Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. | Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc.
|Insurance Options for Green Businesses
Across the country, businesses are choosing to go green. In addition to helping the planet, environmentally friendly practices and facilities can enhance the reputation of a business and lower its energy and water costs. Businesses are also encouraged to go green by government tax credits and other incentives.
While environmentally friendly buildings and equipment can provide numerous benefits to businesses, they also add costs and risks. Insurers have responded by offering policy options to protect a business’s investment in going green.
Green endorsements for commercial property insurance:
Traditional commercial property insurance covers replacement or repair of damaged property, using similar materials to the original construction, or basing repayment on the value of the original equipment or building. But what if you want to go green when repairing or replacing insured property or equipment? Most standard policies will not account for this scenario, unless the policy has wording that specifically recognizes and covers the increased cost of green materials. However, several insurers offer green endorsements, add-on components - to commercial property policies. These green endorsements include coverage for:
- Green Materials and Equipment - A green endorsement on your commercial property insurance will cover the higher cost of environmentally certified materials and equipment - even if your original property and equipment were not green certified. Some policies will also specifically enable you to elevate your building to green certification when you rebuild.
- Green Construction and Related Costs - Covers costs for green design and engineering, recycling, certification fees and other costs.
For instance, green rebuilding can take longer than traditional construction, so you may want to consider extending the time frame of your business interruption coverage. You may also need to upgrade your commercial property insurance if you add new environmental features to your building or operations, such as installing a vegetative roof to your building.
Green insurance continues to change:
Building green means a smaller carbon footprint and higher energy efficiency, but an added benefit is improved safety and resilience to withstand windstorms and other weather-related events.
While green endorsements on a commercial policy may cost more, having a green building in conjunction with improved building codes (which enforces impact-resistant windows, hurricane shutters, reinforced doors and roof straps) could ultimately protect your property from being badly damaged or destroyed in a future weather-related disaster.
Your business may also be able to save on insurance as a result of other green initiatives. For instance, some auto insurers have begun to offer personal auto insurance discounts for hybrid and electric cars. Similar discounts may be available for your commercial vehicle policy.
Because green insurance options continue to evolve, give us a call about green coverage and potential savings during your annual insurance review.
POSTED JUNE 13, 2019 5:00 AM
|Background on: Gun Liability
The idea that insurance can help prevent deaths from firearms often rises to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness following mass shootings.
Advocates of the idea believe that if gun owners were required to purchase insurance, the cost of the insurance would provide them an incentive to own fewer firearms and/or more carefully store the firearms they own. However, no U.S. insurance company offers separate, stand-alone gun liability coverage. In considering whether insurance is an appropriate mechanism to prevent mass shootings, it is important to note that no insurer – primary or excess – provides liability coverage for illegal acts. Looking ahead, there is very little likelihood that insurers would develop such coverage.
Excess personal liability coverage for firearms owners is available, though typically only through membership in a firearms association.
Acts that are intended or expected to cause harm are also generally excluded, though some policies will provide coverage in cases for which bodily injury or property damage results from the use of “reasonable force” by an insured to protect persons or property. “Self-defense” coverage for firearms owners is available, though rarely found.
Mass shootings often reopen national debates about gun liability and gun control. There is no universally recognized definition for mass shootings in the United States. The FBI uses a broad definition that includes shootings where an individual kills people in a confined and populated area. This includes domestic incidents but excludes gang and drug violence and is not limited by number of victims. The FBI’s list of fatalities does not include perpetrators, who often commit suicide at the end of their spree. Using this description, the FBI says there were 220 active shooter incidents from 2000 to 2016. Another classification includes four or more people shot or killed, including the perpetrator, and is commonly used by the press. USA Today reported that from 2006 to 2017 there were 361 mass shootings.
The Pulse Nightclub shooting on June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, a terrorist attack/hate crime, took 49 lives (excluding the perpetrator) and wounded 58 people and was the deadliest terror attack in the United States since the September 11, 2001 attacks. The December 14, 2012 shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was the deadliest mass shooting at a school in the United States. Twenty children between the ages of 6 and 7 and six staff members were killed in the shooting. Also killed were the perpetrator’s mother at her home, and the perpetrator by suicide.
According to Wikipedia, the Las Vegas concert shooting in 217 was the deadliest mass shooting in contemporary U.S. history (1950 to February 2018). There were 58 fatalities, not including the perpetrator. The top 10 deadliest shootings are shown below:
Top 10 Deadliest Mass Shootings, United States, 1950-2018
Las Vegas shooting
Orlando nightclub shooting
Virginia Tech shooting
Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
Sutherland Springs church shooting
Luby's Cafeteria shooting
San Ysidro McDonald's shooting
University of Texas tower shooting
Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
San Bernardino shooting
(1) Includes perpetrators.
The Columbine High School shooting of 1999 resulted in 13 deaths (not including the two perpetrators) and would rank number 11 in the chart above.
Odds Of Death In The United States By Selected Cause Of Injury, 2017 (1)
Cause of death
Accidental poisoning by and exposure to
Opioids (including both legal and illegal)
All motor vehicle accidents
Assault by firearm
Exposure to smoke, fire and flames
Fall on and from stairs and steps
Drowning and submersion while in or
falling into swimming pool
Fall on and from ladder or scaffolding
Air and space transport accidents
Firearms discharge (accidental)
Cataclysmic storm (3)
Earthquake and other earth movements
Bitten or struck by dog
(1) Based on fatalities and life expectancy in 2017. Ranked by deaths in 2017.
(2) Includes all types of medications including narcotics and hallucinogens, alcohol and gases.
(3) Includes hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, dust storms and other cataclysmic storms.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics; National Safety Council.
View Archived Tables
Deaths In The United States By Firearm, 2015 And 2016
Percent of total
Deaths caused by firearms
Accidental discharge of firearms
Suicide by firearm
Assault (homicide) by firearm
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Vital Statistics Report, sourced by the National Safety Council.
View Archived Tables
The regulatory environment
State: In 2013, a handful of states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New York) introduced legislation that would mandate the purchase of gun liability insurance after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. These laws were designed to assure that gun owners had liability insurance. None was enacted.
Federal: In 2013 and 2017, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) introduced the Firearms Risk Protection Act. The 2017 legislation, introduced in March 2017 and referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and investigations in April 2017, would amend the federal criminal code to prohibit a firearm purchase by or sale to a person who is not covered by a qualified liability insurance policy. Additionally, it would require the owner of a newly purchased firearm to be covered by a qualified liability insurance policy. A qualified liability insurance policy would cover the purchaser specifically for losses resulting from use of the firearm. The law would not apply to a firearm purchase or sale for the use of a federal, state, or local government. The bill also included a fine for violators. To date, the federal government and states have not enacted laws mandating gun liability.
The current state of gun liability
Personal insurance: Insurers rarely offer any separate gun liability insurance policy. Most individuals have some property and liability coverage for firearms in their standard homeowners’ policy. Additional liability coverage is available through a personal umbrella policy. A few policies cover losses from accidental shootings in excess of the homeowners’ coverage.
When there is liability insurance, it only covers accidental shootings and in some cases, acts of self-defense. There is no coverage for criminal or other intentional shootings.
Although every insurance company adopts its own policy, many companies use standard homeowners and personal umbrella policies written by Insurance Services Office (ISO). The standard homeowners policy is known as an HO-3. That policy specifically mentions firearms once, as property that is covered if stolen. Firearms are not mentioned in the liability section of the policy, implying that firearm liability would be covered. A homeowners’ policy covers all liabilities that are not specifically excluded.
Not all accidents are covered, per the terms of the policy. For example, if a relative living at the same home were accidentally shot, the accident would not appear to be covered.
The policy explicitly says it will not cover “expected or intended injury.” The policy is designed to cover accidents, not intentional, criminal actions, such as a homicide or an attempted homicide. A mass shooting would not appear to be covered. A critical point is that covering an intentional, illegal act like armed assault would violate standard underwriting principles.
Although acts that are intended or expected to cause harm are generally excluded, some policies restore coverage in cases where bodily injury or property damage results from the use of “reasonable force” by an insured to protect persons or property.
The personal umbrella liability policy, a close cousin of homeowners’ liability insurance, handles liability in much the same way as the homeowners policy. The policy covers liability above the limit of the homeowners’ policy, extending up to its own limit of liability, often $1 million. For example, if an insured is liable for a $1 million loss, the homeowners’ policy would pay its limit, say $100,000, and the personal umbrella policy would pay the remaining $900,000.
Group personal insurance: Personal firearms liability insurance was available from some organizations to cover acts of self-defense. It included personal protection plans with individual benefits administered by a national broker and underwritten by insurers. Membership in the sponsoring organization was mandatory. These policies had offered protection against civil liability, the cost to defend against civil and criminal legal actions and immediate access to attorney referrals. They also included supplementary payments as needed for bail, criminal defense legal retainer fees, and lawful firearm replacement, among other benefits. However, in 2018, the major broker of these policies, along with insurers, were compelled to pay settlement charges brought by the New York State Department of Financial Services, which stated that the gunowners liability programs violated state law. As a result, the broker and most insurers have stopped administering the programs.
Commercial insurance: Active shooter events occur in confined or populated areas where the perpetrators intend to kill many people. A number of coverages can be triggered by active shooting incidents, including general liability, business interruption and property insurance. Workers comp insurance is implicated in shootings in the workplace while commercial general liability insurance coverage might also be implicated in shooting in a shopping center or a movie theatre.
POSTED JUNE 13, 2019 5:00 AM
|We are free because of the brave.
Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. wishes you and your family a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend! Our offices will be closed on Monday, May 27th, 2019 in observance of those who have lost their lives serving our country.
Dan can be reached on his cell in the event of an emergency at 708.436.2973
You will also find 24/7 phone numbers for claims and billing for our companies on our website: www.zeiler.com
For more on this holiday, Click Here.
POSTED MAY 21, 2019 5:00 AM
|2nd Annual Cruise for a Cause - Benefitting Sertoma Centre, Inc.
Be a part of the 2nd Annual Cruise for a Cause - Chicago's largest fundraiser on the water. Hosted by our very own Mitchell Zeiler, the event will benefit Sertoma Centre, Inc. This organization works with individuals who have intellectual disabilities throughout the Chicagoland area. Mitchell has volunteered his time with Sertoma for the past three years on their Associate Board.
Because of the success of last year's event - this year the cruise will be hosted aboard the Odyssey II and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Andrew Weishar Foundation and The Tom Hopkins Memorial Foundation.
Cruise the Chicago skyline for a cause! The cruise will feature a grand finale firework show over Navy Pier with live entertainment and premium cocktails are included.
To purchase tickets or for sponsorship opportunities, Click Here.
Any questions? Contact Mitchell Zeiler at 708.408.5779 or email@example.com
POSTED MAY 17, 2019 2:32 PM
|Is your home as efficient as it could be?
Drafty windows. Leaky faucets. Dirty air filters.
All are common issues in homes across the country, and they're not just annoying - they also cost you money in decreased energy efficiency and higher bills.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star program estimates that homeowners can save 5% to 30% on annual energy costs by incorporating technologies to make their homes operate more efficiently. Think that's not a big deal? Based on typical energy costs, it could mean savings ranging from $105 to $627, according to Energy Star.
See how your home stacks up:
Energy Star also offers a Home Energy Yardstick that allows you to compare your home's efficiency to similar homes across the country and get advice on how to improve. It takes just five minutes. Learn more here.
That sounds pretty good to us. And even if you’re not the handiest person when it comes to home maintenance, checking your energy efficiency is something you can easily do yourself. (Although if you want to get the biggest bang for your buck, Energy Star recommends a professional home-energy audit.)
Just follow the tips below - you'll see where your home loses energy, how efficient your heating and cooling systems are, and ways you can decrease your electricity use.
First, just for reference, here's how the average energy bill breaks down:
- Heating: 29%
- Electronics: 21%
- Water heating: 13%
- Cooling: 13%
- Appliances: 12%
- Light: 12%
Where's the air?
Air commonly leaks from homes through gaps around baseboards, electrical outlets and windows or doors - if you feel like you're running the heat all the time to no avail, that warm air might be escaping. Stopping these drafts can save up to 30 percent of your yearly energy costs (it will keep the cool air inside during the summer, too). Be sure to check your home's exterior as well, paying particular attention to areas where two different building materials meet. When you find leaks, seal them with caulk or weather stripping.
Don't wait to insulate
Check to see if you have enough insulation in your ceiling and walls. The attic door or hatch should be insulated and close tightly. For walls, make a small hole in a closet or other inconspicuous place and probe into the wall with a screwdriver - if the area isn't completely filled with insulation, you're probably losing heat in the winter and cool air in the summer.
Check your furnace and AC systems
Heating and cooling systems that work correctly and efficiently can save you frustration as well as money. Make sure ducts and pipes are insulated properly, and have your equipment checked and cleaned by a professional each year. Filters for forced-air furnaces should be replaced as soon as they are dirty, or every 30 to 60 days.
Let there be (efficient) light
More than half of the light sockets in the U.S. still contain an inefficient bulb, according to Energy Star - and the average home has about 70 sockets! LED bulbs use 90% energy versus regular bulbs, and they last a lot longer, too. Many will still be going after 20 years.
Anyone can take steps to save energy - whether you're a hardcore do-it-yourselfer or someone simply tired of sending a big check to the power company every month. Just don't forget what might be the most important thing of all after you finish your audit and make your home more efficient: Deciding how to spend the money you’ll save!
POSTED MAY 14, 2019 2:40 PM
|Safeco Insurance: Do I need to tell my insurance company if my dog bites someone?
You probably don’t think your dog would ever bite someone, let alone cause a serious injury, but dog bites are more common than you might realize. 4.5 million occur every year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and most victims are young children.
Keep in mind that it’s not just bites that cause injuries. Dogs can knock down pedestrians or cyclists, too, which often leads to severe medical issues as well.
Those injuries also have a bigger impact on homeowners insurance than you might realize: The Insurance Information Institute says dog-related claims accounted for more than $600 million in insurance payments in 2016.
With those numbers in mind, it’s understandable that insurance companies want to know if you’ve got a dog in your household. Some will even refuse to insure you if you have a specific breed with a reputation for aggressive behavior, regardless of whether your dog has ever bitten someone.
Despite that, you should never hide the fact that you have a dog from your insurance company. If you do, and your dog then causes an injury, your coverage could be invalidated - leaving you on the hook for potentially tens of thousands of dollars or more.
When a bite happens:
OK, so your insurance company knows about your dog, but do you have to tell them if the dog bites or injures somebody? That depends. If it’s a minor incident, you might consider paying out of pocket for any medical expenses in an attempt to avoid the claims process and a potential increase in your premiums. In some instances, insurance companies will not renew your policy or will exclude your dog from coverage after paying for a dog-related claim.
However, this might violate your policy, which probably requires you to report changes in your circumstances. If you don’t report a bite, and the dog then bites someone else later, the insurance company might deny you liability coverage for the second incident. Give us a call to outline your options.
Another risk is the threat of future claims from the victim. Injuries aren’t always immediately apparent, and complications can arise later. The victim might decide down the road to sue you. And if you’ve waited too long to report the incident to your insurance company, it might be too late to make a claim and receive all the protection your policy was meant to provide - which can include help with attorney fees, medical bills, and more.
A $33,000 mistake?
How would your budget look if you had an unexpected $33,000 expense? The average claim payment for a dog injury in 2016 was about that amount, and that’s with an insurance company working on behalf of the insured. If you’re on your own, you could wind up paying even more.
Our advice? Start with us and discuss your specific situation. Even if you decide not to file a claim - which is always an option - you’ll get guidance from a professional who can help you assess the risk.
POSTED MAY 14, 2019 5:00 AM
|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