The national average cost of a gallon of unleaded fuel is now at $4.56 but it is still expected that Memorial Day weekend will be one of the most heavily traveled times of the year. AAA predicts that over 39 million people will hit the road and go 50 miles or more from home to enjoy the three day weekend. This prediction of travelers is up over 8% from 2021. So what does this mean if you’re one of those brave road trippers? Here are some pro tips:
- Have your vehicle serviced ahead of time – oil and fluid change/top off, check tire pressure or rotate them, and windshield wipers
- The Red Cross recommends always having an emergency kit with supplies such as water, a flashlight, cell phone charger, jumper cables, first aid kit and spare tire
- Be sure your proof of insurance card and registration are in the vehicle
- Pack extra bottled water and stay gassed up in the event of traffic delays
- Use a navigation app such as Waze for traffic detours, road closures, etc.
- It’s also a good idea to pack your spare key in a purse or bag that won’t necessarily be in the vehicle the whole trip. It’ll do you more good in your hotel room than all the way back home if you happen to misplace or lose your keys while you’re away.
If you plan to rent a vehicle at any point on your trip, we always recommend purchasing the insurance coverage that they offer. It’s very common that people assume they have everything they need on their own auto policy back home but it doesn’t always transfer to a temporarily rented vehicle. Typically, the coverage for the vehicle itself would (as long as you have comprehensive and collision on your policy), but liability is one of the most important parts as well as injury protection for you and your passengers. It’s wise to add their protection when possible, especially since it’s usually inexpensive.
The best move you can make is to be prepared… with your packing list but also your mindset. With 39 million people on the road, you’re bound to have delays or detours but try not to stress. This kicks off a summer of sunshine and should be a fun time! After all, it wasn’t that long ago that we didn’t have the ability to vacation during the pandemic so hang in there and safe travels!
When the House session ended earlier this month without any progression for Senate Bill 1728, we were disappointed and discouraged. And we assume, if you’ve been following along, you were too. We were unsure if and when a special session would be called by the governor, or if we’d be forced to exercise all the patience we have left until next year.
But gratefully, we are excited to share that some good news was just released and it may be just the relief we’ve been asking for!
In a meeting of the Florida Cabinet earlier this week, it was revealed that the Office of Insurance Regulation will now allow property insurers to offer roof deductible endorsements as well as a schedule on what will be paid on roof replacements.
Similar roof deductible provisions were included in Senate Bill 1728, which passed the state Senate in the regular session but stalled in the House. However, Florida state statutes allow the OIR agency the authority to make regulatory change without the need of legislation. Thankfully, our home state’s insurance regulators are taking steps on their own to help cut the cost of roof claims.
One of the main improvements in this is that policyholders will have the option to choose their roof deductible up front and carriers will no longer be required to offer full replacement cost only. Currently, Florida appears to be the only U.S. state that requires full roof replacement when only 25% of the roof is damaged.
This change comes at a very opportunistic time for all of us as June 1 is when many carriers must renew their reinsurance, and prices are expected to increase dramatically.
This is potentially really good news for the real estate, mortgage lending and insurance industries. We don’t know for sure yet what change will come from this but it’s a step in the right direction of making home insurance available and affordable. We are hopeful.
Headaches are known to be caused by things like dehydration, malnutrition, stress or lack of sleep. But if we had to guess, home owners and those affiliated with the real estate industry have experienced a headache lately that can be blamed fully on the current state of home insurance. As much as we don’t like or agree with the challenges home owners are facing, we can provide a little insight as to why things are the way they are.
To put a quite complicated issue simply, it really boils down to three things:
Fraud – Roofing guidelines have gotten more and more strict and it’s in large part due to an unfortunate amount of claims filed unnecessarily for roof replacements. The involvement of roofers themselves, public adjusters and the misuse of the Assignment of Benefits tool have all contributed to an increase in claims that insurance companies have struggled to sustain through. Profitability and the ability to pay legitimate claims are down, making insurance companies unable to be there for consumers when they need them the most.
Litigation – Property claim payouts have been cited to be up to 4.5 times more when an attorney is involved. Over the past 9 years, approximately 71% of the billions of dollars paid out on property claims when to attorney fees. This one speaks for itself.
Reinsurance – Approximately 40-45 cents of every dollar of a homeowners insurance premium goes toward the cost of reinsurance. This is the insurance that insurance companies buy to protect themselves from overwhelming losses in larger claims and catastrophe situations. When insurer’s expenses are up this high, one of the only ways to compensate is to increase premiums.
It’s safe to say that everyone involved in the insurance, real estate and associated industries agrees that something has got to change. There are people unable to accomplish homeownership or being priced out of opportunities because of these issues. At this time, the reform bill that the Senate presented to the House has been postponed until either next session or a special session, should the Governor call for it. Therefore, there is little to no control over the situation other than hoping for legislative action to be taken sooner than later and spreading awareness to minimize fraudulent and litigious activity.
Hang in there, guys. You make think home insurance is quite a necessary evil at this point. And while the necessary part is true, it isn’t all evil… we’re actually here to help and advocate for home owners. We can get through this together.
One of the main concerns in the construction world that remains rather consistent over time is SAFETY. As it should be, this is a very high priority for leaders in the construction industry. The daily implementation of a safety program is a great first step but the big picture goal really should be a whole CULTURE of safety.
This means that all employees are in agreement and held responsible for their own safety and health, as well as the safety and health of every other worker in the organization. This is a prime example of the “we are only as strong as our weakest link” mentality.
Every organization needs some sort of a program in place to prevent injuries and illnesses in the office and on job sites. Even complete compliance with OSHA’s guidelines will not eliminate all injuries and illnesses from the workplace because the workplace is filled with humans and humans make mistakes.
However, enforcing things such as physical safeguards, training, and proper maintenance followed up on by effective management will help ensure the safety and health of the team.
The following are also a result of a good safety and health program:
- Workers’ compensation costs may be lowered
- Employee morale and work efficiency may be improved
- Operating costs will be lowered
- Profit margins will be higher
Accidents are expensive. They add to workers’ compensation and medical costs, they make the organization have to repair or replace equipment, they slow production, and they may require the organization to hire and train new workers. These are just the material costs and inefficiencies. The pain and suffering that accidents cause employees and their families can be even more damaging and last much longer.
Interested in some tips on what leadership can do vs what employees can do to get ahead of and maintain this culture of safety? Reach out to us here for some safety program checklists, sample policy statements outlining the program in place, etc.
Regular review of the safety and health program is essential to achieving a safe and healthful workplace. As we’ve learned over the past year’s pandemic, things can change rather quickly. Therefore, effective and successful programs must continuously improve to keep up with the changing nature of the organization and industry. This also ensures that there’s a real commitment to the safety and health of the entire team – working beyond just a temporary program but towards that overall, long-term culture.
What comes to mind when you think of the biggest threats to your company? Fire, theft, workers comp claims, auto accidents? You may feel pretty secure in your protection against those types of insurance claims and that’s a step in the right direction.
But what you might find interesting is that only 58% of natural disaster expenses were actually insured in 2021… That’s about $85 billion of the $145 billion in damages. In fact, overall natural disaster losses in last year alone were the fourth costliest ever recorded. There were hurricanes, earthquakes, freezes, floods and storms.
And even with $145 billion (yes, billion with a B) of damages in the U.S., a Beazley report found that only 12% of business owners ranked environmental risks as their most pressing concern. That report also found that only 38% of executives feel prepared to respond to environmental catastrophes.
So how can you reprioritize and feel confident in the event of damage that is beyond your control?
1. Create an Emergency Operations Plan
- What happens if something happens? Who is in charge? How will the effects on your business be communicated to staff and clients? Who will delegate on and off-site responsibilities? What if your physical work space is compromised? How will your team be contacted and kept informed if email isn’t an option? If something takes place during business hours, does everyone know how to evacuate and where to go? Or where to locate emergency kits?
2. Back up important data
- Hard copies of important data should be stored off-site and copies made as needed. Keep things like insurance, payroll and tax information stored somewhere that someone else knows how to access it if needed. Utilize the cloud for electronic storage as well.
3. Review and understand your existing insurance coverage
- Be sure you’re confident in the amount of coverage you have and that your Insurance Advisor has reviewed endorsements and any applicable additional coverages you may need.
4. Maintain good, open communication
- For your customers, use email and social media for updates if possible. Be sure they have contact information or know your protocol if your team is unreachable. And for your staff, stay in touch with them to ensure they are safe and healthy. It is also recommended to establish a disaster fund in case your company is unable to generate revenue, you can keep your team on payroll.
5. Regroup with your community
- It is likely that when you’re able to (literally) weather the storm, it’s hugely due to help from others… whether that be financial, cleanup efforts, rebuilding, emotional support, etc. Lend a helping hand to others in need after experiencing a natural disaster and your community will be stronger together.
There are some things we humans just can’t control and we have to relinquish that power to Mother Nature. For the most part, she treats us very well but for those catastrophic times that are thankfully few and far between, the best you can do as a business owner is BE PREPARED.