Preparing for a Hurricane

Hurricanes that make it up the east coast tend to be either fast and furious, or they run out of energy before they reach our shores.

Hurricanes require warm water to sustain their energy.  If they are slow moving, the cooler water from New Jersey and north will take a big bite out of their strength.  But it isn’t the weakened tropical storms that residents really need to fear.  It’s the fast moving storms that come to the coast full speed, with full force.

A storm that whistles past North Carolina can be in New York 8 hours later, and in Boston 3-4 hours after that.  And these are the storms that can make real preparation the difference between life and death.

The norotious “Long Island Express” of 1938 was one such storm.  That storm caused 700 deaths, destroyed 4,500 homes, and knocked down 20,000 miles of electrical and telephone lines.  Be prepared for such a storm. 

Visit FEMA’s site on Hurricanes for more, and click on the links there for a family preparation checklist…

Gordon Insurance provides insurance and risk solutions for families and businesses throughout Massachusetts with a geographical focus on the South Shore.  

Visit our homepage for insurance solutions, quotes, and information.

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Homeowner’s Insurance Discounts

Homeowers discount to be sure are on your policy

Every homeowners insurance policy is priced based on a starting rate, then discounted, or charged, for various factors that the insurance company feels minimizes or increases the risk of a loss.  If too many factors, or a single factor such as ownership of certain kinds of dogs or proximity to coastline exist, some companies will simply decline coverage.

The biggeest discounts you should have (when they apply) are:

New home discount.  These are either buried in the base rates or have specific credit.  Newer homes don’t have electrical fires, water damage, or other problems that older homes have. 

Good credit / insurance score.  An insurance score is based in part on your credit.  The idea is that  people who take care of their finances carefully generally take good care of their homes as well. 

Clear claims history.  No prior claims is always a good barometer, so even though none of us can predict our own claims, insurance companies view your claims history carefully.  Frequency and severity are two metrics, and frequency carrie smuch more wieght than severity.  Thus three small losses in four years presents a more risky profile to an underwriter than a single fire or other large claim. 

At home resident.  If someone is typicallly at home during the day, some companies offer credits.  This is also listed as a retirees credit. 

Alarm credits – a burglar or fire alarm is a long time credit.  Even better if contacted to a central  monitoring station. 

Charges: some insurance companies add a surcharge for dogs, swimming pools, and other specific conditions.  

At Gordon  Insurance, we view your overall profile as and work hard to find the best fit for coverages you need with the best available pricing.  Always feel free to contact us for more on Home insurance, auto insurance, life insurance or other personal insurance needs.

Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance provides a broad array of personal insurance coverages, for owners of homes, as well as condo owners and renters / tenants. A homeowners is known as a “package” policy, because it includes both protection for your property (your personal items, the house, and any detached buildings), as well as liability (defense and judgment costs if you are sued).

The most common homeowners policy is the HO-3. However, some companies now offer the broader HO-5 on homes that meet specific underwriting standards. For a detailed summary of why the HO-5 is a better value, click to our HO-3 vs. HO-5 page for a list of differences.

The HO-4 is used for renters, and has no building coverage, and the HO-6 is specially designed to address condo owners needs.
Below lists the different kinds of homeowners policies:

Policy form: HO-1
Generally Known As: Basic
Used For: Camps, homes with no interior plumbing, no central heat, etc.
Characterized By: “Basic Perils”: extremely limited coverage (Fire and lightning, with vandalism at an additional cost). Archaic; Used rarely.

Policy Form: HO-2
Generally Known As: Broad
Used For: similar to HO-1, on camps, unimproved old homes
Characterized By: Named Perils on Dwelling and Contents; seldom used except when company requires.

Policy Form: HO-3
Generally Known as: Special
Used For: most commonly purchased home insurance, minimum required by lenders for new home purchases
Characterized by: “Open Perils” on Dwelling (the house); “Named Perils” on Contents (your stuff): Additional coverages may be added by endorsement (such as “replacement cost” treatment, personal injury).

Policy Form: HO-4
Generally Known As: Tenants policy
Used For: Tenants, apartment renters
Characterized By: No coverage for building (that’s the landlord’s responsibility), just Contents and Liability protection.

Policy Form: HO-5
Generally Known As: Special Building and Contents
Used For: newer, preferred homes, offered selectively by a few companies.
Characterized By: Great if it’s available “Open Perils” on Dwelling; “Open Perils” on Contents, replacement cost coverage, higher limits on jewelry, silverware, etc., plus broader liability protection.

Policy Form: HO-6
Generally Known As: Condo Policy
Used For: Condominium owners
Characterized By: Coverage on personal property as with HO-4, but also can include coverage for building (e.g. interior walls, build-outs), and other condo owners’ needs.

And for risk mitigation and insurance solutions, look to www.agordon.com for topical and relevant resources.

MA Health Insurance Development

The Patrick Administration suffered another blow to its health care cost restriction plans on June 24th when an appeals board ruled in favor of Harvard Pilgrim’s rate setting methodologies. The ruling against the Massachusetts insurance commissioner’s regulations that health insurers had to hold rates level will allow the insurer to charge actuarially sound rates.

While we’re not advocating higher health costs for anyone (our own health insurance rates increased over 20% this past April), there is a certain reality to the mathematics that’s hard to avoid.

Harvard Pilgrim is the second company to prevail. Neighborhood Health won its fight nearly a month ago. Companies have been operating a losses since the rules took effect, threatening their long term viability. Fallon Health out of Worcester is hoping its lawsuit will be settled soon, as they have watched critical financial ratios erode.

See the full story here.

Interestingly one of the voices of opposition to the Commissioner’s regs came out of the Division itself: Deputy Insurance Commissioner Robert Dynan, who runs the Division’s Financial Surveillance Unit, was against the regulations, famously emailing that mandated rate reductions could cause a “train wreck”.
See the Boston Herald article for more

Gordon Insurance provides insurance and risk solutions to businesses and families throughout Massachusetts, including group health insurance and other benefits plans.

Annual Rare Plates Lottery at RMV

Do you possess a passion for antiquity?

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is now accepting applications for their annual “Low Number License Plate Lottery”, in which rare 3-4 character license plates will be given away by lottery to 179 contestants.

A Rare MA License Plate

Winners will be selected at a live drawing that will be held at 11am, Saturday, August 28 at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum located at 15 Newton Street in Brookline. Admission to the museum and its current exhibit “Curve Appeal” featuring aerodynamic vehicles from the streamlining era of industrial design will be free to applicants
All entries must be postmarked by August 9, 2010

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Here at Andrew G. Gordon Inc. (Gordon Insurance) we will bring you relevant and timely topics that we think may benefit you.  Knowledge is power!

Stick with Gordon to reduce the cost of risk in your life.

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