How to Create a Flexible Hybrid Workplace Model

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Business: How to Create a Flexible Hybrid Workplace ModelDue to the COVID-19 pandemic, the modern workplace has undergone some massive changes. And while adjusting to these has involved some growing pains, especially for employers, this new world of work is not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re a small business owner, you may have some concerns and hesitation about adopting a flexible workplace model. Here are some steps you can take to explore what it means to have a hybrid workplace and find solutions that work for you and your business.

Consider Business Needs:

Before changing up your workplace norms, you must first decide what type of work and workers are essential to your business. The key to this inventory is thoroughness and honesty. It’s important to be critical and examine potentially outdated ideas about when, where and how work gets done at your company. At the same time, you must account for your own priorities and preferences as a business owner: maybe you simply wouldn’t enjoy a setup where you don’t get much face to face time with your staff and/or customers. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What do you enjoy most about running your business?
  • Do you require in-person employees? For which tasks?
  • Does it matter that your employees work an eight hour shift, or is it more important that they reach certain productivity goals?
  • When is it desirable or necessary to have your workforce meet face to face?
  • Are there certain roles or aspects of the work that can be conducted online or completed from a different location?

Explore Options:

Next, make a list of some ways (large or small) that you might be able to give your workers some more flexibility. These might include:

  • Offering an option for some employees to work remotely on certain days or at specific times of day.
  • Allowing workers to set their own hours as long as their work is getting done.
  • Instituting a four-day week, where it makes sense and for those who want it.
  • Shifting your compensation model to be goal rather than time-oriented.
  • Conducting meetings or other aspects of your business online.

And don’t forget to ask your employees what would make a difference for them, too!

Test the Waters:

Now that you have some ideas, it’s time to give them a test drive. Be upfront with your staff that your goal is to provide more flexibility, but in a way that doesn’t diminish your business and that preserves the things that made you want to own a business in the first place. Take some of those ideas for a spin, reflect on the results, make improvements or move on, and repeat. It may take some trial and error, but with a positive attitude and a little bit of effort, you are certain to uncover a flexible workplace model that works for you, your employees, and your bottom line.

For any of your business insurance questions, call or contact Post Insurance and Financial today.

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Life, Business, Auto, Health, Travel and Home Insurance

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We are passionate about the insurance industry. Our primary goal is to become your one-stop-shop for everything insurance. We work with various insurance companies, agents, brokers, marketers, and blogs to ensure we serve you better. Whether you want to learn about aviation, auto, business, boat, disability, farm, health, home, life, travel, yoga, or plumbing insurance, we’ve got you covered. For inquiries, send us an email to mytopinsuranceblogs@gmail.com



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Travel Insurance 101 | Blog

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Travel Insurance 101You get to the end of your flight reservation and the page comes up: For a few extra dollars, would you like to purchase travel insurance for your trip? Or maybe you’re planning that once in a lifetime trip, and an experienced agent has suggested you purchase a travel policy. So what should you do?

These days, travel can be a serious gamble. Not only is it more commonplace for reservations of all types to be changed by the vendor; but it’s becoming more likely that your flight, hotel, or Broadway show will actually be canceled. Leaving you high and dry, and, sometimes, without any recourse. There are several different types of travel insurance, which can be purchased alone or in combination. Travel insurance can cover a variety of issues, including:

  • Missed, canceled, or delayed flights and transportation
  • Emergency medical care
  • Lost or stolen belongings
  • Trip cancellation
  • Rental car damage

Whether it makes sense to invest in a travel insurance policy really depends on the type of trip, where you’re going, how you plan to get there, and how much time, effort and resources you have put into putting it all together. If it’s a once in a lifetime trip that you’ve put thousands of hours and dollars into planning, it’s probably a really good idea to have some sort of insurance in place. Not only does travel insurance protect you if something goes wrong on the trip: it can help you to recover expenses if you have to cancel because of an injury or a death in the family, for example.

Travel insurance is also strongly recommended if your travel carries a higher level of risk: perhaps you are traveling to a dangerous area or for the purpose of doing an extreme outdoor activity. On the other hand, in some cases purchasing travel insurance might mean that you’re actually doubling up on protection that you already have through the travel company or your homeowner’s insurance. Be sure to read the fine print, talk to your insurance agent, and review the coverage that you already have so that you’re not purchasing coverage that’s redundant.

Of course, the cost of any travel insurance plan will depend on quite a few different factors, like how many people are going, where you are traveling, and the overall cost of the trip. The good news is that if you decide travel insurance makes sense, it’s generally very affordable, in the range of 5-10 percent of your total trip cost. That means for a trip that costs about $1000, you’re going to be paying $50-$100. Not bad when you consider what you could lose if something totally unexpected happens to prevent you from going or staying on the trip.

The bottom line? Travel insurance is not always warranted, but it’s often a good investment.

For any of your insurance questions, call or contact Post Insurance and Financial today.

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Ring in 2022 With a Policy Checkup for your Business

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The arrival of January finds many small business owners coming off the busiest season of their year. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, it can be easy to overlook important changes that may have occurred with your business that need to be accounted for on your insurance policy. Prioritizing your annual policy renewal is a great opportunity to consult with your independent agent and review any changes to your business to ensure you are properly protected for the year ahead. 

Here are a few things to take into consideration as you prepare for your annual policy checkup: 

New Exposures

As your business grows and thrives, you will likely have new exposures to review and consider covering. These may include: 

  • New locations 
  • New buildings or facilities added to current or new locations 
  • New vehicles or drivers
  • New equipment that needs to be covered 
  • New products being manufactured/sold. This is critical because it could change the rating basis for your general liability.

Exposure Changes

In addition to new exposures, you’ll want to review anything on your existing policy, as well as changes to your overall business that could impact your coverage needs. These may include: 

  • Vehicles sold
  • Equipment sold
  • Locations sold
  • Reduction in inventory
  • Reduction in sales
  • Given the current high levels of inflation, your building and/or personal property limits may need to be increased.

New Coverages

As your operation grows, you should consider purchasing additional coverages to protect your business. These may cover things like: 

  • Equipment Breakdown (especially important if you are a manufacturing/processing operation)
  • Crime, including money & securities, employee theft (including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), forgery and/or computer fraud
  • Employment Practices Liability
  • Cyber Coverage
  • Blanket Personal Property (if you now have multiple locations)
  • Building Ordinance or Law
  • Business Income From Dependent Properties
  • Off-Premises Power Failure
  • Hired Auto Physical Damage

Drop or Reduce Coverages

There are other situations in which it may make financial sense to reduce your coverage or opt to self-insure certain exposures. A few examples: 

  • Dropping comprehensive and collision on vehicles over 10 years old.
  • Reducing the value of scheduled contractors’ equipment that is covered on an actual cash value basis.
  • If you own an older building and would not replace it with as large of a building in the event of a total loss, you may consider insuring it on a Functional Replacement Cost basis.
  • Higher deductibles on your property and auto. 
  • Adding a property damage deductible to your General Liability.
  • If you’re comfortable with your financial reserves and loss control measures, you might consider self-insuring some of your exposures.

This checklist provides a solid start when considering your insurance exposures, but the best way to determine your business’ unique needs is to review your coverage with your agent.

From all of us at Central, we wish you a productive and profitable year!

Want to learn more?

  • Does Every Business Need the Same Commercial Coverage?
  • Insuring Your Retail Business
  • *The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.

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    tail – Life, Business, Auto, Health, Travel and Home Insurance

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    We are passionate about the insurance industry. Our primary goal is to become your one-stop-shop for everything insurance. We work with various insurance companies, agents, brokers, marketers, and blogs to ensure we serve you better. Whether you want to learn about aviation, auto, business, boat, disability, farm, health, home, life, travel, yoga, or plumbing insurance, we’ve got you covered. For inquiries, send us an email to mytopinsuranceblogs@gmail.com



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    The Five Year Equity Rule and Other Smart Moves for new Homeowners

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    The Five Year Equity Rule and Other Smart Moves for new HomeownersFor new homeowners, if you managed to buy a house in today’s market, you definitely have a lot to celebrate. So now what? Well, whether you just purchased your dream home and plan to stay in it forever, or a property you hope to use as a stepping stone to better things, there are a few things you need to know in order to make your investment work for you.

    What is equity?

    Equity is essentially the amount of your home that you own and is calculated by subtracting the amount you still owe (or that the bank owns) from its value. The more equity you have in your home, the more leverage you have to take out a home equity loan or sell the property at a profit.

    What’s the Five-Year Equity Rule?

    The Five-year Equity Rule is a guideline that will help you make the most of your property investment. Essentially, experts suggest that owners build equity for approximately five years before trying to sell, refinance, or take out a home equity loan. Otherwise, you may end up losing money on those transactions.

    Do I really have to wait 5 years to do anything with my home?

    The Five Year Equity rule is just a guideline. You may be in a strong position to refinance or sell earlier than that, or you may have to wait a year or two longer. The point is that when you purchase a home, it’s important to consider your long-term goals and be ready to put in the time and money it takes to get a meaningful return on your investment.

    How can I build home equity?

    You can start by putting down as much as you can for a down payment. After that, it’s pretty simple: make your payments on time (pay extra if you can), and be patient. Like with any major loan, it will take some time for you to stop paying interest and fees and start actually getting at the principal. In addition, it’s likely that your home’s value will increase naturally, especially if the housing market continues to grow the way it has been in recent months.

    Are there other ways to build home equity?

    We’re glad you asked! You can definitely build equity by making improvements and upgrades to your home, and just by taking good care of the property, inside and out. Schedule regular maintenance on the important stuff, like your heating and cooling system, plumbing, roof, lawn care, and the like. Even a professional cleaning and a new coat of paint can add value to your home. Finally, if you have the money, consider investing in minor or major remodeling projects where they are most needed.

    For all of your home insurance questions, call or contact Post Insurance and Financial today.

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    Start the New Year with a Personal Policy Checkup

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    With the turning of the calendar, it’s time to start taking inventory on everything from personal habits to household budgets to — you guessed it — insurance coverage. As you start tackling your list in the new year, remember to review and update your insurance policy — especially if you received valuable gifts during the holiday season. 

    What is and isn’t covered? 

    Many people are surprised to discover that unendorsed homeowner policies have limits on coverage* for theft of certain types of personal items including jewelry, watches, furs and firearms. A common limit for theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semi-precious stones on a homeowners policy is $1,500. Your policy deductible does apply to this type of loss. If you misplace any of these items (as opposed to a loss by theft), you may not be covered at all under your normal insurance coverage. Coverage for items like coins and stamps can be limited to a special limit of coverage no matter what the cause of damage is.

    What additional coverage options are available? 

    Scheduled personal articles endorsements are additional coverages that insure a particular item on your policy at a specific amount. Not only does a personal articles schedule provide broader coverage and increase the limit of coverage for valuable item loss, in most cases it does not include a deductible. 

    If you experience a loss, additional coverage for certain property items can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. The more accurate and updated your policy and coverages are, the easier it is for your claims to be handled quickly and efficiently.

    Next steps: 

    • Take inventory of your belongings. Make a list of valuable items that you own. Remove any items you longer own from any existing scheduled property endorsements. 
    • Have your valuables appraised. Obtaining appraisals on items like jewelry, furs, watches and firearms is the best way to determine the current value of those goods. Getting valuables appraised periodically also helps keep them properly insured as the market and inflation ebb and flow.
    • Take photos and/or record videos of your valuables and receipts. These images can be helpful in the event of loss tied to a catastrophe like a tornado or a house fire. Save images to the cloud so that they are safely stored and accessible. 
    • Meet with your agent to review which types of additional coverage are right for you. Your independent agent may request an appraisal for some items to ensure that there is no discrepancy in the value or replacement cost of the property.
    • Consider including coverage for items such as electronics, musical instruments and artwork. Cell phones, laptops, cameras and many other types of property can also be insured on a personal articles coverage endorsement.

    Looking for more? Check out:

    *The information above is of a general nature and your policy and coverages provided may differ from the examples provided. Please read your policy in its entirety to determine your actual coverage available.

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    National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month

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    Once every 43.8 seconds, a vehicle is stolen in the United States according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Thefts like these cost millions of dollars for owners and insurers, and cause insurance premiums to skyrocket – making everyone a victim.

    Every July, the NHTSA hosts National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is urging consumers to help put the brakes on auto theft.

    For over 100 years, the NICB has fought to protect the public from auto theft. But as NICB developed its fraud fighting techniques, criminals have developed their skills. Data from 2020 shows a dramatic increase in auto theft. In fact, there were over 873,000 thefts, with the majority taking place after May 2020. While the increase in thefts can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, auto theft can at any time.

    To prevent yourself from becoming the next victim, the NICB recommends you follow these four layers of protection:

    • Vehicle owners should always remove ignition keys or fobs from the vehicle, lock doors and windows, and park in well-lit areas.
    • Utilize your vehicle’s anti-theft features. Whether factory installed or after-market there are a number of devices designed to lessen the risk of having your vehicle stolen.
    • Many modern vehicles come factory equipped with an immobilizer – an electronic system designed to prevent unauthorized keys from starting your vehicle. The immobilizer is designed to detect that a proper key is being used to start your vehicle. If the system doesn’t detect the properly coded key, it prevents the vehicle from starting.
    • Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner, and the vehicle can be tracked through a computer or cell phone.

    The more layers of protection on your vehicle, the more difficult it will be to steal.

    Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on the NICB website.

    Content courtesy of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

    Copyright © 2021 Central Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved.

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    We’re headed to the Insurance Leadership Forum with some big news…

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    CIAB’s Insurance Leadership Forum kicks off tomorrow in Colorado Springs and our team is looking forward to spending time with our agents in attendance. This year is especially exciting for us as it comes on the heels of a major announcement about where Central is headed in the months and years ahead as a part of our ongoing commitment to excellence.

    Central is bringing a portfolio of better, bigger and smarter products on top of our existing appetite. We’ve built four commercial lines industry verticals—construction, manufacturing, real estate and transportation. We’re also building the world’s finest small business operating unit. Within personal lines, we will focus all our resources on the middle market and affluent segments.

    We’ve also hired a team of superstar commercial lines directors to oversee each of our verticals (get to know them by checking out their bios below). They are dedicated to bringing you more products to sell, paving the path for new product development. 

    This evolution is yet another way we’re aligning with you, our agent partners. We recognize that your needs are continually growing and changing. Our close relationships with our agents position us to continually explore ways we can adapt and scale alongside you, embracing opportunities to innovate new products that meet your growing and diverse needs. 

    While we are leveraging our expertise to grow in these verticals, we remain dedicated to the driving force behind our 145 years of success: relationships built on trust and genuine care. We will continue to support these relationships with the existing appetite you have come to rely on from Central. 

    We look forward to seeing you in Colorado Springs!

    Manufacturing
    Anne Russo
    Industry Experience: 25+ years

    What trend, topic, need or opportunity are you most excited about within your vertical?

    Improving our technology and data to streamline the process so that our underwriters can put their skills and experience to use on larger, more complex accounts. 

    What’s the most memorable, wild or unusual claims story you’ve ever heard?

    The insured was a florist and this was a claim under Florist’s Professional Liability Coverage. A customer ordered flowers for his girlfriend, but they were mistakenly delivered to his wife. Chaos ensued.

    What are people often surprised to learn about you?

    One of my first jobs in high school was working at a gas dock at a marina on Lake Erie. I learned that it takes two hours to fill up a 75-foot yacht with diesel — and with no automatic shut-off, you’d better get good at listening for when it’s full.

    What’s a cause, organization or nonprofit you’re passionate about supporting?

    Anything related to animal welfare and the bond between animals and humans. The Humane Society of Delaware County, various animal rescues, Pilot Dogs.

    Real Estate
    Brian Mowry
    Industry Experience: 14+ years 

    What trend, topic, need or opportunity are you most excited about within your vertical?

    The large-scale shift from a traditional office work environment to flexible work locations. How does this evolve both residential and office exposures into the future?

    What’s the most memorable, wild or unusual claims story you’ve ever heard?

    Multi-million dollar smoke loss on a high-rise condo building caused by a job site fire next door. The damage and cleanup required providing housing for 50% of the unit owners for six months. The neighboring site was a total loss, with exterior damage to the highrise that took over a year to correct.

    If Central hosted a talent show, what would your talent be?

    “Punny” dad jokes 

    What’s a cause, organization or nonprofit you’re passionate about supporting?

    Shriners Hospitals

    General & Small Business
    Brandon Corum
    Industry Experience: 13 years, all with Central

    What trend, topic, need or opportunity are you most excited about within your vertical?

    Digital transformation

    What’s the most memorable, wild or unusual claims story you’ve ever heard?

    A church claim. We had to have police officers guard the doors to the preschool while work was being
    done, and the city had to shut down roadways for rebuilding.

    What are people often surprised to learn about you?

    I enjoy not having a blueprint when building something.

    What’s a cause, organization or nonprofit you’re passionate about supporting?

    American Diabetes Association

    Transportation
    Jason McConkey 
    Industry Experience: 11 years 

    What trend, topic, need or opportunity are you most excited about within your vertical?

    Developing and deploying our specialized underwriting.

    What’s the most memorable, wild or unusual claims story you’ve ever heard?

    There was a rental car company on Maui that applied for insurance, which we declined. One of the claims ended up being for a car that drove straight off the road into the ocean on the Road to Hana. I believe everyone was ok, but this just shows the importance of being able to control who drives your vehicles.

    What are people often surprised to learn about you?

    Personally, I can sing a bit of opera. Professionally, people are surprised to learn that I got my MBA at the University of Hawaii.

    What’s a cause, organization or nonprofit you’re passionate about supporting?

    Serious Fun Children’s Network, which is a global community of 30 camps and programs for seriously ill children. All camps and programs offer free recreational experiences to children with serious illnesses and their family members.

    Construction
    James Barto
    Industry Experience: 19 years, 15 with Central

    What trend, topic, need or opportunity are you most excited about within your vertical?

    Developing our underwriting expertise in Construction. 

    What’s the most memorable, wild or unusual claims story you’ve ever heard?

    I have two. Had an insured whose pipe burst because of cold weather. They were notified by the police so they could go out and shut off the water. When they got to the building, they looked around for the shut-off for an hour while the water was still flowing. They later discovered that the police officer had parked his cruiser over the top of it. 

    The second: had a jazz bar as an insured. It looked like a fairly normal operation until we received a claim related to a fatality that occurred as a result of a poorly executed pile driver performed at a wrestling event adjacent to the premises. Turned out the jazz bar was sponsoring the wrestling event.

    What are people often surprised to learn about you?

    I can be a wealth of obscure facts, particularly when it comes to sports, geography and history.

    What’s a cause, organization or nonprofit you’re passionate about supporting?

    I’m very active in my church. I also support The Salvation Army and other organizations to help the less fortunate.

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    Tips for Staying Warm on a Budget

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    ' . htmlspecialchars( $aNewBlogPost['META_TITLE'] ) . 'Winter is coming, and with increased costs on gas, food, and just about everything else, it’s no surprise that your energy bill might threaten to strain your budget this season, too. But there’s actually a lot you can do to stay cozy and warm and reduce your energy consumption this winter. Here are some ways to save on heating.

    Tip #1: Take Inventory

    A good energy plan starts with a good energy audit. This means examining how your home uses energy and locating those areas where you can implement changes to make your home more efficient. Many energy companies will conduct a professional assessment, free of charge. If your local utility company does not offer this service, here are a few things to look for:

    • Leaks in windows or door frames, where cold air is getting in
    • Poor quality windows or insulation
    • Filters that need replacing
    • Find a thorough do-it-yourself home energy audit list at Energy.gov

    Tip #2: Repair Air Leaks

    Depending on where the leak is coming from, use caulk, insulation, wood, or other materials to take care of unwanted airflow. Even if you can’t afford to completely fix the problem, covering the leak with plastic or an inexpensive fabric draft blocker (underneath a door, for example) can make a big difference.

    Tip #3: Replace faulty windows or insulation

    If you can afford to do it, installing energy-efficient windows or improving your home’s insulation will go a long way in slashing your heating costs.

    Tip #4: Program your thermostat

    You might be surprised at how much energy you can save by just taking time to program your thermostat so that you’re not wasting precious heat at night or when you’re not even at home. While you’re at it, try setting the temperature just a few degrees lower than you’re used to, and see if your family can adjust (hey, you can always turn it back up if you need to).

    Tip #5: Install a smart home system

    Of course, you don’t have to go through quite as much trouble to program your thermostat if you invest in a smart home energy system. These can be quite inexpensive and easy to install, and they will allow you to control your energy consumption remotely. So if you forgot to turn the heat down, no problem: you can take care of that on your phone, from wherever you are.

    Tip #6: Let the sunshine in

    If you get a sunny day, open up the blinds and curtains and allow the natural heat to do its magic.

    Tip #7: Use a space heater or electric fireplace

    If you’re only using a small area of your house, warming up with a newer model space heater can save you from having to use the central heat.

    Tip #8: Wear a sweater

    When all else fails, your mother was right. If your home is just a tad chilly, try bundling up or wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket instead of turning up the heat that one or two degrees.

    For all of your home insurance questions, call or contact Post Insurance and Financial today.

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