payback equivalent for their auto premium for three months. Not only are they offering this rebate but they are offering customers the option of collecting the rebate themselves or taking the money and donating it to a charity such as Feeding America, United Way, Meals on Wheels, or the Salvation Army. For more information on this rebate and the opportunity to donate to these charities that are directly helping communities impacted by COVID-19 see this link. Don’t see your carrier listed here? Contact our agents to see what rebates or discounts your carrier may be offering.
Phil Richard
Business Liability Insurance in the Age of COVID-19
Since mid-March, the state of Massachusetts and surrounding states have been on quarantine lockdown. This means that businesses have been shuttered or have shifted to working remotely unless they are classified as essential. It also means that millions of employees have been furloughed or laid off due to this global health crisis. As of last count, 30 million people have lost their jobs and filed for unemployment benefits. What does all of this mean for business owners? Will they file for bankruptcy, take loans to stay afloat, rely on government stimulus programs to help until things get back to “normal?” The answer will be different for each business depending upon the number of employees, the nature of their work, and demand for their type of business going forward. A few things will be the same for all business owners as we navigate the reopening process across the region – the need for business liability insurance or commercial liability coverage. One major question that owners will need to consider will be “what kind of business liability insurance will be needed to protect against employee illness, rehiring litigation, and potential discrimination that could occur when owners are faced with decisions on who to rehire and who will remain unemployed?

person working at a table

Workers’ Compensation Issues

According to SRHM, an online site dedicated to Human Resource news, trends, and analysis, states that there are special circumstances at play when dealing with workers comp for employees out sick with complications due to the coronavirus. “Normally, when it comes to workplace illnesses, most state statutes only pay out benefits if the disease in question is occupational in nature.” This is to say that communicable and contagious diseases are generally excluded from workers’ compensation policies. However, coverage may be triggered if the illness arose due to or in the course of the worker’s employment. In general, these scenarios are examined on a case-by-case basis, but could include instances when: a health care worker contracts COVID-19 at the hospital where he or she works, an airline employee contracts COVID-19 from a passenger, or a hospitality worker contracts COVID-19, which is later linked to a large event at which the person worked. We advise that you check with your business insurance agent to find out where you stand on coverage prior to opening so that you will be covered should your employees contract the virus.

stepping on a bana peel

Liability Concerns

In addition to workers’ comp concerns, business leaders will want to investigate liability issues that may be connected to the coronavirus outbreak within your office or building. COVID-19 raises a number of liability concerns, particularly if guests, customers, clients, or employees allege they became sick due to a business’s negligence. For example, unsanitary practices, lack of protective equipment, and not following guidelines set forth by the state and local municipalities regarding workplace conditions. When it comes to these concerns, it’s important to confirm your liability insurance with your agent/carrier. General liability insurance, sometimes referred to as commercial liability insurance, protects your business from financial loss should you be liable for property damage or personal and advertising injury caused by your services, business operations or employees. In regard to COVID-19 specifically, general liability policies should provide coverage and allow you to defend claims. There may also be questions of discrimination when it comes time for business owners to choose who to bring back to work and who will remain on unemployment until business revenues rebound. Where do you stand in regard to your liability coverage in the age of COVID-19? Check with our agents to find out what coverage you have and what vulnerabilities there may be as we begin reopening in our area.
Phil Richard
Why Older Millennials Need to Consider Insurance Now
Millennials sit in a unique position, more so than any other generation before them. Not only do they face crushing student loan debt at higher rates than previous generations, but they also need to start thinking earlier to find ways to survive the costly retirement years. Let’s take a closer look at why thirty-somethings need to act now to have peace of mind later. As Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” While most millennials may not want to ponder their mortality, they do need to start planning now so that their family can survive in the case of an early demise that could leave their loved ones unprotected.

man on laptop

The Purpose of Life Insurance

A recent study by Budget Insurance found that 82% of millennials don’t know what life insurance is for – even as they are aging, starting families, and dealing with more complex financial situations. Life insurance policies can help you protect your family’s dreams for the future, pay off debt, and create funds for college or other important investments. It can take care of housing costs, student loan expenses, and more. It’s all about obtaining the right type of policy to meet your individual needs. According to Pew Research, 60% of families rely on dual incomes, while 31% of families rely on a single income. Combined, that means 91% of families in the United States need one or both spouses income to survive. And what happens if one (or both) die? That’s where life insurance comes into play.

Funeral Expenses

End of life expenses are costly. The average funeral costs between $6,000 and $10,000. Even if you plan for a more non-traditional funeral like a celebration of life party, someone will have to foot the bill. A relatively small life insurance policy can help do that.

man on mountain

Premiums are Lower When Younger

The way that life insurance works is based on several factors including overall health and age. The younger you are when you apply, the lower you will pay. This is especially true if you do not smoke or have any pre-existing conditions. As a young and healthy person you pose less of a liability to the insurance company. The older you are, the higher your premiums will jump.

Future Savings

Depending on whether you choose term or whole life insurance, you may be able to use your policy to borrow off of in order to pay for college, invest, or build a home. The life insurance policy can act as a savings vehicle with relatively low risk . If you are a millennial and need to start thinking about life insurance, talk to one of our agents who can tell you how to get started and what type of policy would best fit your needs.
Phil Richard
Why Honesty Is the Best Policy with Your Insurance Agent

White lies. Tall tales. A fabrication. An exaggeration. A fib. What do you call a lie? In the insurance industry, we call it a risk that isn’t worth it. Sure, it may be tempting to tell your insurance agent that your car is stored in a safe, crime-free community, or that your dog is a mixed breed rather than a pit bull in order to gain access to lower rates. In the end, however, lying to save money can lead to future expenses and headaches that can far outweigh any amount of savings.

Not only can not being truthful to your agent lead to financial consequences, but it can also potentially have legal ramifications. Insurance fraud is both a state and federal crime. When the insured is dishonest, the process of applying for insurance and collecting on a claim is slowed down remarkably. A simple lie of omission or a blatant fabrication can mean a policy cancellation, claim denial, or premium increases. 

We get it. We really do. It is really tempting to tell your insurance provider that your car is kept in a small, quiet, crime-free neighborhood and falsely use the address of your friend or relative. The price difference between towns can be amazing and just enough to make you give a second thought to lying to your agent. 

Then there are the lies about your home and property. Some homeowners commit a lie of omission by leaving out high-risk items at their home when filling out insurance applications. That trampoline or pool in your backyard comes with high risks that will need to be covered in the case that someone is injured or dies. We don’t want to frighten our clients, but isn’t it better to have the liability coverage than risk losing it all when an accident occurs? 

Then there are the lies about the size and contents of one’s home. If you have done any renovations to your home, be sure to inform your agent. Failure to do so may result in only being protected for the original layout of the house and its materials. The same goes for any large purchases such as a home security system, audio system, or adding a man cave in your basement. Any upgrade should be revealed so, in the case of a fire, flood, or another catastrophe, your policy will cover the rebuilding or replacing of your damaged property. 

The list of untruths could go on and on. We really have seen them all. From misreporting about a credit score to covering up speeding tickets, there is not a scenario that we haven’t encountered. 

Honesty really is the best policy for your financial and emotional sake. Think about the risk. Is it worth it for the lie to be discovered later (it always is) and to not be covered for something, or worse yet, be legally responsible for an event? Insurance fraud is no joke and the authorities will catch up with you eventually. Take a look at the consequences at the FBI Insurance Fraud page as well as at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners site.

We truly care about each and every one of our clients. Many of you are friends as well as clients. Just be honest with us and we will work diligently to get you the lowest rates we can while still covering you completely. Talk to us about your unique situation. Call us at (978) 774-4338 or visit philrichardinsurance.com.

Phil Richard
Facing graduation? What you need to know about insurance.
The month of May is graduation month for the many fine university and colleges in Massachusetts. Graduation literally means a commencement, or beginning, of something new. For some it will mean a new job, a different commute, or even a new living space. The changes will come fast and furious. Are you ready? While you are about to embark on the next phase of your life, there are so many things to get ready for and to look forward to. Starting your new job is probably one of the most important events that will mark this new stage in your life. Finding a new place to live might also be on your list.

What Insurance Should I Consider?

These major life events are a symbol that you have entered your adult years. For better or for worse, this means it is time to start thinking about things like insurance. Car insurance, renters insurance, and life insurance are just a few of the things to consider now. Now that you have moved on from your studies to the career world, you may have moved out of mom and dad’s house, and maybe even purchased a set of wheels to commute to your new job. You have plenty to consider when it comes to insurance. Three lines of policy that you should think about first are: auto insurance, renters insurance, and life insurance. If you have never dealt with any of these before, don’t panic. We can walk you through what you will need every step of the way.

Auto Insurance

There are a huge number of options when it comes to auto insurance in Massachusetts. It would be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of options and coverage types. For our environmentally-conscious commuters, there are also incentives to choosing hybrids and alternative fuel cars that we can talk about. In addition to those issues, we can talk to you about what coverage is required in Massachusetts as well as what coverage you may want to opt in for depending upon your needs. Massachusetts requires all drivers to have auto liability insurance. The insurance industry recommends you purchase a minimum of $100,000 bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident. Our agents can talk to you about the factors that affect your car insurance premium including your driving record, mileage, place of garaging, as well as your years of driving experience and the year and make of the vehicle you drive.

Life Insurance

Now that you have a steady income and are probably fairly healthy and young, this is the time to consider life insurance. There are two main types that we can discuss with you, again, depending on what you need and prefer. Universal health insurance is flexible and allows you to change the death benefit and premiums depending upon your needs and the current market. Whole life is a little different in that it offers guaranteed premiums with fixed death benefits and fixed growth. We can talk about what factors you may want to consider and how this can benefit you in the future.

Renters Insurance

Since you are just starting out in your new job, chances are that you will not be buying, but rather renting your new living space. This is an often overlooked insurance policy until it is too late. Ask yourself if you can afford to replace your wardrobe, furnishings, gadgets, and appliances if a fire, vandalism, or theft occurs. Not only can your renters insurance cover items that are lost, but it can help you if you need to relocate due to repairs on your unit, and it will also cover you for liability in the case that a visitor is injured on the premises and looking for reimbursement. We can discuss what factors you will want to consider and how to determine how much coverage you may need for your renters insurance. Graduation may be over but there is still so much to learn about the wide world that lay at your feet. Let us help you find out more about the insurance you may need as you enter the career world and set out on your own. Contact our agents at 978-774-4338, visit our website, or stop by our office on Garden Street in Danvers, Massachusetts.
Phil Richard