Friday, November 26, 2010

The Insure Blur - Episode #1

Although many direct writers of insurance (as opposed to independent insurance brokers) would like you to think that insurance is a simple thing to understand and anyone can understand it by themselves ("You pump your own gas, bag your own groceries….. why not buy your own insurance"….. Last time I checked, choosing the wrong gasoline or improperly bagging your groceries, didn’t put you at risk of not being covered in the event of a disaster, and losing hundreds to millions of dollars), it is not simple.  There are many facts that I discover consumers are not aware of until it is too late.

Many things that are second nature to those who are employed in the insurance industry, regular every day people (as opposed to us insurance broker superheroes!) do not know (or do not remember) when they need to. Although I am sure this blog has millions of readers ;->, I am not certain this will solve the problem ….. but it can’t hurt.

So starts a series in my blog called The Insure Blur, where I try to explain a few things that clients might not be aware of.

Your Credit Rating can Cost You More on Your Insurance Bill!

A Bad Credit rating can cost you money when it comes time to place your insurance. What does credit have to do with insurance? I don’t intend to comment on whether I agree or disagree with this practice (also referred to as “credit scoring”) , but it is a fact that many (not all) insurance companies take in to account your credit rating when they are determining the price for some of your insurance.


Many believe that there is evidence that co-relates a person’s worse credit rating with higher risk behaviour from an insurance perspective. That does not mean that they believe every person who has bad credit takes risk, but they claim that the statistics they have prove that as a group, these people tend to have more insurance claims, and therefore should pay more for insurance. The topic is much more complicated than that, but that is the “Coles Notes” version.

Right now there is legislation in place that disallows credit information to be used in the pricing of car insurance, but it is allowed in property insurance (house, renters, etc.). This may change shortly as the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) is lobbying the government and there currently is a new Ontario private member’s bill to ban the use of credit in all personal insurance products. That being said, right now, your credit history can affect the amount you pay for your property insurance. Did you know that? … or was it a part of the Insure Blur?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Did the Earth Move for You Baby?!?!?

Well, unfortunately, the tag line on this blog is not what you think.

We felt an earthquake yesterday that rattled building from Sudbury to Quebec City, and as far south as New York City. The Epicentre was about 55 kilometres north of Ottawa. I have not heard of any major damage or injury in this area (although I have heard rumours of minor damage, as well as some more serious damage in Quebec).

I am not trying to be exploitive (I heard that “I survived the 2010 Earthquake” t-shirts were on sale online before the day was done!), but feel obligated to advise that I have been trying to get the word out for a long time, that earthquake is not covered under your standard home insurance policy. Most people weren’t listening or weren’t interested in buying this coverage because they felt it would never happen here. People are listening now, when I point out that there is a fault line in Ottawa and serious earthquakes can occur. If clients choose not to purchase this coverage, that is their choice, but I need to do my best to make sure that they are aware that it is not covered under a standard policy, but that the coverage can be added on to that policy.

We buy insurance to protect us in case of disaster, and an earthquake is one of a few potential disasters that the vast majority of people don’t have insurance protection for. Below are links to a few sources of information about Earthquake and the risks in and around this area.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Please, Don’t Read This Article!

Whatever you do, please don’t read this article. I have been in the insurance industry for 14 years and this is one of the first articles I have seen that actually spins an insurance article in a positive light. This may shred your reality, that all insurance brokers are one eyed, sharp-toothed Ogres, that find ways to take your money and deny coverage by day and steal children by night.

This article may even hint that insurance brokers are service minded, community partners, your neighbours, your friends, and people who try to help their clients (I warned you that this could shred your reality!). Insane quotes like …

"The insurance was a huge blessing," says the Citizen society columnist. "It meant the difference between a family losing everything and being able to rebuild."

… gave this away as a ploy by the nasty insurance companies to hide their crimes!
The temptation might be too much for some of you, so here is the link: ….

Ottawa Citizen Article – DO NOT READ! ...

but whatever you do, don’t read the full article. After making ludicrous comments about how insurance actually helps people, it continues on to show you how to save money, protect yourself from loss, and understand your insurance coverage. Reading this, and worse yet, believing it, could cause the world as we know it to implode.

I would love to tell you more, but I just saw a child go by with some candy that I have to go steal, and kick a puppy or two on my way!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Please come a Callin’ before the ground starts a Rockin’!

Many people aren’t aware of one of the biggest risks to their assets, which is not covered under most home insurance policies. Earthquake is not covered under home insurance policies, but that coverage is available as add-on coverage.

Did you know that the Ottawa Valley is part of the Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben, a rift valley formed about 175 years ago when a huge block of land fell hundreds of meters between the Petawawa Fault and the Mattawa Fault?

Did you know that the faults are still active and occasionally release stress in the form of earthquakes?

So the risk is definitely there! If clients have considered the risk and decided not to purchase Earthquake insurance, and thereby have chosen to take on that risk themselves, then they are making an educated decision, but here are my concerns:
• Someone might think that they are covered in the event of an earthquake (which they ARE NOT unless they have specifically added earthquake insurance to their coverage) or
• Someone hasn’t even considered it, or
• Someone is not even aware that the coverage is available, or
• Someone thinks it is too expensive, without considering it.

Make the call before the ground starts shakin’ so you can make an educated decision.

For more information, take a look at recent press on Earthquakes in the Ottawa area, on the Ottawa Citizen: