Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. | Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc.
|Snowmelt Protection Tips
As winter ends and temperatures begin to rise (and then sometimes fall again), the accumulating water from melting snow and ice leaves your home susceptible to damage. Protect your home ahead of time to minimize your risk.
Trained contractors can help you in the most crucial areas of your home, including plumbing and heating. If you are unable or unsure of how to remove snow from your roof, fix a leaky pipe, seal windows and doors, or test your water heater, contact a professional to ensure you and your home are safe from harm.
POSTED JANUARY 08, 2019 7:40 PM
|Why Your Car Is More Likely To Be Totaled
Soaring Cost Of Parts Means Your Car Is More Likely To Be Totaled In An Accident
Not only are new vehicles becoming more expensive than ever – when last we looked, the average transaction price was in excess of $36,000 – the cost of parts and repairs following an accident is becoming so prohibitive that what might look repairable to the layperson might be considered a total loss to an insurance adjuster. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for motor vehicle repairs were 61.07% higher in 2017 than they were in 2000.
In particular, sophisticated safety features like forward collision mitigation and blind-spot warning systems that employ multiple sensors and/or cameras embedded in bumpers and fenders are driving up repair costs and, in turn, the number of cars being totaled after crashes.
Airbags and related parts can likewise be prohibitively costly to replace following a collision and could cause a lower-valued car to become totaled even with otherwise minimal body damage. Generally, a car is declared to be “totaled” when the cost of repairs plus its scrap value equals or exceeds its pre-accident value (in some states this status is based on the cost of repairs exceeding a set percentage of the vehicle’s value).
But it’s not just complex high-tech elements that are becoming prohibitively costly to replace. As the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)
reports, the skyrocketing prices of even reasonably essential components is helping fuel an increase in auto thefts. Vehicle thefts rose last year by more than 4%, fueled largely by so-called chop shop rings that dismantle stolen cars and sell their parts to unscrupulous vendors.
As an example, the NICB computed the cost of 15 common replacement components for a few of the models on its most-stolen “Hot Wheels” list – we’re talking low-tech stuff like a headlamp assembly, fender, trunk lid, and alloy wheels, but not major components like the engine or transmission. Part prices were pulled from a database of over 24 million vehicle damage appraisals generated for insurance claims from 2016 and 2017. (Check out the NICB's handy infographic on car-part prices here
Altogether, the 15 essential items cost nearly $11,000 to purchase for a 2016 Toyota Camry midsize sedan, which was the most-stolen new car reported by the NICB for that particular model year. The most expensive part here is a quarter body panel at just over $1,700. And that’s not including the cost of labor, which when added would handily bust the threshold for a total loss on most 2016 Camry trim levels. It would seem to be even easier to total a 2016 Nissan Altima, with a lower residual value and higher replacement costs at over $14,000; here, the NICB says a headlamp assembly costs just over $2,000 each.
Prefer a pickup truck? Those same 15 parts would cost over $21,000 in a full-size GMC Sierra 1500, with a headlamp assembly again being the costliest culprit, at nearly $2,300. Adding labor charges to the sum of these parts would certainly be enough to declare all but the costliest 2016 Sierra models total losses.
"For the professional theft ring, stealing and stripping vehicles for parts has always been a lucrative business," NICB senior vice president and COO Jim Schweitzer says. "On today's cars and trucks, the parts are often worth more than the intact vehicle and may be easier to move and sell. That's why we see so many thefts of key items like wheels and tires and tailgates. There's always a market for them."
POSTED JANUARY 08, 2019 7:18 PM
|Will you be giving that special gift for Valentine's Day?
Will you be giving that special gift for Valentine's Day?
We wanted to remind you that your homeowners policy has some limitations for high valued items.
The personal property coverage provided on a Homeowners, Condominium or Renters Insurance policy contains “Special” coverage amounts ( more like limitations! ) for certain types of property. Some of these items include:
- Money & Precious Metals *($200)
- Securities, Passports, Stamps *($1,500)
- Water Craft & its equipment *($1,500)
- Business Property *($2,500)
Some property is limited for losses caused by theft:
- Jewelry, Watches & Furs *($1,500)
- Firearms *($2,500)
- Silverware & Goldware *($2,500)
* designates the standard policy limitation.
In addition to the basic homeowners policy being limited to the amount of coverage - it also has limitations as to the kind of losses that are covered. Mysterious Disappearance is not covered on your standard homeowners insurance policy. Should your diamond fall off your ring and you can’t find it – your homeowners policy will not provide any coverage.
Personal Articles Floater
To provide the limits and type of coverage needed for your high valued or “Special Items” you’ll need to purchase a Personal Articles Floater. A Personal Articles Floater will provide the desired limit in addition to the most comprehensive form of coverage.
What Limit of Coverage?
After a loss, insurance companies will only reimburse you for what it would cost to replace your ring or diamond. Inflated appraisals don’t do us much good when we insure our jewelry, furs or other valuables for the appraised amount (and pay premiums based on that amount) when the insurance company is only going to pay the cost to replace the item.
I like to insure my jewelry for what I paid. When proof of value is needed in order to add your ring to your policy - you can use your bill of sale.
POSTED JANUARY 08, 2019 1:21 PM
|If you’ve ever wondered why your car insurance rates go up, your answers are here.
You probably don’t smile when you pay your car insurance bills. You might think about how those dollars could send you to Cancun or Punta Cana.
If you’re in a particular mood, you might call or email to find out why your car insurance rates went up. According to Forbes, the consumer price index (CPI) for auto insurance has increased by 21.5% since 2012.
If you wonder what caused such a surge in prices, continue reading to discover why your auto rates increase and how you can keep them lower.
More Cars = More Accidents = Higher Costs
According to Statista, the number of registered vehicles has increased every year since 2010, when there were nearly 250 million registered vehicles in the United States. There were approximately 269 million registered vehicles on the road in 2016, the most recent year with available data.
There are more auto accidents because there are more cars on the road, and auto accidents cost more than ever.
Hospital bills will be much more expensive if a wreck leads to injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of medical services has risen by 12% since 2012.
Vehicle repairs cost more than ever. Vehicle technology continues to evolve with features such as parking assist, lane departure warnings, and backup cameras. This technology gives drivers plenty of convenience, but it comes at a price. Vehicle repairs cost nearly 61% more in 2017 than they did in 2000.
Distracted driving is yet another reason for auto insurance rates increasing. Studies have determined that the human brain is terrible at multitasking, so you put yourself at risk when you drive and text, call, eat, or adjust the audio system.
Organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and National Security Council combat distracted driving with awareness campaigns. Unfortunately, distracted driving led to 3,450 traffic deaths in 2016 and 391,000 injuries in 2015.
Comprehensive auto coverage accounts for several risks, including natural disasters. In 2017, 16 separate natural disasters in the U.S. combined to cause $306.2 billion worth of damage.
In 2013, Hurricane Sandy led to 54,642 auto claims in New Jersey with insurance companies paying out $530 million to auto repair shops.
Recurring extreme weather such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes could lead to higher auto insurance rates for customers in affected regions.
The Number of Uninsured Drivers in Your Area
You’ll want protection if another driver causes an accident but doesn’t have any auto insurance. Your auto rates could increase if you live in an area with a higher concentration of uninsured drivers. According to the Insurance Journal, the percentage of uninsured motorists varies by state with Florida having the highest uninsured rate at 26.7%.
How to Keep Your Rates Lower
Though some factors are out of your hands, you can take the following steps to keep your rates lower:
- Monitor your available discounts such as auto/home bundle and multiple vehicles.
- Give up your lead foot. Drivers get better rates if they don’t have speeding tickets.
- Ask for a higher deductible. Though this can help you lower your rates, it will also increase the amount you’re responsible for paying in the event of a claim.
- Before you buy your next vehicle, see how much it costs to insure it. This is determined by repair costs, likelihood of theft, and safety scores and records.
POSTED JANUARY 08, 2019 6:00 AM
|EMC Insurance: The Basics of Your Experience Modification Factor
Managing and understanding workers’ compensation insurance costs is a difficult task, says EMC Industrial Hygienist Krista Scott. You’ve likely heard the term “experience modification factor” aka “experience mod,” and Krista says that this concept is one key to managing insurance costs.
The experience mod is a numerical representation of your claims history. It can be either above or below the industry average of 1. A number below 1 means you are paying less than your industry’s average for workers’ compensation insurance, while a number greater than 1 means you are paying more.
Your company’s number is calculated based on a variety of factors, with the number of accidents or injuries your workers incur on the job being the most important. At its most basic, an experience mod is calculated using the number of actual claims divided by the number of expected claims, however there is more to it than that. For example, the equation also takes into account the frequency and severity of injuries, the company’s payroll and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes.
The most surprising part of the experience mod is the long shadow that each incident has. You won’t see the impact of an accident or injury immediately because the calculations are based on a three-year rolling average, and the most recently completed policy year is not included in the current year’s calculation. That means there is a delay between the incident and its impact. After that, each incident affects your insurance premiums for three years before it drops off. During this time, the claim amount may be updated to reflect the current amount spent on insurance, meaning that prices based on that long-ago accident can increase during the three years the incident is part of the calculations.
To find out more about experience modification factor, check out The ABCs of Experience Rating from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).
Lowering Your Number:
Because any work-related accident or injury affects your experience mod, it pays to do as much as you possibly can to keep accidents from happening. And beyond that, it’s also important to manage any injuries in the most efficient way possible.
By working with us - we can provide assistance in improving safety and working toward lowering your company’s experience mod: This framework will help prevent injuries when possible (frequency) and control the costs of injuries that do occur (severity).
To Improve Safety:
- Examine your claims and categorize them based on their type (such as slips, trips and falls; strains and sprains; auto accidents; and other categories) and cause (such as physical, human or organizational), then focus your efforts on addressing these root causes (such as a piece of machinery that leaked water onto the floor, causing a slip and fall accident).
- Develop a solid program to investigate accidents and near-misses to help identify why accidents and injuries happen in these areas. Krista suggests reporting all claims, even zero-dollar ones, explaining, “While that may seem odd, zero-dollar claims have no effect on your experience mod, but these incidents become part of your record. That will help you identify trends that may predict an underlying hazard that you can address before someone gets more seriously injured.”
- Give us a call to help improve safety for those performing at-risk tasks. Solutions may include slip, trip and fall assessments, ergonomic surveys or fleet safety training. For a DIY approach, many of the resources and materials you’ll need to improve safety can be found on the EMC Loss Control website. You may also use the SmartMod® app to help you calculate your experience modification factor and estimate the impact of a loss.
- Implement a comprehensive safety program complete with training, with special focus on those trouble areas you have identified. Update the program periodically as you resolve some issues and encounter new problem areas.
- Improve your overall safety culture. Leading by example and encouraging your employees to look out for each other can have rewards beyond just team building. When everyone is checking for potential hazards, you can identify and solve problems before they cause an injury.
The next step is to manage the cost of any injuries that do occur. Doing so can have a positive impact on your experience mod.
To Manage Injuries:
- Develop a strong return to work program to bring workers back to the job while they are recovering. This can be a game changer for improving your experience mod. Workers who are back on the job are earning at least part of their normal paycheck, reducing the amount of indemnity payments made by the insurer as well as the total cost of the claim which is included in your experience mod calculation.
- Offer wellness programs to keep workers healthy and in good shape - fit employees usually heal more quickly than those with health conditions.
- Employ a post-offer, prework screening process to hire employees who can perform the physical demands of the job on the date of hire. After designing an accurate and validated job description with physical demands, work with a physical therapist to design a test. This can help ensure your new hires are physically qualified for the position.
POSTED DECEMBER 06, 2018 6:00 AM
|Travelers Insurance: Two Types of Liability
An important part of understanding your responsibility for products and services is to understand how that responsibility is defined by law. Although various states and countries have differing laws relating to enforcement of legal liability, two legal theories typically apply to product liability: negligence and strict liability of defective products.
Due to the complexity of these legal theories, you should consult with a qualified attorney. The following is only an introduction to these two theories to help familiarize you with the concepts that you may encounter in product liability claims.
In the context of product liability, a claim for negligence focuses on the conduct of the manufacturer or product seller, and the alleged failure to use reasonable care in some aspect when manufacturing or selling the product. For example, an injured consumer may argue that a manufacturer failed to use reasonable care in its inspection or quality controls, or that it failed to employ reasonable care in product and component part testing. An injured consumer may argue that the seller failed to assemble or install the product with reasonable care.
As a defense to a negligence claim, the manufacturer or product seller may argue that the injured consumer failed to use the product with reasonable care. For example, a manufacturer or product seller may argue that the injured consumer failed to read and follow clear instructions. In the event of a lawsuit, the conduct of all parties is typically considered in the context of a negligence claim.
Under the theory of strict liability, the focus shifts from the conduct of the product seller or manufacturer to the product itself, and whether the product is defective, regardless of the degree of care exercised by the manufacturer or product seller. What constitutes a “defective” product under this theory may vary greatly between various states and countries, but generally, it requires a showing that the product presents a substantial likelihood of harm to consumers due to one or more of the following:
- Design defect – a product may be found to be defective when the design does not include a necessary and feasible safety feature.
- Manufacturing defect – a product may be found to be defective when it is not manufactured in compliance with the design.
- Warnings and instructions defect – a product may be found to be defective when its communications (instructions, warnings, manuals, labels) accompanying or affixed to it are inadequate, inappropriate, misleading or confusing.
Understanding the legal theories of liability can help you understand the risks you face. Travelers recommends you look at your entire product life cycle in a holistic manner to better understand your liability exposures and identify opportunities to better protect your business, brand and reputation. We work with businesses of all types and sizes every day, and our experience can help you construct a risk mitigation program that fits the unique needs of your business.
POSTED DECEMBER 04, 2018 6:00 AM
|A Recent Report by Lockton Companies Brings a New Spin on the Work Comp Lag Time Debate.
Reporting lag time is defined as the time between the onset of a work injury and the point at which a claim is filed with the insurer.
Lag time has been a hot topic in the workers’ compensation debate for years. Several scientific studies have found that claims filed later tend to have higher costs. The thinking is that managing a claim earlier allows injured workers to get proper medical care, which results in faster return to work.
But a recent report by Lockton Companies brings a new spin on the lag time debate, arguing that delays are not the cause of high claim costs, but rather a symptom of poor safety and claim practices.
So, how does lag time truly impact claim costs, and what can companies be doing to improve their workers’ comp protocols?
What you need to know
Reporting lag time is defined as the time between the onset of a work injury and the point at which a claim is filed with the insurer. In 2000, The Hartford Insurance Company found the average medical and indemnity costs of their permanent, partial and temporary lost-time claims gradually rose from 18% when reported on the second week to 45% when reported on the fifth week after the day of the injury.
A later study by NCCI published in 2015 verified the findings and added that median costs were lowest when sprains, strains and contusions were reported during Week One, and fractures and lacerations during Week Two (excluding the day of the injury). They also found that claims reported after Week Two tend to involve complex injuries, attorneys and lump-sum payments, and are less likely to be resolved within 18 months.
Lag time mirrors systemic problems
A new report from Lockton Companies published in June 2018 takes a different look at lag time. After analyzing five years of lost-time claims, the new report argues that medical and indemnity costs are not affected by lag time when an injury is reported within the first 12 days. Claims reported after 12 days are more expensive only for soft-tissue injuries or reports delayed by employers.
Lockton also found that most reporting delays lead to higher legal, handling and investigation fees, or allocated loss adjustment expenses (ALAE). Their report, “Report lag: Truths and myths” contends that lag time is a good indicator of claim management practices and suggests that to bring down claim costs, companies need to look closer at the root cause of injuries and implement better safety and post-injury management programs.
The real world
Statistics are useful to explain some parts of reality, but often fail to capture wider issues with deeper impact like culture and communications. A company that values employees will create safety and injury management programs that promote open communications, care coordination and optimal claim handling to facilitate return to work. Feeling valued, injured workers will be engaged in their recovery and they will be less inclined to hire attorneys.
Consider the following examples:
Scenario No. 1: Mr. Jones works for XYZ Corp., a fictitious citrus farming company in Florida. After falling from a ladder, Mr. Jones is told by his supervisor to go home to recover. Since the pain does not go away, Mr. Jones attends the nearest emergency room and an examination reveals a minor ankle sprain that requires over-the-counter medication and three days of rest. As he leaves the clinic, he learns his health insurance will not pay the bill because this was a work accident, and no one from XYZ Corp. is returning his calls. Concerned about his work and medical costs, and angry since no one is communicating, Mr. Jones consults with an attorney who promises a large settlement.
Scenario No. 2: Consider now ABC Corp., a competitor who takes great care in hiring experienced farm workers with good references. Mr. Smith has the same accident and reports to his supervisor, who in turn calls the company’s injury management team. To rule out a severe strain or fracture, Mr. Smith is driven to the nearest clinic and prescribed the same treatment as Mr. Jones. ABC Corp. agrees to cover medical expenses, calls Mr. Smith to learn he will be resting for the next three days and hires a temporary worker until he returns to work on the fourth day.
Finding the root of the problem
Both cases represent soft-tissue injuries reported within 12 days, but XYZ Corp. is more likely to incur litigation expenses due to lack of communication. Industry reports found a correlation between lag time and claim costs under certain conditions, but did not examine the impact of communication and injury management protocols. So, lag time may be a lagging indicator of an underlying problem, without leading us to the underlying factors that drive claim costs in a particular company.
Today’s workforce uses modern technology to seek guidance and simplify communications, but Google does not separate good from bad medical advice and Facebook can’t isolate injured workers from attorneys paying to advertise their services. Employers who care for their workforce must find ways to have a voice and leverage technology to better manage injuries and communicate with injured workers in order to fill the void that exists between the time of the injury and the claim.
POSTED DECEMBER 03, 2018 6:45 PM
|Travelers Insurance: 6 Behavioral Interviewing Tips
An in-person interview can be a critical step in the hiring process and can help a recruiter or hiring manager determine whether a job candidate fits the organizational safety culture and core safety values of your company. Studies have shown that behavioral interviewing1 can be an effective interviewing technique and can help the interviewer understand more about how a candidate might act when faced with a workplace concern or safety issue.
The premise behind behavioral interviewing is that a person’s past behavior can more accurately predict future performance in similar situations. By asking a job candidate how they performed in specific real-life settings, you’ll gain a better idea of how that person may behave if they work at your company. By considering a candidate’s propensity to adopt safe workplace practices, business owners can gain insight into how they will embrace the company’s safety culture.
POSTED DECEMBER 01, 2018 6:00 AM
All of us at Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. wish you a blessed Thanksgiving!
Our offices will be closed on Thursday, November 22nd and Friday, November 23rd.
Should there be an emergency, please call my cellphone at 708.436.2973
- Dan Zeiler
POSTED NOVEMBER 21, 2018 7:19 PM
|Congratulations Liam for winning our 2018 Halloween Costume Contest Benefiting Advocate ...
Congratulations Liam for winning our 6th Annual Halloween Costume Contest Benefiting Advocate Children's Hospital - Oak Lawn! He will receive a $250 donation in his name to Advocate Children's Hospital - Oak Lawn.
Proceeds support Hearts for Hope programs which include bedside magicians, patient parties, family comfort kits, support of reunions for patients and families and much more. Hearts for Hope makes positive impacts on the lives of patients and their families through hands-on volunteering and involvement.
Learn about some of our previous winners and contestants:
We would like to thank all of our contestants and voters for their support and good sportsmanship!
- The Zeiler Insurance Team
POSTED NOVEMBER 05, 2018 5:07 PM