Insurance Score Secrets
Mel Foster Insurance Challenges Community to #RISEUP
Mel Foster Co. launched a Rise Up challenge today across its company’s divisions and is inviting the community to join the effort through social media to share positive messages of hope, courage and kindness. The goal is to highlight all of the good things that are happening in our community as we navigate this uncertain time together.
To kick-start the challenge, Mel Foster Co. is picking two winners daily through April 10 who will receive gift cards from local businesses. Entering is easy:
Use #riseup and tag Mel Foster Co. (@melfostercoinc) when you post a positive message on social media.
You can #riseup in many ways to inspire hope and bring joy to others:
- Post any kind of positive message, video, act of kindness, etc. with #riseup
- Order carry out/delivery from a local restaurant and post a picture
- Work with your kids/grandkids to write notes to healthcare workers
- Make a donation to a disaster relief fund
- Give blood if you are able
- Post ideas of positive things people can do while they are at home
- Send a surprise to someone who may be lonely
- Check in with a family member/friend who may be feeling anxious during this time
- Get outside with your kids/grandkids to write positive messages in chalk on your driveway
- Anything you are doing to send positive thoughts and messages to help our community qualifies (of course while following the CDC guidelines for safe interactions and social distancing)
Best Practices for Staying Healthy From the CDC
With the spread of COVID-19 in full swing, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has set some guidelines and tips for staying healthy during this pandemic. During this unpredictable outbreak, it is important that we follow these practices, not only to keep yourself healthy, but for the safety and health of others.
Understand How COVID-19 Spreads
- The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus.
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person either between close contact of less than six feet or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Practice Social Distancing
- All non-essential workers should stay home. Talk to your employer about working remotely.
- Avoid close contact with others, especially those who are sick, keeping a distance of about six feet.
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Keep Your Hands Clean
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Clean and Disinfect
- Wipe down frequently touched surfaces, including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks, with EPA-registered household disinfectants.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them with detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Cover Coughs and Sneezes
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
- Remember to always throw used tissues in the trash.
- Immediately after coughing or sneezing, wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with a hand sanitizer.
If You Feel Sick…
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Stay in touch with your doctor. Call ahead before you visit. They will advise you of whether or not to leave your home and get tested.
- For those who feel sick or who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, wear a facemask when and if you are around people and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.
- Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing and taxis.
- If you live with family members or roommates, stay in a specific “sick room” and use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Avoid sharing household items with others, such as dishes, cups, utensils, towels and bedding.
Understanding how to care for yourself, and others, through this pandemic is extremely important. By following these health practices, you will significantly lessen your chance of getting coronavirus or spreading it to others, especially those with preexisting conditions and the elderly. Refer to the CDC for further information on how to stay healthy.
7 Things That Cause Sump Pump Failure
- The most common cause for sump pump failure is an electrical power outage.
- Prevent this by having a back-up generator that can be manually activated. Also, protect a potential power surge with a service entrance surge protection device.
The Sump Pump is the wrong size
- Incorrect sized pump will likely cause a failure.
- Too big – pump works too hard and shortens the lifespan, too small – same problem.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly. Read all the do’s and don’ts of installing a sump pump.
Lack of Maintenance
- Check your manufacturer recommendations.
Frozen or Clogged Discharge Lines
- Keep the discharge pipe protected from freezing and free of any kind of debris.
- There is a special grated discharge line attachment that can be added to help prevent this.
- Always test after installation to make sure the sump pump is working properly.
- Your sump pump relies on both he switch and float arm to work properly.
Source: Werner Restoration Services, Inc.
Mel Foster Insurance Response to COVID-19
As the COVID-19 public health emergency evolves, supporting our employees, customers, and communities remains our primary focus.
We are taking action to limit person-to-person contact among our staff and customers beginning March 20, 2020 by closing our office lobby to foot traffic until further notice.
Mel Foster Insurance will continue to provide service to our clients by appointment only. Please call our office at 563-359-5446 in advance for extended options for your insurance needs. You can also contact us through our website at www.melfosterinsurance.com.
Coronavirus and Business Income Losses
COVID-19, better known as the Coronavirus, originated in Wuhan, China. Latest theories point to bats and snakes as the origination points of the virus. Bats with a strain of the virus were hunted and eaten by snakes. The snakes were hunted, gathered and sold for food in markets within the Wuhan province. The disease-laden snakes were eaten by humans transmitting the virus to humans; at least this is the theory. (It’s rather ironic that a mammal would transmit the virus to a reptile that transmitted the virus back to mammals.)
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Coronavirus is thought to be transmitted person-to-person through “respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes … these droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people … or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.”
Major manufacturing operations in China have reportedly slowed or even ceased operations, travel into and out of China is at a bare minimum, and supply chains are severely disrupted in many industries. In reality, the ultimate global economic impact of this virus will remain unknown for many months after the danger and fear have passed. (Another irony of this virus is that some operations have enjoyed increased business. My neighbor teaches students in China online; since the outbreak of this virus, her student count has increased dramatically as kids are staying home to attend classes.)
The Virtual University receives several calls and emails every day regarding the insurance implications of this virus, and the most common question relates to business income, specifically: “Is there business income coverage if a governmental authority (civil authority) requires businesses to close?”
No, there is no business income coverage. This is the short answer. Before business income responds there must be damage to property leading to the cessation of a business. This requirement applies to business income dependent property losses (supply chain) and civil authority losses covered by business income policies. Additionally, there is a specific property exclusion applicable to viruses that may (generally will) apply. This is true of “standard” business income forms; there may be some proprietary forms that respond, but these are rare.
Insurance Services Office (ISO) continually monitors emerging issues and trends that may affect the insurance industry, and the unknown ultimate result of this virus certainly qualifies as an emerging issue. In response to the Coronavirus, and because many if not most policies contain a virus exclusion, ISO created two business income endorsements as a specific response to the Coronavirus:
· Business Interruption: Limited Coverage For Certain Civil Authority Orders Relating To Coronavirus ─ Edition February, 2020; and
· Business Interruption: Limited Coverage For Certain Civil Authority Orders Relating To Coronavirus (Including Orders Restricting Some Modes Of Public Transportation) ─ Edition February, 2020
Note that neither endorsement is assigned a form number. Why? Because ISO did not file these endorsements on behalf of the industry. Rather, ISO made these advisory forms available for use by any member carrier. Any carrier that desires to use either or both endorsements must file them with the relevant regulatory authority. (On a side note, if ISO had filed these endorsements, both would have been assigned a CP 15 XX number because they are business income endorsements.)
Coverage provided by both endorsements:
· Begins immediately upon suspension of the insured’s operations (there is no waiting period).
· Extends for the time period specified in the schedule.
· Is provided on an annual aggregate basis limited to the amount stated in the Schedule.
· Provide limited coverage when/if there is a suspension of operations due to closure or quarantine at the insured location ordered by a civil authority attempting to avoid or limit the spread of infection by a Coronavirus.
· Extend dependent property coverage (contingent business income) for named locations, if the policy includes dependent property coverage, when there is an interruption in the insured’s business due to closure or quarantine to avoid or limit the spread of infection by a Coronavirus ordered by a civil authority at the dependent property.
· Apply to income loss suffered by insureds operating from a vehicle or mobile equipment, if the policy is endorsed to recognize such vehicle-based operation.
The Business Interruption: Limited Coverage For Certain Civil Authority Orders Relating To Coronavirus (Including Orders Restricting Some Modes Of Public Transportation) ─ Edition February, 2020, contains one additional feature not found in the other endorsement. This endorsement adds coverage if the insured suffers a suspension of operations due to mandated closure or restricted usage of public bus, rail or ferry lines or related stations or terminals serving the area where the insured’s business is located.
Lastly, both endorsements specifically exclude:
· Intentional action by any person, group, organization or sovereign state to introduce or spread the virus;
· Costs to clean, disinfect, dispose of or replace any property;
· Costs to disinfect or dispose of any bodily fluids or waste materials;
· Costs of testing for or monitoring the presence or absence of the virus;
· Loss or expense due to fear of contagion, e.g., when customers, tenants or vendors avoid a part of the insured’s premises not under quarantine;
· Loss or expense related to absence of infected workers or those suspected of being infected; and
· Any fines or penalties.
ISO specifically states in this filing that it has not developed policy-writing or rating rules. Each company is responsible for assessing the exposure for the classes of business written under these endorsements, developing its own rules and filing the forms as required by the regulatory authority.
Whether these will be the model for future “pandemic” endorsements from ISO is not clear. For now, it is up to the individual carrier to decide whether to use these endorsements or not.
Source: Chris Boggs of The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (Big “I”)
Mel Foster Insurance Awarded Platinum Partner Agency by United Fire Group
United Fire Group (UFG), a property and casualty carrier, is proud to announce Mel Foster Insurance has recently been named as a Tier 1 Platinum Partner Agency. Agencies are awarded this top recognition based on UFG’s high quality standard of measurement. Agencies across the nation are evaluated against each other based on written premium, loss ratio, new business production, premium growth, and policy/premium retention.
“This recognition is well deserved by our team of professionals. It is a testament to the first-class insurance experience we provide our personal and business clients. We are proud to be recognized amongst our peers as a top tier level independent agency across the region,” said Marc Engels, president Mel Foster Insurance.
Mel Foster Insurance is located at 3218 E. 35th St. Ct. Davenport, Iowa. For more information about Mel Foster Insurance, visit www.melfosterinsurance.com.
Mel Foster Insurance Receives Exceptional Agency Designation
Hastings Mutual Insurance Company, a property and casualty carrier, is proud to announce Mel Foster Insurance has earned the Exceptional Agency designation for it 2019 insurance results. To achieve Exceptional Agency status, Mel Foster Insurance met specific criteria based on premium, profitability and growth, and was one of two agencies in the state of Iowa to receive the designation.
“The Exceptional Agency designation from Hastings Mutual is reserved for those partners, like Mel Foster Insurance, who have achieved remarkable results and demonstrated commitment to building a strong partnership with us, their clients and the communities that they serve,” said Carl Lickley, Vice President – Chief Marketing Officer at Hastings Mutual.
“This recognition acknowledges the personalized service we provide our clients. While the designation recognizes our business achievements, those are only possible by building relationships with clients and becoming their trusted insurance provider,” said Marc Engels, president Mel Foster Insurance. “We are humbled to receive the distinct designation from Hastings Mutual and are grateful for their continued support as we serve our local community.”
Mel Foster Insurance is located at 3218 E. 35th St. Ct. Davenport, Iowa. For more information about Mel Foster Insurance, visit www.melfosterinsurance.com.
Insurance Coverage During Transition
Insurance coverage is especially important when moving from one residence to another but often gets excluded from the list of priorities. Gaps in coverage can arise during the transition between residences with both personal property and personal liability. Consider a few scenarios that may arise during the move and how having the right policies in place can help to alleviate coverage gaps.
Personal Property Coverage
During a cross-country move, several days can pass between leaving the old house and moving into the new one. One way to maintain coverage on personal property during this transition is to keep the homeowners policy on the old home in force until the coverage starts on the new home, even if you have sold your old home. Most insurance policies have a standard coverage concerning personal property within the residence, but separate exceptions for property outside the residence, like when in a storage facility or on the moving truck. Be sure to consult your Mel Foster Insurance producer to clarify your terms before you begin the move.
Personal Liability Coverage
Unlike a policy that covers the physical property during the move, personal liability provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by others for which you or covered residents of your household are legally responsible. Personal liability insurance can begin on the move date and would then apply during the trip and transition. Some restrictions apply with policy coverage and limitations on value are often implemented by insurance companies. Read the fine print and have all the facts before issues arise during the transition.
Do not cancel the current insurance based on instructions from third parties like the mortgagee, title company or closing attorney. As with any insurance, the agency should never make a change to add, delete or change policies without explicit instructions from you. It’s always best to handle any wanted changes or clarifications yourself.
A majority of losses from fire, theft or windstorm are covered under the basic personal property insurance policy. If the moving truck overturns, most authorities would apply damage to personal property as the result of the vehicle hazard.
Some potential causes of loss are unique to moving, such as breakage, scratching or lost items. The homeowner may be advised to purchase protection from the moving company directly in some instances.
Schedule an appointment with one of our agents today to verify proper insurance coverage for your upcoming move.
Thinking Minimalistic In 2020
The beginning of a new year is often when we consider making changes to our lifestyle. Maybe we want to exercise more and eat less, visit somewhere new or spend more time at home. Consider a few creative ideas from Joshua Fields Millburn and The Minimalist Rulebook when planning to simplify your life and your belongings.
A Purging Challenge
Think less is more. Choose a friend who wants to minimize with you and select the organization where you’ll donate. Start the purging challenge on the first day of a month, with a goal of ridding yourself of the most items by the end of the month. Each person removes one thing on day one, two things on day two, three things on day three, and so on. Obviously, the challenge becomes harder when faced with donating items in the double digits in one day. The friend who gets through the most days wins, but both will feel successful in passing along their excess to someone in need.
Photo Scanning Party
Wondering what to do with your old photos stacked inside your desk drawer? Consider planning a photo scanning party. Find a high-quality scanner that rapidly feeds and scans photos and then immediately saves them to a memory card and/or online. Gather your favorite friends, some snacks and cocktails, and make an evening of making your memories digital! Once the photos are scanned, they can easily be enjoyed in a digital picture frame or made into a bound photo album. Securing the photos digitally also offers peace of mind in the unfortunate event of house damage by fire or flood.
Wait For It
If online shopping from your couch is your downfall, this challenge could help save you money and help simplify your life! Take pause before you purchase something non-essential. When considering buying an item that costs more than $30, ask if you can get by without it for the next 30 hours. Choosing to wait this extra time helps determine how necessary the item is and if it will add value to your life. The pause often results in a pass on the purchase. If you do decide to buy the item though, you are satisfied that it was acquired with intention and not just as an impulse buy. Some even consider waiting 30 days to decide on making purchases over $100. So, just wait for it and see what results you’ll achieve.
Organize your personal documents at home by using an inventory checklist recommended by Mel Foster Insurance.
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