Ask Regina

Q. We have an insured that will be sending employees overseas to work on a military reginabase and the base is requiring Defense Base Act Insurance. What is it and how do we provide the coverage?

A. Defense Base Act insurance, as defined in the International Risk Management Institute Glossary, was legislation that extends the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA) to apply to certain categories of employees working overseas.

The three general divisions of covered employees are (1) those working on military bases acquired from a foreign government after 1940, (2) employees of civilian contractors and subcontractors engaged in public work projects for the U.S. government outside the continental United States, and (3) individuals employed outside the continental United States by a U.S. employer whose purpose it is to provide welfare or other such services to the Armed Forces as approved by the secretary of defense.

There is a workers compensation endorsement to provide this coverage: WC 00 01 01

Defense Base Act Coverage
The federal Defense Base Act provides for benefits under the Longshore and Harbor workers Compensation Act (LHWCA) and is applicable to employees of contractors performing work at overseas military bases, whether in a territory or possession of the U.S. or in a foreign country, and to various public works contracts performed outside the continental U.S. This endorsement extends the workers compensation policy to provide LHWCA coverage when the named insured is performing such work.

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Ask Regina

Q. Our corporate agency has added new officers. Is there anything that we need to send reginato the Texas Department of Insurance in regard to our corporate license?

A. Yes, a partnership, corporation or LLC must notify TDI using the required biographical form FIN531 within 30 days of the addition or removal of an officer, director, partner, member or manager.

The new officers may also be required to resubmit fingerprints if the previously submitted fingerprints and criminal history on file are more than seven years old.  Fingerprint cards and fingerprinting services are available from Pearson Vue (with or without the exam) or from IndentoGo by MorphoTrust.

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Enhance Your Strategic Plan at the Small Agency Conference

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Don’t have a strategic plan, or have one but not satisfied with it? Take part in a working forum at IIAT’s Small Agency Conference to develop (or enhance) your strategic plan. Draft key fundamentals  for your plan, including:

  • Your vision, mission and values
  • Your three-year goals
  • A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
  • Key metrics and critical success factors to manage your agency’s performance
  • Critical budget management practices
  • Sample tactics to support your action plans

Topics covered in the workshop will include: hiring, productivity, profitability, compensation, growth, staff training and development, technology, customer service and carrier management.

Register for the Small Agency Conference, Sept. 24-25, in Waco.

 

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Access the Power of InfoCentral – IIAT’s Online Coverage & Management Information Center

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InfoCentral is your essential source for insurance policy analysis, answers to tough coverage questions, regulatory and management questions and sample forms and endorsements.

Go to InfoCentral to access:

  • 24 policy guides covering everything from the ISO AutoDealers Coverage Form to Workers Compensation;
  • 300-plus technical articles that answer common coverage and claims questions on 18 lines of insurance;
  • Specimen forms and endorsements for 22 different policies; and
  • Client communications resources and articles you can share with your clients to explain answers to commonly asked insurance coverage questions.

Explore InfoCentral

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What Does It Take to Be an Agent for the Future?

This article originally appeared in Independent Agent magazine.

The pressure of competing in a crowded marketplace could make it tempting for independent agents to focus their energy on serving and retaining customers—all while trying to find time to grow the business.

However, consumers are rapidly changing how they live, learn and buy in a digital-first world. This transformation brings significant challenges for carriers and agents alike.

What should independent agents and carriers do to prepare for the changing landscape of the imminent future?

Introducing AgentfortheFuture.com

Safeco Insurance created AgentfortheFuture.com as a resource for insights and ideas to benefit all agents. It will help you:

  • Consider how the marketplace is changing.
  • Identify critical steps needed to provide customers with an unparalleled experience.

What Will You Find?

  • Agent for the Future surveySafeco asked 600 agents for their opinion about how their roles and business priorities are evolving, as well as their thoughts about changing customer needs and how technology and societal changes may impact how they do business in 2020.
  • “What it takes to be an Agent for the Future”: This Safeco report helps agents evaluate their agency’s state of readiness for the future and identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Real-life Agents for the FutureSee how agents are taking innovative, yet accessible steps to meet the needs of current and future customers and employees.
  • Expert insightsSafeco leaders share their perspective about how agents can embrace innovation and leverage the power of new technology, data analytics and marketing tools to help drive success.

Read the full article in Independent Agent to learn more.

Join IIAT’s young agents in ELITExas to help shape the future of the insurance industry.

ELITExas members:

  • Promote the insurance industry to attract the best diverse talent,
  • Engage in innovating for the future, and
  • Ensure successful assimilation and retention of the best and brightest in the industry.

Learn more.

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Ask Regina

Q. Our insured had a wind and hail claim earlier this spring with partial damage to theirregina roof and the insurance company wants to just repair the damaged portions instead of replacing the roof. Our insured is not happy about this because the shingles don’t perfectly match. Should the insurance carrier replace the entire roof?

A. Texas court decisions do not support policyholder demands to replace undamaged property in order to match damaged property that has been replaced with new materials.

Courts have consistently held that “the insured is entitled to recover only that portion of the damage caused solely by the covered peril.” However, many companies do not generally want to fight the policyholder on this issue and will attempt to negotiate a settlement to satisfy the insured and settle the claim.

For more information on roof claims see IIAT’s Roof Claims Issues in Texas.

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Protect Your Agency from Cyber Threats – Access the Agents Council for Technology Cyber Guide

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With every tech advancement comes cybersecurity issues. How does an agency know where to start?

The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) is here to help. ACT’s Security Issues work group recently created the Agency Cyber Guide 1.0, free to all Big “I” members.

The guide lists and explains all regulations with which agencies must comply, and directs them to resources that can help them get started. Some resources are free, like the agency cybersecurity policy template that agencies can download, brand and use. Others detail important topics like state regulations on data breach, where agents can find security education and risk assessments, and more.

This is the resource agents and brokers need to ensure they not only comply with federal regulations, but also fully protect their clients’ information—both steps that will validate the independent agent’s value proposition.

The Agency Cyber Guide 1.0 is available on the ACT website. You must enter your Big “I” username and password to download.

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Are You Getting Everything You Can from Google Chrome?

world wide web browserAre you still using that old browser? Many Internet users have switched to Chrome. Since being launched in 2008, Google Chrome has become the most popular web browser.  It has a clean design, is fast and simple-to-use.  But have you done everything you can with Chrome? A variety of extensions from third-party developers add features that can improve your efficiency and even save you money.

Extensions are small software programs that can modify and enhance the functionality of the Chrome browser. You can see them in the icons displaying on the top right to the left of the three vertical dot menu item.

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There are extension plugins for just about everything. I’ve outlined some you may find useful and why.

Grammarly: This plugin goes beyond spell check and helps with grammar and punctuation. Errors are divided into critical issues and not so critical (like alerting to the use of past tense). There is a free version and a paid version. The next plugin helped me get a discount on the paid version.

Honey:  Honey saves you money. It searches the web for discounts and coupons, applies them automatically, and helps make sure you save as much as you can.

LastPass:  LastPass saves all of your passwords so you only have one to remember. You can use a master password for secure access from any computer and mobile device. This is a free tool.

Dictionary Bubble: You may become ebullient about this one. This plugin shows the definition of a word by double-clicking.

Web Timer: If you are spending a lot of time shopping or using Facebook at work you may want to skip this one. It keeps track of how you are spending your time on the web. You may also want to look to the next plugin for help.

StayFocusd: If you find social media and shopping irresistible, this app will block non-productive sites during work hours and keep you on task.

Lazarus: If you have ever filled out a web form only to lose the information just before hitting SEND, Lazarus can help prevent that. This plugin saves the information you type into web forms. Luckily Chrome is not known to be prone to crashing.

Unroll.me: If you’re like me, you sign up to receive emails on an ongoing basis. Eventually, they become overwhelming. Unroll.me helps declutter your inbox by unsubscribing to everything you ever signed up for.

Boomerang: This one is to use with your Gmail account. You can schedule emails to send later, receive reminders if you haven’t gotten a response and track messages. It also rates emails for your chances of getting a response. Available upgrades rate your message for positivity and politeness. There’s also a Boomerang for use with Google calendar.

How to download extensions to your Chrome web browser: You can find and insert extensions by searching in the Google Chrome Web Store. Search for the extension and download or explore for others.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions

Here’s an article from LifeHacker outlining some other extensions you may find useful.

http://lifehacker.com/lifehacker-pack-for-chrome-our-list-of-essential-chrom-880863393

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Online Renewals Now Available for RLI Personal Umbrella in all 50 States

RLI Personal Umbrella policyholders countrywide now have the option of completing rli-tmb-thumbnailtheir renewal application and making their payment online. On June 13th, RLI launched a new and enhanced online version of their Personal Umbrella renewal process.

Moving forward, all policyholders will receive an invitation to complete the entire renewal process online. While RLI certainly encourages the use of e-Renewal, a paper copy of the renewal application and correspondence will still be sent to the insured.  The insured can choose to complete and return the paper application if preferred.

If the online option is chosen, the insured will be given the RLI PUP Renewal web address and unique, password protected log-in information.  The majority of policyholders will be able to review and update their policy rating information, sign the questionnaire electronically, and make the policy premium payment.  For those policyholders where additional underwriting is required, the system will notify them RLI is reviewing the application.

The attached e-Renewal information packet provides a step-by-step overview of the process. This document will serve as a reference guide should your clients need assistance in navigating the e-Renewal process.

A Personal Umbrella Policy provides an extra layer of very affordable liability protection for personal assets and future earnings for your clients.

RLI offers IIAT members access to a standard market for stand-alone personal umbrella policies. It is a perfect solution for hard to place personal lines accounts. The program is administered in Texas by IIAT and underwritten by RLI Insurance Co., rated “A+” (Excellent) IX by A. M. Best.

For more information contact Polly Middlebrook at 800-880-7428 or email pmidd@iiat.org

 

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Ask Regina

Q. A vehicle ran into our insured’s fence knocking down a portion of the fence andregina completely destroying another portion. The at-fault party’s insurance does not want to pay full replacement cost, is that correct?

A. Generally, Texas courts value property on an actual cash value basis. In practice, the decisions revolve around whether there is an established market for the damaged goods. If there is, such as for automobiles, the proper measure of recovery is the market value of the property.

Where there is no market for the property, such as for household goods, recovery is limited to the actual worth or value of the property to the owner, with consideration for the use and condition of the property, and excluding any sentimental considerations. For partial losses to real or personal property, the measure of damages is the replacement value, reduced to prevent a windfall to the property owner.

The guidelines are obviously not exact measurements of recovery for damaged property. If a property owner disagrees with an insurer’s offer to settle a property damage claim, he or she always has an option to see what a judge or jury thinks.

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