THE Insured: Credit Scores

You, as THE Insured become a significant piece of the puzzle when it comes to packaging the best in products and pricing for your insurance coverage. Many people don’t realize the depth of impact of a credit score on insurance pricing.  Unfortunately, they do impact more than just credit cards, business loans, or home mortgages. A representation of payment history, your credit score is a photo shot of your past and present attitude toward and ability to meet financial commitments. It is easy to understand why insurance companies are standing in the same line as other institutions; eager to determine how healthy a risk you are to their company!

As a primer for you, rates and fees are all adjusted up or down, based on your credit score; it is worthy of your every effort to protect and ensure you get the best.

  1. Home Mortgages and Rental Agreements

Needing to know they won’t be caught holding the bag, so to speak, if you should default on a home mortgage or a management company having to “eat” broken rental agreements, the credit score will represent one of two major actions by mortgage and rental management companies:  (a) denial of your request, or b) an increase in interest rates or deposits that will defray potential loss.

  1. Automobiles and Motor Homes

Known to be the second largest purchase made by Americans, it is seldom they buy automobiles or motor homes without financing them. Again… your credit score will determine both the amount you will be allowed to borrow and the interest rate you will be expected to pay for the privilege.

  1. Career Opportunities

This is probably where you are going to raise your eyebrows, asking, “How can something like a credit score affect my entire life?”  The long and short of it is that employers also look at how responsible you will be in managing any aspect of the success of their company.  In larger corporations, promotions are even considered – or not – based on how high or mediocre your credit score is reported.

  1. Basic Utility Services

Here we are again… something so basic and necessary one MIGHT think these services should not or could not possibly be impacted by your credit score. I mean – we NEED these things! Well, I can assure you the good old credit score assessment will be used by these companies before they initiate services – paying more in the way of deposits and frequently having NO allowance for late pays.

I trust this was an eye-opener!  As your trusted insurance agent, it is important to me that I get the best possible price and product – however, I do have to have your help in making that happen just by taking the most responsible position possible in managing your credit score.

Jan Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients and her industry for 30+ years
http://www.lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com/
JanVitale@lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com

 

Arizona Contractor License Bond

Did you know…

Arizona contractors license bonds are individually based upon the gross volume of work contemplated by the licensee within the State of Arizona for the upcoming fiscal year.

The insurance bond protection, intended to benefit the consumer, can be a complex task for the contractor to secure.  It opens many questions for contractors… first of which is, “Where do I find the companies who provide the coverage?” “What are the state requirements?”  It is necessary to be aware of a few things before you go shopping – you don’t want to be over-insured or under-covered.

 

A great resource is, of course, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, where you can easily find responses to the primary questions.

  1. Are there any bond requirements for a contractor’s license?
  2. Where can I get a bond?
  3. How long is a bond valid?
  4. New applicant bonding requirements: What will the bond amount be?
  5. Renewal bond requirements: What happens when it’s time to renew?
  6. Can the bond amount be increased?
  7. When will the bond be effective?

On the site you are also provided a list of agencies offering the product(s) you need, but you are still faced with huge questions, “How do I make the right choice? Who can I trust? What is the right product for me?  The list, of course, goes on and on. It is most likely this seems all too complicated, and you have the feeling you need more support on your side as you make the inquiries, and come to a number of very important decisions.  In reality, you owe it to yourself, and the success of your company, to use the services of an independent agent who knows the requirements, the options, and the products that will be the best fit for you.

 

Jan Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients and her industry for 30+ years
http://www.lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com/
JanVitale@lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com

 

Arizona Auto Insurance: Fraud

Arizona Auto Insurance Fraud brings a new meaning to the phrase, “Buyers beware!”  As an insured, this may be a red alert for you to take photographs of your vehicle before you leave it for collision repair.  According to a July news article in Auto Body News, the owner of a Phoenix auto-body repair was convicted of having his employees intentionally add damage to the vehicles delivered to his shop so he could collect increased insurance payments!

It is rather unfathomable to me, however, that although the Arizona Department of Insurance announced his conviction, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge placed the owner on probation for a year, fined him what I consider to be a very nominal $813 and ordered restitution for two felony convictions related to his mis-deeds.

His actions only came to light when an unhappy employee reported to Progressive Insurance – who then followed up with the Insurance Department. Of further interest is the duration of the investigation, which ran from October 2010 through April 2012 – as part of a rather extensive undercover investigation.  The article ended with a comment by an unhappy consumer who thought she was having a flat tire taken care of – only to have the body shop report she had “apparently hit something.”

I truly hope you, nor anyone else, ever has to experience something of this nature, and do encourage you to beware of the possibility of others not being as credible as you would expect.

Arizona Auto Insurance: Ever Wonder What Impacts Rates?

Ever wonder what impacts rates on Arizona Auto Insurance? All you have to do is complete an online search for articles about them, and you will find all nature of news items that reflect exactly what happens that cause insurance companies to re-consider their rates.   For example, an AZCentral consumer article about the rising costs of insurance leaves no question as to why Arizona drivers pay premiums for their coverage.

Three simple stats on the left side of the online news site pretty much spells it out:

  1. Urban population: 90 percent of Arizonans live in cities, compared with 84 percent of Americans.
  2. Vehicle thefts: 4.9 autos per 1,000 were stolen here in 2009 vs. a U.S. average of 3.
  3. Repair costs: Arizonans or insurers paid $2,484 per average claim in 2008, compared with $2,336 nationally.

With further research, I am pretty confident the numbers today would be even more staggering.

The good news that did come across in this news article, however, stem from a Consumer Federation of America Study showing, “… premiums here have been rising more slowly than in most other states.”  In the most recent year examined for this factor, the U.S average vehicle coverage was $791; Arizona came in at $804. Over a 21-year study, premiums in Arizona experienced a modest increase of 38%; significantly less than the U.S. average at 43%.

At the end of the day, when you are looking to protect yourself from increasing rates – look to the personal steps you take to protect your autos from theft, collision and repair costs – together we can perhaps temper rate increases.

What DO all those Insurance Agent Designations Mean?

Insurance Agent Designations may be important when you are deciding on the expertise and service level of an agent who is presenting quotes to you.  The following information is for your review and awareness. It is taken from the Insurance Workforce site – obviously they are as concerned as I am that you are armed with knowledge that helps you make the best decisions when selecting an insurance agent. My philosophy, “Without me all you have is insurance,” reflects how I feel about customer service. I do, however, believe firmly in being on the front side of industry products and knowledge and have invested many hours of my professional career in attaining the knowledge that prepares me to represent your insurance needs.

Not an all-inclusive list, I wanted to share at least some of the credentials you might see… strung out behind an agent’s name from time to time.

Jan Vitale

AAI  –  Accredited Advisor In Insurance

Designation that stresses the production side of insurance, with study in personal and commercial property and liability contracts, sales and agency management.

AIS  –  Associate In Insurance Services

Enhanced customer focus will helps us attract and keep clients. No matter what our area of specialty, you and your organization benefits from my basic understanding of continuous improvement principles.

ARM  –  Associate In Risk Management

Identification and evaluation of exposures to both accidental losses and business risks, analysis of risk control and financing techniques for each exposure, selection of the most effective risk management alternatives and ways to implement and monitor selected risk control and risk financing techniques.

CIC  –  Certified Insurance Counselor

The CIC program has been the industry’s premier, proven source for practical, real-world education since 1969.  Agents learn important aspects in personal lines, commercial casualty, commercial property, life and health and agency management.

CISR  –  Certified Insurance Service Representative

Stressing methods to minimize E&O claim possibilities and the understanding and analysis of risks and exposures.  The curriculum is tailored to each Agent’s specific region making this a program a superior education opportunity.

CLCS  –  Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist

Agents gain extensive knowledge in a critical functional area of property and casualty insurance practice-insurance policy coverage-and will have applied that knowledge in real-life case study exercises.

 CRM  –  Certified Risk Manager

Agents secure  an in-depth knowledge about today’s highest priorities – identifying, analyzing, controlling, financing, and administering operational risks – as well as political risks, catastrophic loss exposures, third-party exposures, fiduciary exposures, employee injury exposures, juridical risks, legal risks, and more – whether insurable or not. These skills make them more proactive and valuable to your organization in discovering how risks can interrupt the flow of earnings and how to protect against it.

PLCS  –  Personal Lines Coverage Specialist

The most complete professional learning program available for industry professionals seeking to master the subject of personal lines coverage. 

Jan Vitale
Independent Insurance Agent
Proudly serving her clients and her industry for 30+ years
http://www.lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com/
JanVitale@lifetimeinvestmentsllc.com