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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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.

Assignment of Benefits – Everything You Need to Know

Mother nature has done it again… She brings in a strong natural disaster that damages your home or business that you’ve worked so hard on. With it being one of your largest assets, it’s your priority to get it fixed as soon as possible. You hop on a call with a contractor to have them assess the situation and give you an estimate of the cost. You know the insurance company will want one anyway, so why not get a head start. Well believe it or not “getting a head start” may sound like a simple process, but it could turn into a nightmare. The reason why you ask? Assignment of benefits.

What you need to know

Assignment of benefits is a legal document that allows a third party to be paid for certain services that they do for an insured homeowner, in which the homeowner would normally be reimbursed by the insurance company directly after making a claim. Assignment of benefits (AOB) is commonly used when a homeowner experiences roof damage, a leaky pipe, a damaged appliance, etc. and they contact a contractor for assistance. Most Assignment of Benefits agreements presented to the homeowner allow the contractor to stand in the shoes of the homeowner for insurance collection purposes. This causes legal battles between the contractor and the insurance company leaving the homeowner left out of the picture.

How to avoid an Assignment of Benefits (AOB)

If the form says anything related to “I transfer and assign all insurance rights, benefits, and causes of action under my property insurance policy to the contractor” then you are probably signing an Assignment of Benefits. You are signing away your rights to the claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Educate yourself. If you experience a loss, be sure to contact your insurance company first, before doing anything else. This will help you avoid dealing with an AOB issue completely.

Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Someone knocks on your door to tell you about damage to your home that you had no idea about
  • Someone says you will get a free kitchen or free roof for no particular reason
  • They claim the damage is a lot more than it clearly is
  • Permanent repairs start before your insurance company is allowed to inspect or is notified
  • They claim to cover your deductible

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be a victim of AOB. Contact your Bankers agent if you have any questions or concerns if you need to sign any contracts. Our agents are available every day of the week to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t hesitate to call 800-627-0000.

Home is Where Your Pets Are

When you think of family, who do you think of? Parents, siblings, grandparents, but what about your pet? Your four-legged furry friend is always there for you when you walk through the door after a long day at work or even when you need some company watching your favorite TV show. You probably can’t imagine your life without your beloved pet, which is why it would be devastating if anything happened to them.

What if there’s an emergency and you have to evacuate your home? Or you just planned a week-long trip with your family? Have you thought of a plan for your pets? It’s just as important to make a plan for your animals as it is for your family members. Bankers Insurance Group cares about the safety of you and your family and wants you to be prepared all year long.

Here are some tips on what to consider when making a pet emergency or travel plan.

Emergency Plans

  • Find a Safe Haven

If you need to evacuate from your home, so do your pets. Identify emergency shelters and foster care centers for animals in your area. Make arrangements in advance with your friends or relatives to take care of your pets for the duration of your absence. If you decide to be with your pets during an evacuation, find hotels or motels that are pet friendly.

  • Emergency Kits

Always plan for the worst and pack as many supplies as you can. The must haves include:

  • First aid kit for pets
  • Enough food and water for 3-7 days
  • Collar & leash
  • Photocopies of medical records
  • Litter & disposable litter trays
  • Blankets & toys
  • Identification

What if your pet goes missing? It’s important that all animals wear collars with up-to-date tags. The tag should include your pets’ name, telephone number and urgent medical needs. Another great way to identify your pet(s) is through microchipping. ASPCA highly recommends microchipping as it’s more permanent and reliable. Any animal shelter will be able to find the identity of your pet by simply scanning the microchip.

Safe Travel Plans

  • Traveling by Plane

Choose a direct flight because it’s less traumatic for animals, especially since they will be confined in a crate during the flight. Your pet’s crate should be USDA approved and large enough for your animal to sit, stand and turn comfortably. Make sure the crate has proper identification including a photo of your pet, your name and phone number. When was the last time your pets got vaccinated? It’s required to have all of your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date prior to the trip.

  • Road Trip

Unfortunately, you can’t just load your pet in a vehicle and drive away. You need to properly prepare for a safe trip. With that being said, don’t let your pet ride loose in the vehicle. It might be fun for your pet, but it’s extremely dangerous. Your animal should be in a carrier case secured in a seat with a seat belt. Don’t forget to pack your pet emergency kit. Last, but not least, never leave your pet in a parked vehicle alone.

Be the owner that your pet looks up to. They always support you, so now it’s your turn to be there for them. It’s never too late to create an emergency and travel plan for your furry best friend. Get started now and be prepared all year long. To learn more about pet preparedness plans, visit: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness

 

 

 

What Does Back to School Really Mean? The Importance of Renters Insurance

The beach parties, summer vacations and sleeping-in is officially over. Summer tans are fading away as your college student(s) heads back to school. They have packed their boxes, bought a new laptop (or tablet), purchased a new flat screen television and loaded up all their school supplies. The last thing they are thinking about is protecting their stuff from a fire, theft or careless accident. But someone should be thinking about it, and that person should be you.

First you’ll want to ask yourself, is your child living on or off campus? If they are living on campus, most homeowner’s insurance or renter’s policies extend to kids living on campus. So if something were to happen in their dorm – like a fire, or a theft, your homeowners or renter’s policy should cover the losses. As always, check with your agent to confirm your coverage and whether it extends to your child living on campus.

However, if they live off campus it’s a different story. If your student is renting a condo, house or apartment (not in relation to lodging provided as part of the student’s tuition), then their expensive and important belongings are unprotected. And if you’re wondering whether they really need to protect those belongings, then imagine this:

Your student has all kinds of electronics in their rented home. An apple TV, smartwatch, laptop, desktop, smartphone, a printer, brand new TV, stereo, etc. Not only do they have electronics, but brand new furniture, musical instruments, sporting equipment and even precious and expensive jewelry, not to mention text books. They decide to throw a house party, inviting their closest friends who in turn invite their friends and eventually it gets out of control – careless mistakes start to happen. Someone accidentally starts a fire and it burns the entire home to the ground. A “friend of a friend” sees where you live and breaks in to steal most of your electronics. A tornado hits the ground and destroys everything in it’s path. Now, shouldn’t you consider renter’s insurance?

Here’s something that may seal the deal. Naturally, coverage limits will vary, depending on what exactly you’re protecting. But thankfully, unlike your typical homeowners insurance policy, renters insurance is a small price to pay. We aren’t joking! It’s your typical weekly coffee splurge or “out to eat” budget. With renter’s insurance also covering liability, along with temporary living expenses in case of serious damage, you’re looking at a minor output that gives major protection. It’s a cheap peace of mind! Isn’t this worth considering?

The time is now, before new friendships are formed, the parties start, and the carelessness takes over. Less worries and more focus will be had by all. Get a list together of your child’s belongings and contact a Bankers agent to review our renters insurance policy today! Let us ease your worries and protect what’s important to your family.

Five Things You Need to Know About Hurricanes

You hear the wind blowing across your roof, your cell phone screeches out warnings of tornados and rising water, then, all of a sudden, the power goes out. Your pets are hiding under the couch, you’re rushing around trying to find flashlights, wondering if it’s time to evacuate…

Hurricanes are scary and dangerous storms with a series of hazards that can impact your property long after the wind and rain dies down. Understanding these five hurricane-related hazards will help protect you, your family and property against these unfriendly scenarios.

STORM SURGE:

Storm surge is a rise of ocean water generated by a large storm. As ocean levels rise above regular astronomical tides, coastal flooding can extend inland, eroding beaches and roadways.

How to be prepared:

  • Make an evacuation plan
  • Monitor the weather, local advisories, watches and warnings
  • Have a plan, before you evacuate, to board up doors and windows, remove or secure all objects in yard and turn off utilities
  • Never attempt to cross flowing water when driving. A few inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.

HEAVY RAINS AND FLOODING:

This is caused by rising levels in lakes, creeks, rivers and other inland bodies of water caused by widespread, torrential downpours.

How to be prepared:

  • Get to higher ground, especially get out of areas that have potential for flooding
  • Avoid areas that are already flooded; do not attempt to drive through them
  • If you need to evacuate your home, turn off utilities and unplug appliances

HIGH WINDS:

High winds are considered winds of 74+ mph and gusts of 100+ mph. Each hurricane is always categorized as a number. Category 1 has winds between 74-95mph. Category 2 is 96-110 mph. Category 3 is 111-129 mph. Category 4 is 130-156 mph. Category 5 is 157+mph.

How to be prepared:

  • Always check to make sure your home meets building code requirements for high-wind areas
  • Trim dead wood and weak branches from trees and shrubs to reduce the amount of potential wind-born debris
  • Protect windows with shutters and plywood
  • Reinforce your garage door, as it is frequently the first area of a home to fail against high winds

RIP CURRENTS:

Rip currents are strong channels of water flowing away from shore. Breaking waves spurred by a tropical storm can cause deadly rip currents to develop on coastal beaches.

How to be prepared:

  • Follow flag warnings posted at the beach
  • Stay at least 75 feet away from piers and jetties when swimming. Rip currents are often found alongside stable structures
  • If caught in a rip current, remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly; never fight the current
  • Swim your way out of the current by following the direction of the shoreline and then start swimming at an angle

TORNADOES:

Tornadoes are rotating air columns caused by thunderstorms and warm, moist air that can accompany tropical storms. Tornadoes are often  spawned both away from and near the center of the hurricane

How to be prepared:

  • If you live in a mobile home, get out and move to a pre-established sturdy location
  • Move big furniture away from mirrors and heavy objects hung on walls
  • If you have time place heavy items on lower shelves to prevent them from falling onto you during the storm.
  • Seek shelter in an interior room in your house away from windows

Understanding these 5 hurricane hazards will help you better plan for hurricane season. Just because we are in the middle of it, doesn’t mean you can’t start now. Get your plan in place today! Contact a Bankers agent if you have any questions about any hurricane related hazard.