We hope you find the information provided in our quarterly Insurance & Risk News to be relevant and helpful. Our transition into a “new year, new look” will continue with a redesign of this newsletter. We look forward to bringing you the same great content with an exciting new look in the next issue!
Herzog-Meier has been a Brown & Brown Northwest client for six years. They originally purchased property and casualty insurance and subsequently added benefits for their employees. Chris Meier shared his experience working with our team…
What is your overall impression of Brown & Brown Northwest?
The team at Brown & Brown NW does an outstanding job! What I like is that, while BBNW is a one-stop shop, I’m not put into a one-size fits all policy. It’s very efficient that I can call one broker, but end up with coverages from multiple markets to make sure all my insurance bases are covered.
What are your expectations of your broker?
Before any insurance is quoted or bound, I would expect my broker to understand ALL of my risks, and to know more about the things that are a danger to me than I do. A company like BBNW has lots of auto dealer clients and has experienced claims across the industry. With that kind of first-hand experience, it allows my broker to use that knowledge to provide me with the coverage options to fit all of my needs and risk profile.
Our previous broker had a one size fits all approach and tended to put us on a fairly generic policy. We were probably lucky we didn’t have any claims in areas where we were under-protected, or perhaps not covered at all. When we started with BBNW, it was an eye opener as to how many things we didn’t know. As an example, we picked up cyber security insurance – we didn’t have that product before, but now have the depth of coverage to ensure security for both our company and our customers.
You originally had just property and casualty insurance through Brown & Brown, and then added an employee benefits package. Why make that change?
Just as we did for our property & casualty insurance, for many years we had another local broker for employee benefits. It was a small office – not a lot of support or depth – and they worked with only a few local clients. When a broker operates in a somewhat insular world, they don’t have the exposure to all the risks, nor do they enjoy the buying power of a regional or national firm. Switching to BBNW brought us a more global look at what we needed.
Having the depth of knowledge that BBNW brings to benefits, we ensure that we receive the best possible value – ‘value’ being what you pay versus what you get. For a long time, we were either paying too much for an average product or paying average prices for a substandard product in healthcare. Now we’re getting the best possible balance of coverage and product, while keeping our costs in check.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I brought up cyber before – that alone is an example that sets BBNW apart. Not only did my broker bring to my attention the need for that coverage, he hasn’t just rested on the initial coverages. We started with one carrier and switched to a different carrier that’s one third of the cost and twice the coverage. That’s the benefit of having a broker who aggressively monitors and stays abreast of the market.
Some may worry about working with such a large company, being reduced to just a customer number on a page. But I would disagree. Working with a large national firm like BBNW means that there’s a lot of buying power, depth of knowledge, and customer service in areas like claims and employee benefits support. We know we are getting outstanding service, comprehensive products and coverages, and the best rates at renewal.
You may not have heard the term UAV before, but you know what they are. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, are becoming more and more popular for both personal and business use.
Compared to crewed aircraft, UAVs were originally used for missions deemed too “dull, dirty or dangerous” for humans. While they originated mostly in military applications, their use is rapidly expanding to commercial, scientific, recreational, agricultural, product deliveries, aerial photography, etc. Civilian UAVs now vastly outnumber military UAVs, with estimates of over 1 million sold by 2015 and over 2.5 million by 2020.
But what does this increase in personal/commercial drone use mean from a liability perspective? Advances in technology are inevitably accompanied by a host of new and little understood risks. There have already been enough incidents and near-misses to date involving drones to generate concern that the likelihood of collisions and other loss events will grow as UAV numbers multiply.
The first incident of a drone-airplane collision occurred in 2017 in Quebec City, Canada. In recent events, UAVs flying into or near airports have shut them down for long periods of time. A drone disruption at Gatwick Airport in Britain in December 2018 closed the airport for 36 hours and cost the airport $1.4M in lost revenue. EasyJet, which operates half of all flights at Gatwick, said the disruption cost it $15M in compensation to passengers and lost revenues.
Many are also concerned about privacy as it relates to increased drone usage. Hobbyists are launching drones in neighborhoods and realtors are utilizing drones to take aerial photos of properties. Often these activities lead to complaints of privacy violations and concerns from neighbors, with a fear of being videotaped as the most common reason for their concerns. FAA regulations do not specifically address flight over residential areas.
Non-liability risks exist for UAVs as well. Damage to property or the drone itself via collision, system failure, loss of signal, driver error, etc. can be costly. Even recreational use UAVs can cost thousands of dollars.
Several specialty and top carriers have entered the UAV insurance space in the last few years, offering comprehensive liability and property insurance to drone owners. Policy terms as short as a one-hour flight can be purchased, as well as ongoing, annual coverage.
To learn more about drone insurance and/or to receive a quote, please contact the Brown & Brown team today.
How would you escape from your worksite in the event of an emergency? Do you know where all the exit routes are in case your first choice is too crowded? Are you sure doors will be unlocked? Have you considered that some exits—like hallways—may be blocked during a fire, explosion or other crisis? Keep in mind the following evacuation tips to prepare for and take action during an emergency.
• Familiarize yourself with the emergency evacuation plan.
• Know the pathway to at least two alternative exits from every room or area at the workplace.
• Recognize the sounds or signaling method of the fire and evacuation alarms.
• Know who to contact in an emergency and how to contact them.
• Know how many desks or cubicles are between your workstation and two of the nearest exits so you can escape in the dark, if necessary.
• Know where the fire and evacuation alarms are located and how to use them.
• Report any damaged or malfunctioning safety systems and back-up systems.
• Leave the area quickly, but in an orderly manner, following the emergency evacuation plan.
• Go directly to the nearest fire-free and smoke-free stairwell, recognizing that in some circumstances the only available exit route may contain limited amounts of smoke or fire.
• Listen carefully for instructions.
• If there is a fire, crawl low, under the smoke, to breathe cleaner air.
• Test doors for heat before opening them by placing the back of your hand against the door so you do not burn your palm and fingers.
• Do not open a hot door; find another exit route.
• Keep fire doors closed to slow the spread of smoke and fire.
• Avoid using elevators when evacuating.
• Report to the designated meeting place.
• Do not re-enter the building until directed by authorities.
If You’re Trapped
• Stay calm and take steps to protect yourself.
• Go to a room with an outside window and call for help if possible.
• Stay where rescuers can see you and wave a light-colored cloth to attract attention.
• Open windows if possible, but be ready to shut them if smoke rushes in.
• Stuff clothing, towels or newspapers around the cracks in doors to prevent smoke from entering the room you’re in.
Preparing in advance to safely evacuate a building or worksite can be critical to your safety. Take the time now to think about evacuation procedures and how you would respond in an emergency, and contact the Brown & Brown team if you need assistance with a template evacuation plan.
Employee benefits are a key driver when it comes to recruiting and retaining to talent. To keep pace with the changing workforce, employers need to take a broad view when evaluating their employee benefits package.
National benefits provider, Unum, recently surveyed more than 1,000 adults about top benefits outside of insurance or retirement. Your Brown & Brown Northwest benefits team can help you explore a number of these, including:
• Gym membership or onsite fitness centers – 36% of participants picked this as one of their top five benefits. Did you know that your health insurance carrier is probably already providing this for you?
• Student loan repayment – While outside of the traditional employee benefits framework, we can help you identify and vet vendors who administer this benefit.
• ID theft prevention – If you purchase a basic life policy or long term disability benefit, your employees may already have this in place.
• Financial planning resources – Are you offering an Employee Assistance Program? EAPs offer high value for low cost and many of them include free access to financial planners for your covered employees.
• Public transit assistance – If your employees are using public transit or paying to park, your BBNW team can help you set up pre-tax benefits for your employees, similar to Health Care Flexible Spending Accounts.
• Pet insurance – While not everyone can have a pet-friendly office, most companies can offer voluntary pet insurance as a perk. We can help you find the right policy and communicate it to employees.
There has been a lot of news coverage over the last several months regarding the significant catastrophic earthquake and tsunami threat that the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) poses to residents of the Pacific Northwest. The CSZ is a giant fault that lies mostly offshore and extends approximately 700 miles (1,130 km) off the coast of Canada down through Washington, Oregon, and all the way to Northern California.
Scientific experts and seismologists have predicted that the odds of a large earthquake occurring on the CSZ in the next 50 years could be as high as 1 in 3. A powerful earthquake, along with tsunami and large aftershocks, has the potential for devastation up to five times that of hurricane Katrina. It could affect millions of people, property, infrastructure and the environment causing over $80 billion of damage.
Make sure your family is prepared…
Earthquakes can occur at any time without warning. Major threats are bodily injuries and property damage, so proper preparation can save lives, reduce injury and property damage. Some important things you can do are:
• Prepare an emergency supply kit including at least a one-week supply of food and water.
• Document and discuss a family emergency plan including where to reassemble after an earthquake, reaching high ground (if necessary for tsunami), etc.
• Download the American Red Cross and/or FEMA mobile apps or view their websites for important notifications, safety and preparedness information.
• If you live in an older home, check to see if it needs to be seismically retrofitted.
Consider Earthquake Insurance…
Your homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover earthquake losses. Without earthquake insurance, you will have to pay out of pocket to repair any damage to your home, replace your personal property, and to live and eat elsewhere after an earthquake. These expenses can be substantial and devastating to your family.
Not all earthquake insurance policies are created equal…
There are a variety of earthquake insurance deductible and coverage options to choose from. The deductible and policy you choose can have a significant impact on the cost as well as the financial protection that you receive. As a leading independent insurance agency, Brown & Brown Northwest has access to the top earthquake insurance programs in the marketplace. Our insurance professionals are happy to assist you in determining the appropriate coverage and tailoring a policy to meet your specific needs and financial situation.
Contact the Brown & Brown team today or call us at (503) 274-6511 to receive a complimentary review and quote for the best earthquake options for you.
A notary bond is a form of financial protection that notaries are required to have in order to offer services in their state. A notary bond is a contract between the notary, the state (as beneficiary) and the surety who provides the surety guarantee.
The surety is providing a guarantee to the state that they will pay any claims made against the notary. However, unlike insurance, the surety has the right to recoup its losses from the notary. As such, the surety is acting as a guarantor for the notary as opposed to an insurer. Rather than protecting the notary, notary bonds provide an assurance to the State that the notary will meet applicable state rules and requirements.
Notary bonds are very easy to obtain, require no approval and are inexpensive (less than $100). To obtain a notary bond, all that is needed is the completion of a short online application that takes one minute to complete, and the bond is mailed within 24-48 hours.
To purchase a notary bond, visit the Client Portal on Brown & Brown Northwest’s website and select “Buy a Notary Bond.”