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Higher Annual Costs of Vehicle Ownership…Not Driven by Insurance

Are you shocked by the high cost of owning a vehicle? You’re not alone. The annual cost of vehicle ownership has been on the rise for years and shows no signs of slowing down. But while many people assume that insurance is one of the main culprits behind these costs, this isn’t actually the case. In fact, insurance rates have remained relatively stable over the past few years. So what’s driving up the cost of owning a car? Keep reading to find out!

One of the biggest expenses associated with owning a car is the cost of gas. As you probably know, gas prices fluctuate pretty frequently. And while they’ve been relatively low over the past few years, they’re starting to creep back up again. This means that if you’re not careful, you could end up spending a lot of money on gas each month.

Another cost that has been on the rise is the cost of car repairs and maintenance. As cars become more complex, it’s becoming more expensive to keep them running properly. This is especially true if you own an older car that requires more frequent repairs.

The cost of purchasing a vehicle has also climbed over the last couple of years. While there are a number of factors that contribute to this, one of the biggest is that cars are becoming more and more technologically advanced. This means that they’re often packed with features that drive up the price tag.

So what does all this mean for you? If you’re looking to save money on the cost of owning a car, you’ll need to be extra careful about how you spend your money. Gas, repairs, and purchasing a new car can all add up quickly. But if you’re smart about your spending, you can keep the cost of owning a car under control.

Tips on Avoiding Wire Fraud

The number of wire fraud cases is on the increase globally, and this includes within the insurance industry. As a reminder of best practices for reducing the likelihood that you will be victimized by this type of crime, we share the following information.

When it comes to wire fraud, prevention is key. To help protect yourself and your business, take the following steps:

-Ensure that all employees who handle wires are properly trained on how to spot red flags and identify fraudulent activity.

-Implement dual approval procedures for all wire transfers, so that no single individual has sole control over the process.

-Verify the wiring instructions with the intended recipient by telephone or in-person before sending any money. Do not rely on email communications alone.

-Never send wires in response to unsolicited requests, even if they appear to be from someone you know and trust. If you are unsure about a request, confirm it with the person directly before taking any action.

By following these simple steps, you can help protect yourself and your business from wire fraud. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your insurance agent or broker. Thank you for your time and attention to this important issue.

What is inflation and how does it affect the insurance industry and your premiums?

Inflation is a term that is thrown around a lot in the news, but what does it actually mean? In short, inflation is when prices for goods and services increase. In the world of insurance, this can have a big impact on premiums. In this blog post, we will discuss how inflation affects premiums and why it’s important to keep track of changes in the rate of inflation.

There are a few different ways to measure inflation, but the most common is the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI measures changes in the prices of a basket of goods and services that are commonly consumed by households. In the United States, the CPI is released on a monthly basis by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

When the CPI goes up, it means that prices are rising and the purchasing power of your dollar is decreasing. In other words, it takes more money to buy the same amount of goods or services. Inflation can have a major impact on your insurance premiums because insurance companies use something called the “cost of living adjustment” (COLA) to account for changes in the CPI.

The COLA is a percentage increase or decrease that is applied to your insurance premiums to keep them in line with the rising cost of living. For example, if the CPI goes up by two percent, your insurance company may raise your premiums by two percent as well. Inflation can also affect the insurance industry in other ways. Another example would be, that if the cost of medical care goes up, it would be likely that you would see an increase in your health insurance premiums. In addition, inflation can erode the value of investments that insurance companies hold, which can impact their financial stability and ability to pay claims.

While there are a number of factors that can affect your insurance premiums, inflation is one of the most important to keep in mind. While this may seem like a disadvantage for consumers, it’s important to remember that insurance is designed to protect you from financial loss in the event of an unforeseen circumstance. In other words, while your premiums may go up in response to inflation, so will the payouts you receive if you need to make a claim. In the end, this ensures that insurance remains an effective way to protect yourself and your family from financial hardship.

If you have any questions about how inflation affects your insurance premiums, or if you would like to learn more about how insurance works, we encourage you to speak with one of our experienced agents. We would be happy to help! In the meantime, please check out our blog for more informative articles like this one.

Thank you for reading!!!

Catastrophic Events

We are officially in hurricane season, and along with hurricanes also come disasters like flooding, severe storms, and even wildfires. Informing our clients on how to be prepared for events like this, through purchasing the right coverage, is something we strive to do. Though it may not seem like something that could happen to you and your home, you never know when a storm may blow through. According to Asta (2022), in 2021 there were 18 weather and climate disasters in which damages were around $1 billion or more.


Something important that all homeowners should know is that your homeowner’s policy might cover many natural disasters such as hail, windstorms, and lightning, but what it likely does not cover is floods, earthquakes, and/or tsunamis (Asta, 2022). Flood insurance is coverage we always suggest to our customers, as we feel it is very beneficial. We’re also able to provide standalone wind coverage. For our clients who live in coastal areas, this policy provides coverage for damage from hail and wind, regardless of whether the damage is from a named storm or an everyday storm (Orchid).


Now, although flood and wind coverage is something all homeowners should look into purchasing, it’s also an important thing for business owners to consider as well. Catastrophic events don’t just affect homes, they destroy anything in their path. As a business owner, you want to make sure you plan in advance by making educated choices on what insurance coverage you really need (Asta, 2022).


One final way you can help protect your home, business, family, and employees from catastrophic events is to have a plan of action. If a disaster does strike, your family members and employees should know the procedure. For example, where to take shelter in the event of a tornado, where the fire extinguisher and emergency exits are located, or where to meet if everyone must evacuate the premises (Asta, 2022).


If you don’t already have flood or wind coverage, give us a call today so we can get you a fast and easy quote!

References:
Asta, Donna (March 1, 2022) Planning for the Future with Catastrophic Insurance. Big I Independent Agent. https://www.iamagazine.com/magazine/issues/2022/march/planning-for-the-future-with-catastrophic-insurance
Orchid. www.orchidinsurance.com. Accessed July 5, 2022.

Fraud in Florida

The state of Florida is definitely known for many things, and one of those things is bad storms! High winds, hard rain, hail, and more are many of the frequent natural disasters that hit Florida. Homeowners and business owners are constantly looking for contractors to help them when in need of damage repaired. But one thing Floridians need to be aware of is the scammers!

According to Schuppe (2002), there are local contractors knocking on doors offering to inspect homeowners’ roofs for storm damage. “They say they can help get a roof replacement covered by insurance, and they persuade the homeowners to sign away their rights to file the claims themselves. The contractors then file fraudulent damage claims, and when the insurance companies balk, the contractors sue” (para. 7).

As these scammers continue to prey on Floridians, increased insurance rates continue to skyrocket as the carriers are being heavily impacted by this. This is one of the leading factors for why carriers are fleeing the state of Florida. “Those (carriers) that remain have sought rate increases ranging from 15 percent to 96 percent and have become more selective about who they will cover” (para. 15).

Something needs to be done to address this urgent matter. In the meantime, Florida residents, please keep this scam in mind!



Reference:

Schuppe, Jon. (2022, May 21). Florida lawmakers Scramble to Fix a Property Insurance Crisis Before Hurricane Season. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/roofing-scams-florida-property-insurance-hurricane-rcna29649

Florida Roofing Laws – What to Know

While many carriers are ceasing to write at least part of their book of business in Florida, others are taking further steps to help reduce their risk of exposures. Some insurance carriers are now avoiding writing homes or commercial properties with older roofs (Rabb, 2022).

If you’re a homeowner or business owner in Florida, this might be something for you to consider. If you haven’t had any updates to your roof or other areas in your home, like electrical, plumbing, etc., within the last 15-plus years, this might be a red flag for an insurance carrier.

According to Deventer (2022), “home insurance companies will be prohibited from denying policies solely due to the age of a home’s roof, but only if the roof is fewer than 15 years old and has five years of life left. Homes with older roofs may still be denied coverage” (para. 4).

The age of your roof impacting your insurance is largely due to the hurricanes and large storms that Florida faces (Carey, 2021). Annual inspections, maintenance, and necessary repairs are key to lessening the chance of a storm causing damage to your roof, while also giving you the green light when it comes to getting and maintaining a homeowner or commercial insurance policy in Florida.

Roof age has played a big factor in whether underwriters will accept a home. This is something we are constantly talking about with our insureds. So, before you start looking for a new homeowner or commercial insurance policy, do yourself a favor and find out when you last had your roof repaired or replaced. This will be a number one question your agent will ask you.



References:

Carey, Diane M. (2021, September 2). New Florida Roofing laws Affect Insurance. Hometown News. https://www.hometownnewsvolusia.com/news/new-florida-roofing-laws-affect-insurance/article_d6cae4ca-fec2-11eb-9387-1b8db5624822.html

Deventer, Cate. (2022, June 3). Will Florida’s Home Insurance Reform Bill be Enough to Review a Collapsing Market? Bankrate. https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/new-2022-florida-property-insurance-reform/

Rabb, William. (2022, July 1). Gone with the Flo: Progressive Stops Writing DP-3 Policies in Florida. Insurance Journal. https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2022/07/01/674326.htm

Florida Homeowners Insurance

No matter how you look at it, prices are increasing everywhere, from groceries to gas and even insurance rates too. No matter what state or county you live in, inflation is happening around us all and has become our new reality.

Florida residents know a lot about overpriced insurance premiums as it is, their auto insurance alone is the most expensive out of the 50 states (Deventer, 2021). But when it comes to homeowners’ insurance, Floridians have another thing to think about.

According to Rabb (2022), “The Florida property insurance market is showing more signs of trouble, with one of the state’s largest carriers deciding to stop writing new homeowners’ business in the state – while also asking for a rate increase on some policies” (para1). Unfortunately, it’s not just one insurance carrier who’s revealing they’re going to stop writing new homeowners and dwelling fire policies in the great state of Florida, it’s multiple (Rabb, 2022).

While some companies cease to write policies in Florida, the ones left standing are pushing ahead with rate increases (Rabb, 2022). This is a clear issue for Florida residents who have already been paying a large amount of money for their insurance policies.

So, what are the next steps for Florida? For now, insurance agents are urging lawmakers to make reforms that can help stem losses and reduce litigation, among other changes (Rabb, 2022).



References:

Deventer, Cate. (2021, December 31). Average Cost of Car Insurance in Florida in 2022. Bankrate. https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/car/average-cost-of-car-insurance-in-florida/

Rabb, William. (2022, February 8). Another Big Insurer Stops Writing Homeowners Policies in Florida. Insurance Journal. https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2022/02/08/653123.htm

Getting a Personal Insurance Quote

So, now that you have a little background knowledge on insurance, such as why it’s important to have, and which type of agent you should work with, it’s time to start thinking about getting insurance quotes. Before you start calling around to different agencies, you should first know what types of insurance you’re looking for. If you own a house, apartment, or condo, you will need homeowners’ insurance. If you rent a house, apartment, or condo you’ll need renters’/tenants’ insurance. If you own a vehicle or motorcycle, you’ll need car or motorcycle insurance. The list goes on…so take a minute to stop and think about the major things you own, rent or lease. If you’re still unsure of what coverage you need, plan to have a conversation with the agent you speak with, they can help guide you.

Next, do some research about agencies near you. Google and social media can be a good place to start. Once you find an agency, you may want to review their website and look over reviews. Once you’re ready to call, you may want to start by asking which specific carriers the agency works with. The more carriers, the more opportunity the agent will have to find you the best quote for your needs.

Many agencies will ask you questions like your first and last name, your date of birth, driver’s license number (if you’re looking for auto insurance), your marital status, and who your current carrier is. Here at ASZ International, we ask that you provide us with your declaration pages. This simply outlines the coverage you have in place right now, so we can make sure that when we look into a new policy for you, we are not giving you anything less. If you don’t want us to know how much your current premium is, we totally understand that, feel free to cross it out on your paperwork.


Now the tedious part is over. Your agent will begin to look into quotes for you. Again, if you work through an independent agent, they will plug your information into a comparative rater which will populate many different options. This is beneficial to you as it will allow you to compare coverage apples to apples with more than one carrier.

If you’re ready to start looking into quotes, download our app by clicking here and then following the on-screen instructions. We would be more than happy to assist you in finding the right coverage for you and your family!

Independent Agents vs Captive Agents

When looking for insurance, it can be incredibly stressful trying to decide which provider is right for you and your family. The entire process can be overwhelming, from narrowing down a provider, to getting the right coverage you need, and of course trying to stay within an affordable budget. Many people do not even know where to begin, and if that’s how you feel, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

This is where insurance agents come into play. First, let’s go over the difference between a captive insurance agent versus an independent insurance agent. A captive insurance agent is contracted to work for one insurance company and can only sell that one specific company’s policy (West Bend, n.d.). For example, if you reach out to a Nationwide insurance agent, they would only be able to get you quotes with Nationwide. Whereas an independent insurance agent is contracted to work with a variety of insurance companies and can sell policies from multiple providers (West Bend, n.d.). For example, if you reach out to us here at ASZ International, Inc., we can get you quotes from many different carriers like Nationwide, Lemonade, Erie, Travelers, and more, and then we compare them, apples to apples for you. This way you know exactly what each company has to offer, and it allows you to make a more educated decision on which policy is absolutely right for you.

Working with an independent insurance agent, in our opinion, is much more beneficial. Not only does your agent have the ability to go to different carriers who sometimes vary in the coverage they provide, but they can also shop around for you to see where they can get you the right coverage at the most affordable price. Another benefit is that when it comes time for your renewal, your agent will keep an eye out to see if they can get you a cheaper rate with another carrier. If they can, they’ll switch your coverage over and continue to be your assigned rep. Which leads me to another benefit of working with an independent insurance agency, not having to wait on hold or talk to a 1-800 representative. Instead, you get to call a real person, who is there to support, educate, and guide you throughout the whole process.

Here at ASZ International, that is exactly the kind of people we strive to be. We are here to work with you and for you. We don’t work for any specific insurance company, that’s not our job. Our job is to help you, the policy holder.



Reference:
West Bend. (n.d.) Does Your Insurance Agent Have Your Best Interests At Heart? The Silver Lining. https://www.thesilverlining.com/common-topics/independent-agents-versus-captive-agents

The Basics and Benefits of Insurance

Let’s talk about insurance, and why it’s so important. Do you own a home, apartment, vehicle, or any type of personal belongings? If you do, then you want to make sure those things are protected in case of a loss. When you buy insurance, you’re transferring the cost of a potential loss or accident to the insurance company in exchange for a fee. You’re buying yourself protection at a fraction of the price of what it would cost to get back those belongings. If you suffer a loss that is covered by your policy and you file a claim, insurance is there to help you pay for that loss based on the terms of your policy (Grange Insurance, n.d.).

Insurance not only provides protection against theft and damage from perils like fire and water, but it also protects you from the financial responsibility that could result from a visitor or guest being accidentally injured on your property. In a nutshell, insurance is very important. Though it is something you hope you never have to use, because nobody wants something bad to happen to them, it is something that you don’t want to be without if you end up suffering a loss.

So how does insurance work? When you purchase insurance, you are known as the policyholder. When multiple policyholders purchase insurance with the same insurance company/carrier, the insurance company uses the money collected from the policyholders and other investments, to pay for its operations and claims made by its policyholders (Grange Insurance, n.d.). So when you buy insurance, the payments you make are in exchange for being covered from certain risks (Araujo, 2021).

Next, we’ll dive into how to choose the right insurance provider for you and your family.


References:
Araujo, Mila. (2021, July 12). Get the Basics to Learn How Insurance Works. The Balance. https://www.thebalance.com/basics-to-help-you-understand-how-insurance-works-4783595


Grange Insurance. (n.d.). What is insurance and why is it important? The Grange Guide to Insurance. https://www.grangeinsurance.com/tips/what-is-insurance-why-is-it-important


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