Archive for July, 2014

Flood Insurance Changes Impact Many

Posted on: July 28th, 2014 by Herlihy Insurance Group No Comments

During the past three years there have been major changes to flood insurance in our country. Many of these changes have stunned current flood policy owners and potential new property buyers that have been quoted very high flood insurance premiums.

We thought it would be good to share the back ground on what has happened in the past few years and what questions you may want to ask if you are advised that you need flood insurance for a property.

In 2012 the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act was passed into law. This reform caused many changes on the flood insurance market. Unfortunately there were many unintended effects on home owners. A few of these were very steep pricing increases that cause rate increases that were double, triple and even ten times higher than previous premiums.

On March 21, 2014 the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 was signed into law. This law repealed and modified many aspects of the Biggert-Waters Insurance Reform Act. A few of the benefits of this new law are:

  • Lower rate increases on some policy holders
  • Prevention of immediate onerous rate increases for flood risks
  • Refunds to certain new policyholders that were required to pay full-risk rate on a new flood insurance policy on or after July 6, 2012.
  • A new surcharge on all policies. $25 for primary residences and $250 for all other properties

What does this mean to you?

  • If you currently have a flood insurance policy in effect, make certain that you pay your premium on time and keep your current policy in effect. There are many grand fathering benefits to current flood insurance policy holders.
  • If you are purchasing a new property before you sign a purchase and sale check with your lender regarding flood insurance requirements. In a few cases we have seen lenders require this insurance and the premiums have been in excess of $10,000.
  • If you are purchasing a property that currently has flood insurance on it, you may have the option to have this policy assigned over to you. This assignment may provide the buyer with reduced flood insurance premiums.

If you are interested in more detailed info on Flood Insurance you can check out the FEMA website at:

www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

Obtaining flood insurance coverage is no longer an easy task and it is NOT included in your home or business insurance policy. We at Herlihy Insurance Group are here to assist our clients with this process.

Distracted Driving & You

Posted on: July 25th, 2014 by Herlihy Insurance Group No Comments

“Research has proven you are four times likely to have an auto accident while talking on the phone, the risk doubles to eight times if you are texting.”

Yes, Distracted Driving is a problem. Everyone agrees young drivers need to pay attention to the road and stop texting and making calls.

Problem is Distracted Driving is not a young driver problem, it’s a danger to every person that drives on our roads. Any activity that takes your attention away from driving is a distraction and a danger for you, your passengers and every other driver on the road. Common distractions include; talking-texting on phones, eating, drinking, smoking, reading, grooming, adjusting radio or navigation system.

Research has proven you are four times likely to have an auto accident while talking on the phone, the risk doubles to eight times if you are texting. The average time spent sending or receiving a text message is five seconds. In five seconds driving 55 miles per hour, your car will have traveled the length of a football field, in essence by itself no driver control. Do you know anyone that drives 55 miles per our on a highway?

The good news is Distracted Driving accidents are avoidable and we have the ability to correct the problem. The first and easiest fix is to put all electronic devices away while driving. Some distractions can be removed others must be managed. Turn cell phones off and set GPS device before you start your car. Do not eat and drink on the road. Secure pets properly and safely before you enter the car.

Simple steps we can take for safer driving are all around us. Take an active roll in education and planning for your family and business. For more information on how you can make the lives of the people you care most about safer, call or email us. We have the tools to help everyone get involved and make our roads a lot safer.

Workers Compensation Updates

Posted on: July 21st, 2014 by Herlihy Insurance Group No Comments

Effective April 1, 2014, the Massachusetts Division of Insurance announced new Workers Compensation rates. This is the first rate change since September 2010.

Contractors

A major change for 2014, is the new change in the Construction Classification Credit. This credit gets applied to policies with eligible construction classifications. Previously, the credit was applied when the average hourly wage of your employees was $18 per hour or more. Effective April 1, 2014, the average hourly wage has been increased to $30 per hour or more. This could significantly affect your premium since the credit was 5-25% of the premium. You still have time to apply for the 2013 credit if you’re eligible.

Out of State Work

If you have employees working in other states, your policy may need to be endorsed. You may have limited coverage working outside of Massachusetts. This is especially true if you have out of state offices/locations or hire non Massachusetts employees. Even if you do have coverage, the state you’re working in may have additional workers compensation laws. New York, for example, requires employers to purchase a short term disability policy in addition to workers compensation insurance.

Your Premium

While the state of Massachusetts sets the rates for workers compensation, insurance companies’ rates are different. Insurance companies are allowed to provide rate deviations and/or Dividend plans. Most discount programs start at premiums of $10,000 or more but there are some, restaurants, that are eligible with premiums as low as $2,500. Discounts range from 5-20%. Some companies also provide monthly reporting of payroll. This allows you to pay as you go each month. This works great for companies whose payroll fluctuates month to month.

Here is the overall change by industry:
Manufacturing
-11.5%
Office/Clerical
+1.5%
Miscellaneous
+6.6%
Construction
-3.1%
Goods/Services
+2.2%
Total
-1.1%

Spring Cleaning Questions to Ask!

Posted on: July 18th, 2014 by Herlihy Insurance Group No Comments

Spring time is a great time of year to circle back and update insurance coverages you may not have addressed, consider the following:

Backup of Water & Sewer

The snow has melted, heavy rains and old sewer and drain pipes are big reasons to add Backup of Water & Sewer coverage to your home insurance. This very important coverage must be added to your home insurance if you want coverage included.

Valuable Items

Review what’s included in your Valuable Items list. Jewelry, furs, art work and other type of collectibles should be added separately to receive the correct value.

Medical Payments

If you have a high deductible health plan or no health insurance, consider adding Medical Payments to your auto policy. If you are injured in a car accident, Medical Payments coverage can be available to off set or pay medical bills.

Accident Forgiveness

More and more companies offer Accident Forgiveness as an option for drivers with good driving records. If you have a clean driving record and have an at fault accident during the year, the accident is “forgiven” and the company does not assess a surcharge to your policy. With surcharges lasting up to six years, this may be a very valuable addition.

Rental Redundancy

The Number One auto claim disappointment we have in our office is when Rental coverage is not included. We definitely recommend Rental coverage. One question to ask yourself; If I am in an accident tomorrow and my car cannot be driven, What car will I drive until repairs are made to my car? If you don’t have an answer to this question, Add Rental coverage.

Go Green, Save Money

Save more money on your home and auto insurance by paying electronically. Insurance companies will charge up to $6 per monthly installment. Save over $100 per year by paying both your home and auto insurance together electronically. Save up to 5% right off the top when you pay your bill in full each year.

Team Herlihy in Action

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by Herlihy Insurance Group No Comments


March

Jim Herlihy made his third trip to Haiti in as many years as part of Team TORO in support of Be-Like-Brit. Jim spent seven days in Haiti in true Team TORO fashion taking on one of the biggest and most anticipated projects since the completion of the orphanage, a massive playground for the children. Next up, Colleen Herlihy and her daughter Meagan will make the trip to Haiti May 23rd.

April

In Team Herlihy’s adaptation of the 2008 comedy movie 27 Dresses, our 27 Dresses Fundraiser goal of donating 27 dresses to the Worcester Boys & Girls Club in time for prom season. With the huge support from our employees, clients, friends and family we were thrilled to donate a total of 64 dresses to the Boys & Girls Club.

Baseball

The spring season is never really official until the first Little League game is played. We are proud to sponsor several Little Leagues in Worcester County. Close to home, commercial lines manager Brian Robillard will head up the up and coming Herlihy Insurance team in the Holden Little League.

Referral Rewards Winners

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Herlihy Insurance Group No Comments

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Referral Rewards program in 2013. Between monthly, quarterly and year-end winners, we are very pleased to have handed out 17 prizes last year totaling over $2,000 in value. Call us or email your referrals to take your shot in 2014, referrals@herlihygroup.com.

Our most recent Winners include:

$50 Gift Card / Monthly

Shannon Johnson
Dave Price
Kelly Lizotte

Apple iPod / Quarterly

Deb Jordan

Flat Screen TV / Year End

George Goulas

Presidents Letter

Posted on: July 7th, 2014 by Herlihy Insurance Group No Comments

On April 21st, the world gathered again in Boston to run and cheer in the Boston Marathon. This year was a huge success, in sharp contrast to the tragedies of 2013.

The days leading up to the running of this year’s marathon were highlighted by numerous documentaries and stories about those affected by the bombings. Most of the stories were about those who were injured and how they have persevered in their recovery. I’m amazed at the progress most of these people have made and the positive attitudes they have. I’m sure they have their moments of despair, but it appears as though most of them have accepted the challenges that have been thrust upon them.

Out of all the stories I saw, the story I got the most out of was the one told by one of the survivors at the tribute ceremony. She spoke about the loss of her leg and how it has affected her life. Her message was so perfect:

“In a matter of seconds, something can happen that can drastically change your life. We have no control over what happens, but we can control how we choose to react to these situations.”

What a great point! Everyone has difficult things they have to deal with in their life. It may be a death, disability, addiction, divorce. Some people’s issues are worse than others, but all are difficult for the individual. No matter how bad things are for the individual involved, we have a choice.

Let’s continue to remember and help the victims of the Marathon bombings as well as those around us as they deal with their own struggles every day.

Have a great spring and summer! It’s well deserved after a long winter!