8 Things Every Holiday Traveler Should Have On Their Checklist

It was a dark and stormy night. And, you weren’t home. Wait, what? That’s right, you were on holiday vacation…with your family…having the time of your life.

Do you know why you were having the time of your life? No, it’s not because your great aunt actually gave you a practical gift or that your kids are truly on their best behavior. It’s because you took the time to make sure your home would be safe, even on the dark and stormy nights.

We feel it’s important to aid our policyholders when disaster strikes, and help protect their homes before potential danger threatens. Are you headed out for the holidays? Review our checklist of home protection “to dos” to Continue reading “8 Things Every Holiday Traveler Should Have On Their Checklist”

How to Stay Safe When Extreme Heat Hits

 

Did you know July and August are the two hottest months of the year? According to Ready.gov, extreme heat is defined as a long period (2 to 3 days) of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees. In many states hitting this high of a temperature is an everyday event during the summer months.  In extreme heat the body must work extra hard to maintain a normal temperature. In severe cases, this can lead to death by overworking the human body. Find out what you need to know, how to prepare, and how to respond to extreme heat.

It’s important to know:

  • Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
  • Older adults, children, and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
  • Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

IF YOU ARE UNDER AN EXTREME HEAT WARNING:

  • Find air conditioning.
  • Avoid strenuous activities.
  • Watch for heat illness.
  • Wear light clothing.
  • Check on family members and neighbors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car.

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN EXTREME HEAT THREATENS

Prepare NOW

  • Find places in your community where you can go to get cool.
  • Keep your home cool by doing the following:
    • Cover windows with drapes or shades.
    • Weather-strip doors and windows.
    • Use window reflectors, such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
    • Add insulation to keep the heat out.
    • Use attic fans to clear hot air.
    • Install window air conditioners and insulate around them.
  • Learn to recognize the signs of heat-related illness.

Be Safe DURING

  • Never leave a child, adult, or animal alone inside a vehicle on a warm day.
  • Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat.
  • If you’re outside, find shade. Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. If you or someone you care for is on a special diet, ask a doctor how best to accommodate it.
  • Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees, as this could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.
  • Avoid high-energy activities.
  • Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.

RECOGNIZE AND RESPOND

Know the signs of heat-related illness and the ways to respond to it:

  • HEAT CRAMPS
    • Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms, or legs
    • Actions: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if cramps last more than an hour.
  • HEAT EXHAUSTION
    • Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea or vomiting, or fainting
    • Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Get medical help if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.
  • HEAT STROKE
    • Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally; red, hot, and dry skin with no sweat; rapid, strong pulse; dizziness; confusion; or unconsciousness
    • Actions: Call 911 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.

Leadership Spotlight – Ross Bowie and Philip Massaro

Bankers is excited to introduce two new additions to the Bankers leadership team: Ross Bowie, Sr. Vice President of Personal Lines and Philip Massaro, Sr. Product Manager – BOP.
Ross most recently served as a Vice President at ASI where he oversaw the operations for ASI Select, which offers Auto, Home, and Umbrella products through an exclusive group of Independent Agents in California. He has a proven track record in successfully growing personal lines products throughout the U.S.
Philip was most recently Vice President of Risk and Products for Gulf States Financial Services in Houston Texas.  Prior to that he spent 6 years with AmTrust Financial Services out of New York City developing, rolling out and managing a countrywide BOP and working on acquisitions and integrations all over the country.

 

Get to know Ross:

What’s your favorite movie?

Slapshot. Growing up in Minnesota, playing hockey was the only thing to do in the winter. Slapshot was the first R rated movie I ever saw.

If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go?

Australia. I’ve surfed in California, Florida, Costa Rica, and Spain, but have never surfed in Australia.

What are some of your pet peeves?

Slow drivers in the left lane that refuse to move over.

What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Outside of spending time with my kids, it would be Skiing, Surfing, Fishing, and Hunting.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

The ability to Fly. Being able to just hop to another place/spot would be amazing.

 

Get to know Philip:
What’s your favorite movie?

How could one possibly have only one favorite movie?  That aside, there are some that I really like a lot – recently watched “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, by Ang Lee again and I can always watch “Once Upon a Time in the West,” by Sergio Leone, or any of his Spaghetti Westerns, his Dollars Trilogy with Clint Eastwood is a favorite, “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” and the, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

If you could visit anywhere in the world you’ve never been, where would you go?

Sicily, much of my family is from there and it has an amazing history, culture, food and beaches – and would be super cool to ride a bike (bicycle that is) around the Island and see Mt Etna.

What are some of your pet peeves?

Pet Peeves.

What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

Doing nothing is really high up there.  Otherwise, I like to travel around different neighborhoods, towns or cities all day on a bike and just see whats going on.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Hmmm, don’t really know, I am from Cleveland Ohio the “real” birthplace of Superman, it’s a little known fact that Krypton is not a real place.  So maybe the power to resist kryptonite would be cool.

Commercial Spotlight: Tim McGuire and Amanda Quinn

Commercial Underwriters

This quarter the Bankers Spotlight is being shared by two new Commercial Underwriters, Tim McGuire and Amanda Quinn. Tim joined Bankers in July 2018 and Amanda joined Bankers in 2014, but recently moved to the Commercial Underwriter position. We are thrilled to highlight Tim and Amanda.

Get to know Tim:

Where did you grow up?  And why should we go there?  Give one interesting fact about that area.

I was born and raised in St. Pete. People should come here because of the weather and beaches. At one time St Pete held the Guinness World record for the most consecutive sunny days, 768.

What is one of your goals for 2018?

One of my goals for 2018 is to read six books.

Where could we find you on a Sunday afternoon?

You will most likely find me watching sports on a Sunday afternoon.

What are you most proud of accomplishing professionally?

Opening and running my own insurance agency. I was kind of born into Insurance. My Dad started an Insurance Agency for AAA. He hired me and I worked for AAA for 8 ½ years. I started as a CSR and eventually was promoted to Insurance Manager for the St. Petersburg office. Later, my wife and I opened an independent Insurance agency.  We owned and operated the Agency for 26 years before selling in December 2016. We stayed on for another year and 3 months helping with the transition before moving on.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Slow down and enjoy the ride.

 

Get to know Amanda:

Where did you grow up?  And why should we go there?  Give one interesting fact about that area.

I was born and raised in Clearwater, FL. Clearwater is a very beautiful area and Clearwater beach was named the best beach in the U.S by TripAdvisor in 2015.

What is one of your goals for 2018?

To survive sending my first-born child off to Kindergarten, I am not ready and will be an absolute disaster.

Where could we find you on a Sunday afternoon?

You can find me chasing after my 5-year-old daughter Camberlyn or my 8-month old Sophia. I am a U.S Army veteran and they still give me a run for my money.

What are you most proud of accomplishing professionally?

For the last three and a half years I have been representing the Commercial Customer service team for Bankers, So I would have to say that becoming a part of the Underwriting team is by far my biggest Professional accomplishment. However, I can assure you there is much more to come.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self not to care so much what other people think, misery loves company.  (Although, the younger me would most likely not listen).

Employee Spotlight – Heather Ross

Heather 4-18This quarter the Bankers Spotlight is on Heather Ross, Commercial Operations Supervisor.  Heather has been a part of our team for over 17 years and we are excited to highlight Heather as our Spotlight Employee.

Get to know Heather:

What do you like the most about working for Bankers? What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?

The Team of people who work along side me at Bankers is what I enjoy most. The Commercial Customer Service team is a group that continually pushes themselves to deliver knock your socks off service. They all work hard and make me proud.

What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time? 

My favorite thing to do is to work in my bullet journal. It relaxes me and also allows me to be creative.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why? 

Tennessee. I love every part of Tennessee. From the picturesque mountains to the wonderful tourist spots it is my favorite vacation destination. I enjoy the complete love of music, the history and the culture in Tennessee.

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this? 

I am very right-brained, so it would be something creative or artistic like a painter, musician, author or a craftswoman.

What are you most proud of? 

Motivating people to focus on the positive and reaching their full potential. I can often talk people out of their comfort zones and try things they are scared of. It’s rewarding to hear the good feedback afterwards.

Where is your favorite place to eat?

Cracker Barrel. Homestyle foods and shopping, what more could you ask for. Yum!

Tell us something that might surprise us about you. 

I have never driven a car more than 40 miles from my house.

We would like to thank Heather for being such a dedicated and influential part of the Bankers Team. Your can-do attitude and leadership is a key ingredient to our success. Keep up the great work, Heather!

 

Meet the Agent Advisory Board

The Advisory Board was created to strengthen the relationships with our business partners. Our mission states “In an atmosphere of transparency, trust and integrity, we will work together to achieve our mutual goals.”

March 2018 marked our 2nd annual Agent Advisory Board meeting. At the advisory board meeting we discussed our accomplishments from 2017 and things to expect in 2018. Our Board is comprised of independent agents who have partnered with Bankers ranging from newly appointed to over 15 years. Get to know more about the Advisory Board Members:

Advisory Agents.002

Matt Reed – J W Edens & Company  –  Titusville, FL & New Smyrna Beach, FL & Indialantic, FL

Matt Reed has been working at JW Edens and Company for 10 and a half years. Prior to becoming an insurance agent, he was a police officer with the Rockledge Police Department and prior to that he serviced in the Air Force.

 

Advisory Agents.003

Bill Fuge – Kinghorn Insurance Agency – Hilton Head, SC

Bill first began his insurance career in 2002 and was born and raised in Beaufort County, where Kinghorn Insurance is located. He earned his BA from Wofford College in Spartanburg. He’s served on the Hilton Head Area Home Builders Association Board as an Insurance Advisor and has served on the Big “I” Young Agents Board.

 

Advisory Agents.004

Russ Dozeman –  Boyd Insurance & Investments Services –  Bradenton, FL

Russ Dozeman is the Director of Sales & Account Executive at Boyd Insurance & Investment Services. He handles both personal and commercial lines. He has 20 years of personal & professional involvement in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

 

Advisory Agents.005Clinton Richey – Richey Insurance Agency –  Kingwood, TX

Clinton D Richey is a family man, sports enthusiast and entrepreneur at heart. Clinton was proud to serve in the Air Force during Desert Storm and Desert Shield from 1987 to 1991.  It wasn’t till 2008 Clinton became an insurance agent. Clinton’s career like many started as a captive agent but soon turned to the independent channel model for success.

 

Advisory Agents.006Jonathan Tate –  Alexander, Greep & Tate Insurance –  Fort Lauderdale, FL

Jonathan graduated from University of Alabama and has held his 2-20 license since 1997. He started his career at Allstate agencies in Fort Lauderdale & Baton Rouge. In 2002 he began as an independent producer gradually working his way to a named partner and currently serves as head of P&C operations.

 

Advisory Agents.007Tommy Bennett – The Insurance Center – Elite Agent New Bern, NC & Atlantic Beach, NC

Tommy Bennett works with small and large businesses and homeowners in the coastal regions of North Carolina. Tommy is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and lives in Morehead City with his wife, Wanda. Tommy was the initial recipient of the Jack Goldstein Hospitality Award presented by the Crystal Coast Hospitality Association.

 

Advisory Agents.008David & Kimberly Holeman –  ABCO Home Plus Insurance – New Bern, NC & Atlantic Beach, NC

ABCO is a family owned, independent agency started in 2002. The Agency Principals are a husband-wife team of David and Kimberly Holeman. ABCO is focused on creating long term relationships – in terms of referral sources and customers – to further grow their business. A recent acquisition nearly doubled the size of their office and provided a larger commercial footprint to further strengthen their product offering.

 

Advisory Agents.009David Clements – Clements Insurance Services – Chalmette, LA

David Clements has been employed by Clements Insurance Services since 2006. He works alongside his father Richie and brother Tim. David is the personal lines/office manager with 4 employees. In addition to the Bankers Agents Council, David serves as a Deputy Commissioner of Insurance Fraud for the Louisiana Department of Insurance as well as sits on the Louisiana Citizens Agents Council.

 

Advisory Agents.010Drew Hardgrave – Hiles McLeod Insurance Inc. – Pensacola, FL

Drew has been with Hiles McLeod for 5 years as a producer. His first 7 years were with another agency as a Producer (3 Years) and New Business Commercial Marketing Manager (4 Years). Drew has managed to grow a profitable book of business made up of Commercial and Personal P&C insurance clientele.

Employee Spotlight – Gerry Waytowich

G Waytowich picWith his commitment to Bankers Insurance Group (BIG), Gerry is a valuable team member for the BIG Flood team. With over 14 years experience, we are thrilled to highlight Gerry Waytowich, Flood Claims Manager for Bankers Insurance Group, as our Spotlight Employee.

Get to know Gerry:

What do you like the most about working for Bankers? What aspect of your job do you enjoy the most?

“Working with the associates and management of Bankers. The opportunity to excel and apply my flood knowledge for the benefit of the Bankers Insurance Group’s flood program in the claims department”

What’s your favorite thing to do in your spare time?

“Playing Golf, fishing, and spending time with my seven grandkids”

Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

“I was deployed to Puerto Rico every year by the NFIP to present the flood adjuster’s certification presentations. I enjoyed the people, climate and food of the area.”

What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t do this?

“I would have pursued a career in aviation as a pilot.”

What are you most proud of?

“My association with the National Flood Insurance Program and people associated with the program.”

Where is your favorite place to eat?

“Flame Stone Steak restaurant in the Oldsmar area”

Tell us something that might surprise us about you.

“I held a commercial pilot’s license, multi-engine, with instrument rating and with a designation as a flight instructor, at the age of 21”

We would like to thank Gerry for being such a great asset to the team as he continues to deliver superior work and uplift the group with his can-do attitude. Keep up the great work, Gerry!

 

 

 

Water Damage – Prevention is Key

Water, our most basic source for survival.  It’s also a dangerous culprit in the destruction of many of our homes and businesses. Did you know that water damage is the second most frequently filed insurance claim? So, while we can’t control rainfall, floods and other natural water disasters, we can do our best to protect our homes and businesses from possible water damage.

The best way to prevent water damage is to ensure that the inside and outside of your home is well maintained and ready to withstand whatever may come its way. Follow these tips to keep your home protected against water damage:

  • Inside Your Home
    • Regularly inspecting appliance hoses, faucets, showers and tubs for any leaks that may lead to leaks or drainages.
    • Checking for leaks regularly also prevents long-term damage caused by mold and mildew.
    • Knowing the location of the main water shut-off valve in your home will ensure you can quickly address a damaged hose or burst pipe before it enters your home.
  • Outside Your Home
    • Much like the inside of your home, you’ll want to regularly inspect the sprinklers and irrigation systems surrounding your home.
    • Clearing out any accumulated debris in your rain gutters and downspouts (or installing gutter guards) helps direct the flow of water away from your home.
    • Being mindful of the plants and trees thriving in your yard can also prevent water damage. Many plant roots tend to wrap around water pipes and destroy them. Landscaping away from utility pipes should always be taken into consideration.
  • Upgrade, Install and MonitorWater Damage Infographic
    • Water loss in the home can also be caused by older, leaking washing machine hoses. Upgrade your hoses periodically and check the water pressure in your home to ensure they don’t break down under pressure.
    • Installing water detection devices near water heaters, sump pumps and dishwashers can detect when slow leaks and low moisture levels emerge.
    • After upgrades and installations, make sure to monitor your water bill to expose any possible leaks that might be lurking around your home.

If you’ve already experienced some form of water damage to your home or business, here is a handy infographic that highlights the immediate steps for you to address the issue right away.

Contact a Bankers agent if you have any questions about water hazards or water damage prevention.

New Year . . . New Insurance Policy?

New year, new you. New insurance policy?

Each new year brings fresh resolutions, goals, ambitions and possible changes for the new year. What better time to review the insurance policy for one of your largest investments – your home.

In the past year, your home might have undergone a minor or drastic makeover. You might have remodeled your patio or kitchen, added a fun, new enhancement like a swimming pool or even upgraded the level of security in your home. While most of these changes are exciting, they may require some form of update to your existing home insurance policy. These updates may come in the form of coverage adjustments, a home value increase or even discounts to your policy.

So go ahead and add the annual review of your home insurance policy to your already existing list of new goals for the year and help ensure your home is protected and covered in the new year.

Contact a Bankers agent for questions about your insurance policy.

2017 Bankers Year in Review

For Bankers, 2017 was all about improving our processes and making it easier for you to do business with us. Here is a look back at some of our biggest initiatives from 2017 . . . . .

inspectionBIG Improvements to Homeowners

In November 2017, Bankers implemented two significant improvements to our Homeowners Program. We began sending underwriting request letters to insureds and activated mailing letters directly to policyholders informing them our inspection company would be contacting them to schedule a home inspection.

 

bop-quotingEnhanced Florida BOP Platform

In November 2017, Bankers launched a new and improved BOP Quoting Platform with upgraded compatibility view settings and one-stop quote search.

 

ho-quote-portalNew Florida Homeowners Quoting Portal

Bankers launched a brand new homeowners quoting portal in October 2017. Offering less clicks, easy to read pages, new monthly pay plans for EFT and interactive rates. Look for our new homeowners platform coming soon to all other states!

 

disaster-reliefBankers Offers Free Disaster Assistance

As Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma brought unprecedented hardship to families in the southeast, Bankers teamed up with Global Institutional Solutions to provide assistance to families and business customers through our Disaster Services Program.

 

ivansIVANS Commercial Download

Bankers implemented IVANS Commercial Download in July 2017. Products included as part of the download: Main Street BOP, Preferred Office Program, Apartment Program, Residential Condo Program.

 

production-reportAgency Production Report Available Online

In June 2017, we made it easier for you to track your agency’s growth with Bankers in a robust new online report.

 

super-coop-uSuper Coop U Agent Training Portal

In June 2017, Bankers rolled out our new training and informational portal. This one-stop portal was designed for ease of use and immediate access to everything you need as a Bankers agent. Visit Super Coop U!

 

commercial-umbrellaCommercial Umbrella for Louisiana & Florida

Bankers offers Commercial Umbrella to be written over new business POP policies.