Thursday, February 23, 2012

Personal Auto Policy and Death

This is an article from the IIAT newsletter.  With an aging population, this may affect some of you.
PAP Coverage After Death
David Surles, Contributing Author
The personal auto policy is personal in nature, meaning it is designed to cover a named individual and the individual's family members. What happens when the named insured dies? There is language in the policy that specifies how coverage continues following the death of the named insured, and it is very limited. (See "Transfer of Your Interest in This Policy" in Part F – (General Provisions) in either the Texas or ISO policy.)
A recent court decision in Maryland (Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund vs. John) highlights the importance of giving good advice when you are advised of a policyholder's death. In that case, the only named insured on the policy died on May 4, 2005. The insured's sister notified the agent two days later who told her to continue making payments and the coverage would continue until ownership of the car was transferred. The sister continued to make the payments, including all premiums due for renewals of the policy through Sept. 26, 2006. Meanwhile, someone besides the sister was appointed personal representative of the estate. On Sept. 21, 2006, the sister caused an accident that resulted in bodily injury and property damage to a third party. When the injured party filed suit, the insurance company denied the claim. In deciding that the claim denial was proper, the court pointed to the plain language of the policy: "If a named insured dies, this policy will provide coverage until the end of the policy period for the legal representative of the named insured, while acting as such, and for persons covered under this policy on the date of the named insured's death." The court rejected arguments that the company was estopped from denying coverage as a practical matter and as a matter of public policy because it accepted premium payments for over a year and renewed the policy. The court decision refers to the agent's "misrepresentation" regarding coverage, but provides no clue what happened after the court decided the company wasn't required to defend or indemnify the claim against the sister.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Freezing Pipes

Well, we are having our first real cold spell this week.  The night time temperature has dropped below the freezing mark.  With the freezing weather comes frozen pipes.  Here are some tipes to keep you pipes from freezing and causing damage to your home or building.

For normal precautions:
• Insulate exposed pipes with heat tape,
newspapers or rags.
• Place a 60-watt light bulb close to the
water meter to keep it from freezing.
• If pipes are close to an exposed outside
wall, open the cabinet door to let room
heat in.
• Use a hair dryer or turn up the heat in your
home to 75 degrees to thaw a pipe; do not
use a torch.
• If a pipe bursts, shut off the main valve,
usually located near the meter.
• Be aware that leaks sometimes don’t show
up until a pipe thaws, when they can
cause extensive damage to plaster walls.
If you’ll be away for the winter:
• Drain pipes completely.
• Pour a cup of antifreeze into the draintraps,
toilet bowls and tanks.
• Make sure the main shut-off valve is
turned off.
• Open all faucets.
• Drain the hot water tank.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Agency of the Month

Goen & Goen has been named Agent of the Month for Stroud National Agency.  We write irrigation pivots, and farm and ranch business with Stroud National.  Goen & Goen has been doing business with Stroud for over 45 years.  We recieved a very nice bouquet of flowers from Cathy's Floral in Floydada as well as $100 in cash.  You can see our picture on Stroud's facebook page.

If you have an irrigation pivot or any farm business you need insured, let us keep you covered, and at the same time help us work towards the Agent of the Year award with Stroud National!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Insuring homes to Replacement Cost

I wanted to pass this on.  We have sent out letters to our customers who own dwellings discussing the importance of insuring your home for the amount it would take to build it back.  Thanks for reading!

Replacement Cost Limitations
Jim Gavin, Education
The recent wildfires, which have destroyed more than 1,600 homes in Texas, serve as a reminder of the importance of providing replacement cost coverage for both the dwelling and personal property.
The ISO HO-03 requires that the amount of insurance on the dwelling be at least 80 percent of the full replacement cost prior to the loss. If the proper amount of insurance is carried there will be no deduction for depreciation; however, the 80 percent amount still leaves a significant gap in coverage. Underinsurance is not uncommon. National estimates indicate that as many as 65 percent of homes may be underinsured by an average of about 19 percent.
In Texas, a total loss by fire to real property is considered to be a liquidated demand against the company for the full amount of insurance, but this provision does not apply to personal property. For any loss to real property other than a total loss by fire, only the Actual Cash Value will be paid until the replacement is complete.
The Personal Property Replacement Cost Loss Settlement HO 23 04 also only pays ACV for items over $500 until the items are replaced. And replacement cost does not apply to articles that are not maintained in good or workable condition or that are outdated or obsolete and are stored or not being used. It also does not apply to antiques or paintings or other fine arts that can not be replaced.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Crop Insurance Cuts

President’s Deficit Reduction Plan Makes Further Cuts to Crop Insurance

Big “I” opposes administration’s proposed $8 billion in additional cuts to the FCIP.
Last Monday, President Barack Obama unveiled his deficit reduction plan entitled “Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future.” This proposal, once again, points a laser at the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) as an agriculture policy program for additional cuts of $8 billion over a 10-year period.
The 2008 Farm Bill coupled with the 2011 Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA) have already slashed the FCIP by $10 billion in just four years. Many members of Congress and industry groups agree that the crop insurance program has already been cut enough in the name of deficit reduction. It is important to now give the program some time to readjust to the recent huge cuts and changes to both the policy and implementation of the crop program.
The administration’s attempt to “streamline and modernize” the FCIP makes cut-to-the-bone reductions to subsidies for crop insurance, which subsequently raises the premium price for farmers. When asked, farmers have consistently stressed that ensuring a strong safety net is vital to the future of the nation's farming communities. Therefore, the Big “I” and many others organizations that support American agriculture find it counterintuitive to continuously slash a program that has worked so well for farmers and ranchers for many years.
As the budget talks continue, it is important that this proposal by the President not act as a springboard for the Super Committee—that was recently assigned the task of reducing federal budget deficits by at least $1.2 trillion—as their deficit reduction plan begins to take shape. The Big “I” will continue to remind Congress that disproportionate reductions to the FCIP have already taken place. With more than 18,000 crop agents across the country aiding farmers in making informed decisions about their livelihood, any additional cuts to the FCIP will drastically alter the efficient and effective safety net that has helped production agriculture prosper.
Please click here and see pages 17 and 18 for specific proposals on crop insurance.
Jen McPhillips ( is Big “I” senior director, federal government affairs.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Freezing Weather

Travelers Insurance Company offers some ways to protect your property during this freezing weather:

Winter Weather - Ice Storms - Power Failures: Plan Ahead

In most of the United States, even as far south as Texas and Florida, there is the probability of winter weather, ice storms and even arctic freeze conditions. Power failures can be a direct result of these events.
Minimizing The Effects Of Power Failures Due To Ice Storms And Winter Weather Power Failures

If a power failure lasts more than 4 to 5 hours, depending on the outside temperatures and the insulation level in the building, the building may no longer be heated above freezing. Power failures from ice storms especially can last several days. When the temperature in the building drops below freezing the fire sprinkler piping and the domestic water piping (toilets, faucets, etc.) is subject to freezing and, ultimately, cracking. The result will be water damage to the building once the temperatures rise and the pipes thaw. The damage from water can be extensive.


Monitor the national weather service during winter months in your area.
> When subfreezing temperatures are predicted check all heating systems for proper operation. Service as
> If an ice storm is predicted, anticipate a power failure at your facility.
> Develop your plan ahead of time on how you will respond to a lengthy power failure and loss of heat.
- Winter Weather Checklist- Cold Weather: Planning Ahead

- Emergency Planning – General Overview> Maintain safe roof access throughout the storm. Prepare equipment to be used for keeping drains clear and
removing excessive snow loads from the roof.
> Line up ahead of time appropriate licensed sprinkler contractors, plumbing contractors and electricians to assist with the preparations outlined below.

Winter Ice Storms Risk Management Guide

If there are any fire sprinklers installed on drops (like in suspended ceiling areas) they should be drained if there are not many. If there are sprinklers on drops over areas with highly damageable equipment, such as computer rooms or materials such as fine arts, these should be drained. For other areas where it is impractical to drain all the sprinkler drops, be ready for water damage when the heat returns. Have buckets, tarps, mops, etc., ready for the water to minimize damage.
Notify the local fire department and alarm receiving company that you have shut off your fire sprinkler system(s).
If there is a diesel fire pump on site it may automatically start when the power fails. If so, shut it off and put it on manual start at the controller to conserve the fuel.
If there is an electric fire pump and it is connected via an automatic transfer switch to an emergency generator the transfer switch should be disabled and the pump controller also disabled as the sprinklers are shut off. Otherwise it will start and run throughout the power failure needlessly.
Shut down all hazardous operations like welding, cutting with a torch, painting, flammable or combustible liquids use, etc., while the sprinklers are off.
Provide a constant fire watch in all areas while the sprinklers are off. This is best done by employees. If the employees need to leave, hire a security service to provide the constant fire watch. Be sure the employees and/or security officers are trained to turn the sprinklers and fire pump (if there is one) on if there is a fire. Be sure they know to call the fire department as the alarm system may be out of battery backup.
Shut off and completely drain the domestic water and heating piping systems.
If portable heating systems are used make sure they are UL-listed or FM-approved and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure they are placed on stable surfaces and far enough from any combustible materials that may be ignited. Also, consider the health and safety implications of carbon monoxide build-up in enclosed areas. Fuel should be kept in UL-listed or FM-approved containers and stored in safe areas or outdoors. Refueling should be done outdoors and away from potential ignition sources. Better to not use them than to have them become an ignition source for a catastrophic fire.
Portable emergency generators also have many of the same life safety and property protection considerations that portable heaters do. They should be used in strict accordance with manufacturer’s instructions, including use of licensed electricians to make the connections to building wiring.
Make sure all roof drains, gutters and scuppers are clear prior to the storm and clear snow from the roof (if this can be done safely) during the storm if you are concerned that the amount of snow and ice will be enough to collapse the building. Pay particular attention to differences in roof heights where drifting snow may cause unanticipated snow loading.
As practical, store water damageable stock off the floor on pallets or in racks to minimize damage in the event of pipe breaks or water infiltration.


After the event is over and the power is restored:
Inspect all fire sprinkler, domestic water and heating system piping before restoring them to service. Make all repairs needed, if any, immediately. Where water has frozen in piping, it is often many hours or even days after power, heat and water are restored before pipe breakage and resulting water damage becomes evident as ice plugs in the piping begin to thaw. Around the clock surveillance of these areas may be warranted to ensure there is no hidden pipe damage and water leakage.
Do not use open flames, lamps or other high temperature devices to thaw frozen pipes. Experts recommend using hair dryers.
Restore all fire sprinkler, domestic water and heating system piping to service. Maintain the constant fire watch until this is completed.
Notify the fire department, Your insurance comapany and the alarm company that the systems are back in service.
Maintain the weather watch. Be especially cautious of rainstorms after snow as roof pooling can occur with resultant possible collapse. Take measures to ensure all roof drainage is in service.
Watch for post storm drifting on roofs and remove the extra weight, if this can be done safely.
Clear fire lanes, fire hydrants, fire sprinkler valves, process valves, gas shutoffs, etc of snow accumulations.
Resume normal safe operations.

The Travelers Indemnity Company
One Tower Square Hartford, CT 06183
If the heating system will be off for several hours to several days due to a power failure, and the temperature in the building will fall below 32° F, the following protection features should be implemented:
Shut off and completely drain all fire sprinkler systems.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, it's a good time to make sure all of your records, such as a home inventory, are up to date. It’s important for home owners, and even renters, to keep a home inventory — especially these days, with the popularity of flat-screen televisions, iPhones, video games and other expensive electronics.
But the process can be time-consuming and difficult. The Insurance Information Institute’s Know Your Stuff tool can make doing a home inventory a breeze.
Know Your Stuff helps you enter items by room and upload photos or scanned receipts. Once the information is in the system, items can be sorted by price, date of purchase or type (silverware, major appliances, etc.). You can even customize your own categories.
Once completed or updated, the Know Your Stuff report also can be printed, saved on a computer, e-mailed or burned on a CD.
The site has an informative video about the Know Your Stuff tool, giving you a quick look at the process and the importance of doing a home inventory!
Take stock with free home inventory tool
Using this tool is as easy as following this link:
After taking inventory, if you need to insure what you have, contact Goen & Goen Inc insurance agency to find the best policy to fit your needs.
Information from Safeco Insurance Company