Associated Insurance CenterSussex, WI
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Creating A Home Inventory List
A service of Associated Insurance Center of Sussex and the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
Homeowners and renters alike benefit from keeping an up-to-date list of their property’s inventory. Insureds should create and then periodically update such a list to protect themselves in the event of a loss. Having an updated inventory list is essential to ensuring that you carry a sufficient amount of homeowners’ or renters’ insurance coverage. It can also make a difference in how efficiently your claim is processed in the event of a loss.
One factor that varies widely by policy is how much of what an insured currently owns will be reimbursed. If you aren’t sure what your policy covers, contact your insurance agent. Additionally, the property of college students living outside their parents’ home in off-campus housing is often not covered on a homeowners’ policy, so consumers should consult with their agents about whether they need renters’ insurance to cover their collegiate children’s belongings.
Some essential items to include in a home inventory are electronics, like computers, laptops, tablets, e-readers, smartphones, and televisions; clothing and accessories; housewares and other home appliances, including kitchen appliances and sporting and other hobby-related equipment; and other valuables (jewelry, art work, collectibles, etc.), some of which may require an addition (known as a “rider” or “floater”) to a standard policy. A home inventory list is also a good way to keep a record of important documents, including birth certificates, passports, social security cards, etc. Keep track of account numbers and any other information you may need in the event of an emergency.
Many technology-based resources now exist to ease the burden of this vital task. Thanks to smartphones, it’s easier than ever to narrate a video and/or take still photos of the interior of your home to accompany your inventory list. Once the list has been created, it should be updated regularly, and updating it should take less time than creating it did. Here are a few of the resources that exist to help you create a home inventory of your own:
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)’s app – This free smartphone app is available for Android and iPhone devices and enables consumers to make lists of their valuables, update said lists, and provide easy access to lists after a disaster. Using the app, consumers can store photographs/videos, descriptions, bar codes, and serial numbers of their valuables, and all the information can be organized by room. For people who don’t use smartphones, the NAIC also offers a downloadable checklist that can be used to create a home inventory list. Both can be found at http://home.insureuonline.org.
Insurance Information Institute’s (III) Inventory app – This free smartphone app is available for Android and iPhone devices and enables consumers to add rooms, items, and photos or videos. It also synchronizes with Web-based software and can therefore be used anywhere via smartphone or computer. For people who don’t use smartphones, the III also offers a printable list, which is sorted by room and is a good way to start thinking about what needs to be inventoried, whether you use this list alone or in conjunction with one of the many available home inventory apps. The printable list can be found at http://www.knowyourstuff.org.
Associated Insurance Center of Sussex is a member of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your personal information is everywhere.
Your personal information is everywhere. No one can guarantee you will never be a victim of identity theft, but you can reduce your risk. By managing your personal information wisely, being aware of threats and educating yourself, you can help guard against identity theft.
Here are nine simple steps you can take to reduce the risk of your information being stolen and misused.
- Guard your Social Security number.Do not carry your Social Security card with you; store it in a secure place. Avoid using your Social Security number. Release it only when necessary, such as on tax forms, employment records and banking. When a business asks to use your Social Security number, ask if another identifier is acceptable. Don’t have your number printed on your checks and don’t supply it to merchants that want to write it on your checks. Finally, check your Social Security Earnings and Benefits statement each year to ensure no one is using your number for employment.
- Protect your mail from theft.Mail outgoing bills from post office collection boxes rather than an unsecured mailbox. Don’t leave outgoing mail for your postal carrier to pick up. Pay attention to billing cycles and keep track of incoming mail, particularly tax forms, pay stubs, credit card bills and bank statements. If you don’t receive these statements on time, call to find out when the statements were mailed. Pick up new checks at the bank rather than having them sent to your home. Consider a locked mailbox to thwart mail thieves, and always have the post office hold your mail when you are away.
- Destroy documents before disposal.Tear, or better yet, shred your charge and ATM receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements. Also, destroy expired credits cards and convenience checks or credit offers you get in the mail. If you don’t want mailed credit offers, contact the three major credit reporting agencies to “Opt Out” from pre-approved credit offers by calling (888) 5 OptOut (1-888-567-8688).
- Shop online with caution. Only use a credit card when shopping on the web, not a debit card. And, designate a single, distinct credit card with a low limit for online shopping. Use a secure browser that complies with industry security standards before you provide any credit information over the internet. To determine if a site is safe, look for the “lock” symbols in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window. Look for the words “Secure Sockets Layer” or the acronym “SSL” in the merchant’s privacy statement. Never send payment information via e-mail.
- Practice Safe Computing.Update your virus protection software regularly. Download and install security patches for your operating system or browser. Use a firewall, since high-speed Internet connections leave your computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day. The firewall will help prevent persons from accessing your computer and accessing personal information. Before you dispose of a computer, use a “wipe” utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive and make files with personal information unrecoverable. Never store personal information on a laptop computer which is more easily stolen.
- Pick your PINs carefully.Do not use any part of your Social Security number for any Personal Identification Number (PIN). Also, don’t use anything a thief could easily deduce, such as birth dates, pet’s name, mother’s maiden name, address, telephone number or consecutive numbers. Memorize all your PINs, and do not write them down anywhere. Finally, shield the PIN pad when you are entering the number in a retail establishment or at an ATM to prevent others from seeing it.
- Secure important documents.Keep all documents with personal or account information under lock and key in your home. Don’t leave them unsecured and accessible to visitors. Always keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work, preferably a locked drawer. Carry only the cards you need.
- Record your credit and bank account information. Make a list of, or photocopy, all of your credit and debit cards, including the account number, expiration date, credit limit and the telephone numbers of customer service and fraud departments. Safeguard these lists; if one of your cards is stolen, you can contact card issuers and banks faster with the right information. Make a similar list for your bank accounts. Do not carry these lists with you. Keep them in a secure location.
- Don’t take that call.Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or online unless you’ve initiated the contact. Identity thieves may pose as representatives of mortgage companies, banks, credit card companies, Internet Service Providers and even government agencies to get you to reveal your personal information. Request a call back telephone number for any telephone contacts requesting information from you. Never use the provided link in an email requesting information. Go directly to the company’s website.
Give the appearance someone is home.
Install electric timers on lights, arrange to have the lawn mowed or driveway shoveled, and have mail held.
Pull the plug. Consider disconnecting computer equipment, televisions, appliances, and other electronics to protect from power surges and save electricity.
Adjust the temperature in your home. There’s no need to pay to cool or heat your home if nobody’s there to enjoy it. In warmer climates, raise the air conditioning temperature. In colder climates, protect pipes from freezing by reducing the temperature no lower than 55 degrees.
IP Insurance- one of the 8 things to consider before a Merger & Acquisition
Intellectual Property (IP) rights play a big part to both buyers and sellers of innovative companies. IP-specific insurance acts as an important risk transfer tool in most Merger & Acquisition (M&A) transactions and can play a major role in transferring the risk from both the seller and the purchaser to an insurance carrier established to accept such risk. A transferable IP-specific insurance policy can eliminate the need to escrow all or a portion of the purchase price to cover IP infringement risks.
Defense Insurance: Mitigates the purchaser’s concern over the target company being sued for infringement after the sale.
Enforcement Insurance: Precludes purchaser’s concern that the target company could have its IP rights “ripped off” by a competitor.
Interestingly, a recent article in Moneycontrol lists reviewing insurance policies, specifically IP insurance, as one of the 8 important aspects of a successful M&A deal
In today’s litigious society, businesses are more likely to be sued by an employee than experience a fire in the workplace. Employers continue to face an increasing number of employment-related claims and financial damages for questionable conduct including discrimination, wrongful termination, retaliation, sexual harassment and breach of employment contract.
About 25 percent of employment matter cases result in a judgment of $500,000 or more. These types of specific employment claims fall outside the general scope of liability insurance policies, leaving companies and employers exposed to a number of financial risks.
Partner with Associated Insurance Center of Sussex and one of its many fine insurers to protect your business against financial damages resulting from wrongful employment-related claims.
Call our office to discuss how we and our markets can help you deal with imminent long-term care, funding or buying insurance or structuring alternatives to protect your accumulated assets.
Contractors are already receiving bid letting dates as 2017 gets underway. Bid dates spur action for contractors and contacting them in the weeks prior to major bid lettings can increase receptiveness and response time regarding bonds.
Contact us for bonding solutions whether your contractors need larger bond lines, have previously been declined for bonding, or are trying to obtain a bond for the first time.
We represent many fine Surety/Bond companies, ranging from conservative to more lenient to the financials of the contractor.
Call or email for more information: 262-246-6868
Site Pollution Liability
An electric transformer company recently spilled hazardous chemicals during operations at a facility site resulting in a settlement. Multiple parties involved in the spill were required to fund and perform a $5.5 million cleanup of the site and neighboring areas.
In 2015, companies paid $7 billion in actions and equipment to clean up contaminated sites and control pollution. Extensive environmental laws and regulations can impact just about any kind of business regardless of size or industry sector.
Pollution cleanups and fines often fall outside the scope of a general liability policy. Associated Insurance Center of Sussex has markets that can provide Site Pollution Coverage for spills, leaks and other exposures that occur on owned or operated sites.
Gaps in Coverage – Cyber Liability
Traditional insurance policies have significant gaps in coverage for digital exposures and are often issued with broad exclusions. What’s a business to do? Cyber Liability coverage is an excellent start.
The Cyber & Privacy Liability experts at Philadelphia Insurance, Travelers and via a general agency we deal with, are adept at designing large-scale cyber products for public entities and regional or national business franchises within a broad spectrum of industries, including professional services (legal, IT), public entities (municipalities, counties), medical (hospitals, private practice), education (school districts, colleges, private schools), hospitality (hotels, restaurants), data process controls, high-traffic websites and blogs, and social networking/dating sites.
Available coverages include Privacy Liability, Professional Liability, Network Security Liability, Media/Website Liability, Notification Expense, Regulatory Proceedings, Brand Protection/PR, Business Interruption, Damage to Systems, Electronic Theft and Cyber Extortion.
Cyber Liability coverage is available in first and third party options. Many policies are modular and can be tailored to fit customers’ needs. Contact Jim Stein to find out more, see how much/little it costs and to get this important coverage.