Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Don’t Sabotage Your Escrow Close

Listen to your realtor and mortgage broker- they are the experts! Last week a realtor recommended that her client call us to review their policy well in advance of escrow close and the deadline for waiving the insurance contingencies.

The realtor, being an experienced professional, wanted to get her ducks in a row. She did not want to risk her client being denied the LOAN and risk losing the 3% DEPOSIT and the HOUSE, just because they did not get insurance on time.

The client never called us, choosing instead to use their current agent, who said everything was fine and not to worry. BIG MISTAKE- 24 hours before escrow close, the title company requested proof-of-insurance from the client’s agent. The company refused to meet the lender’s requirements. Since the agent was a company EMPLOYEE, he could not do anything to solve the problem. WHOOPS!

The realtor called Allied because we are an independent insurance broker. Since we work with, NOT FOR, over ten different carriers, we were able to get coverage for her client just in time. Whew, disaster averted!

This happens all the time. There are other insurance pit-falls that can break a real estate deal. We run all the required reports in advance for all our customers. Brush proximity, earthquake and flood exposure as well as prior claims are nasty surprises that buyers and sellers can avoid. Consult with Allied Brokers in advance of escrow close to find out what the required coverage amounts are and then get pre-approved for them. We have the resources to solve any of these problems. That’s why so many realtors and mortgage brokers recommend us to their clients.

Visit our website at http://www.alliedbrokers.com/ for information about all the types of insurance we offer. Or call 1-888-505-7988 for a free rate quote.

Top 5 Reasons Why People Don’t Buy Earthquake Insurance

As a Californian, you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Sure, you’ve thought about earthquake insurance, but you talked yourself out of making the call because you assumed…

It’s too expensive-Insurance is meant to cover the losses you can’t afford to pay. $1,500 for insurance to rebuild a $600,000 home is a reasonable price for such a big risk. Our company’s biggest insured loss was with Fireman’s Fund for $900,000. It happened in Los Gatos during the Loma Prieta quake when a Victorian jumped completely off its foundation.

The deductible is too high - Yes, 15% is high, but insurance companies would go broke fixing every piece of cracked stucco. Earthquake insurance is for major damage only- like when the same quake caused another client’s swimming pool to empty completely into his house.

The state will bail me out - Seriously? The State’s broke- don’t count on it.

Insurance companies will go bankrupt - Ok, some might. 21st Century almost did after the 1995 Northridge quake and pulled out of the California homeowner’s market. Allied Brokers, however, represents the only strongest companies in the industry and we steer our clients away from “shaky” carriers.

It will never happen to me - Maybe… or maybe not; how lucky do you feel? Case-in-point: an Allied Brokers client bought a house in Santa Cruz just one month before the Loma Prieta quake. He purchased a normal homeowner’s policy but passed on the earthquake insurance. He gambled that he would never need it. His chimney collapsed and his floors and foundation were severely damaged- to the tune of $60,000. Don’t let the Big One get you! Call Allied Brokers today.

Visit our website at http://www.alliedbrokers.com/ for information about all the types of insurance we offer. Or call 1-888-505-7988 for a free rate quote.

Buy Local, Hire Local, Support Local: Say NO to Call Centers and Outsourcing

Time Magazine recently reported that Aetna, the US’s third largest health insurer, has partnered with Costco to offer individual health care policies to its customers in nine states- Connecticut, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Nevada- as well as lower co-pays for customers who use Costco pharmacies. Aetna says its Costco plans are about 5% cheaper than the individual policies it normally offers and intends to add more states later this year.

Insurers, financial firms and retailers are anticipating that millions of uninsured people will have to buy health care by 2014 under the new Affordable Care Act and have been experimenting with ways to attract new customers. Humana now offers prescription drug plans through Wal-Mart and Aetna has also teamed up with Best Buy to sell supplemental wellness plans. Health insurance has become the Wild West and major carriers will continue making land grabs at big-box stores.

Unfortunately, Progressive and Hartford AARP have also joined in on the commoditization of what remains a complicated and personal product. Service and expertise will soon be a thing of the past. Buyers beware- anyone who chooses a carrier based on price alone deserves what they get when they submit a claim that is not covered.

Allied Brokers hires and trains the best local professionals so we can provide top-notch service and expert advice for our clients. Call us if you want a dedicated agent who knows you and can educate you on the  best choices for your unique insurance needs. You will get a real person who remembers your name and your previous conversation. We have an office on Cowper St. you can visit- and if you want to talk to the owner, he is there every day. Availability and accountability are among our core values.

By working with us, you are also supporting a local merchant that pays local taxes and rents, supports local charities and patronizes local businesses. Allied Brokers has been part of the Palo Alto community for over 50 years and although we won’t stuff you with mini quiche samples like at Costco, your agent will always be available when you need help.

Visit our website at http://www.alliedbrokers.com/ for information about all the types of insurance we offer. Or call 1-888-505-7988 for a free rate quote.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Allied Brokers Supports Prop. 33

Current California law allows a loyalty discount if a customer stays with the same insurance company over time. The insured, however, cannot take that discount with them if they want to switch to another auto insurer. Prop. 33, the 2012 Automobile Insurance Discount Act, will reward Californians for maintaining car insurance, and allow them to take their loyalty discount to competing insurance companies.

Allied Brokers supports Prop. 33 because we feel it will level the playing field for consumers. As it is now, our clients who want to get a better rate cannot take their renewal discount with them when they switch between the 10 insurance companies we represent. If the rules changed, our customers could save big money. Putting your customers first is good business.

Consumer Watchdog opposes Prop. 33 because they think it will result in rate hikes for consumers that don’t have prior insurance. This makes no sense because this is already happening to people without prior insurance. Under the current law, they pay 20% more than someone who has stayed with the same company over time. Prop. 33 would just allow people with insurance to move freely between companies to save money.

Most insurance companies oppose Prop. 33 because they like things the way they are. Their customers are trapped. If Prop. 33 passes, insurance companies will have to lower prices and run a leaner business to retain customers.

Mercury Insurance is one of the few carriers that supports Prop. 33. Mercury is the most efficiently managed auto insurer in the world and they have the lowest internal costs in the industry- which they are able to pass on to customers as savings.

Call Allied Brokers for personal, expert advice about the best choices for your unique insurance needs. Or visit our website at http://www.alliedbrokers.com/ for information about all the types of insurance we offer. Or call 1-888-505-7988 for a free rate quote.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Weird, Gross and Ridiculous Claims

Abby Normal’s brain melts down in lab mishap

In May this year a freezer malfunctioned at a Harvard-affiliated hospital that oversees the world’s largest collection of autistic brain samples, damaging a third of the scientifically precious specimens. The Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center is the largest and oldest federally funded “brain bank’’ in the United States. It provides thousands of postmortem brain tissue samples annually to researchers across the nation.

Covered or not covered? The exact cause of the meltdown is still under investigation. If it turns out that there was a “malfunction” of the refrigeration unit, this type of loss could be covered under an Equipment Breakdown Policy. The big question, of course, is the damage to the contents in the refrigerator. The EB policy does pay for resultant damage to the property but the problem is placing monetary value on the “spoiled” brains AND the business income resulting from the loss of the brains in the research process. This claim will probably fall through the cracks but maybe it will inspire Mel Brooks to produce another Young Frankenstein movie.

Hall of Shame award goes to NJ woman who sues 11 year old Little League player

A New Jersey woman who was struck in the face with a baseball at a Little League game is suing the young catcher who threw it. Elizabeth Lloyd is seeking more than $150,000 in damages to cover medical costs stemming from the incident at a Manchester Little League game two years ago. She’s also seeking an undefined amount for pain and suffering.

Lloyd was sitting at a picnic table near a fenced-in bullpen when she was hit with the ball. Catcher Matthew Migliaccio was 11 years old at the time and was warming up a pitcher. The lawsuit alleges Migliaccio’s errant throw was intentional and reckless, “assaulted and battered” Lloyd and caused “severe, painful and permanent” injuries.

An attorney representing the boy's family says the count alleging negligence and carelessness is covered by homeowner's insurance, but other counts are not.

A second count alleges Migliaccio’s actions were negligent and careless through “engaging in inappropriate physical and/or sporting activity” near Lloyd. She continues to suffer pain and anguish, incur medical expenses and has been unable to carry out her usual duties and activities, the lawsuit says. And Lloyd’s husband, in a third count, is suing for the loss of “services, society and consortium” of his wife.

Covered or not covered? The count alleging negligence and carelessness is covered by homeowner’s insurance but the other counts are not. Little League has denied any coverage. A spokesman for Little League said each local league is required to have accident insurance, but that only covers coaches, players, and concession stand workers but not cover spectators.

Matthew’s parents said they would love to beat the charges in court, but it could cost tens of thousands of dollars and they also don’t want to put their son and other kids on the team through all the questions and depositions a trial would bring.

The real Hall of Shame winner is the Lloyd’s ambulance- chasing lawyer.