California Homeowners Insurance Availability is reaching a crisis – How you can have Peace of Mind

Posted by Lisa Doherty on Jan 21, 2019 1:00:00 PM

 

2017 and 2018 hold the record for the costliest fire claim losses in the history of the State. Devastating wildfires, mudslides and losses due to water damage from failing pipes in homes.Insurance carriers are starting to take drastic measures and this could affect you significantly. What does this mean?

  • Premiums are on the rise state-wide, especially in high hazard areas.
  • Some insurers are refusing to renew policies for people in fire or mudslide danger areas. An estimated 3.6 million California homes are in what’s called the wildlife urban interface, and of those, over 1 million homes are at high or very high risk of fire.
  • New home policies are increasingly difficult to secure in fire or mudslide danger areas. Parts of the state are being reclassified from safe to high-risk.
  • Many victims discovered they were underinsured.

The good news about rates is that historically the Department of Insurance hasn’t allowed huge rate increases all at once. But you can expect to see rates increasing year after year. This will be the new norm in California Homeowners Insurance. Some insurance companies have also instituted additional rate surcharges for fire danger areas. That can really have an impact on pricing.

 


What can you do?

  • Pay your premium on time and consider setting up EFT or recurring credit card payment. If you miss a payment, insurance companies can elect not to reinstate your policy and you may find it even harder to find replacement coverage.
  • Don’t have a knee-jerk reaction to a marginal rate increase.
  • Speak to your trusted advisor about your property to determine if the hazard zones affect you.
  • Understand your policy and make sure you have sufficient limits to fully rebuild your home in the event of a total loss.
  • Most importantly, engage with an Advisor with experience and many relationships with top insurers who can offer a broad spectrum of the market.

As Californians, we are all in this together and you can have peace of mind with the proper insurance protection.

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Topics: Insurance, Homeowners, wildfires



Changes in Sexual Harassment Laws for 2019

Posted by Kathleen Kozlowski on Jan 17, 2019 2:17:20 PM

The onslaught of new laws on the books regarding sexual harassment is undoubtedly a result of the recent high profile celebrity sexual harassment scandals. The most important things you can do as an employer to protect your employees from sexual harassment and yourself from sexual harassment lawsuits are:

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Topics: Compliance, Liability Insurance, Sexual Harassment



Changes to your X-Mod Calculations for 2019 and a companion checklist

Posted by Candice White on Dec 12, 2018 3:06:51 PM

2019 Changes to your X-MOD Calculations

  1. Your final X-MOD calculation has been simplified to:
    (Actual Primary Losses + Expected Excess Losses) / Expected Losses
  2. The approved 2019 eligibility threshold to qualify for an experience modification is $10,000.
  3. The WCIRB has an online Experience Modification Estimator (download shortcut sheet). This is in the form of an Excel spreadsheet.
  4. To address the under reporting of “first aid” incidents, the first $250 of each loss is excluded from the formula. However you must still enter claims less than $250 even though they will be excluded from the calculation.
  5. Grouping of small claims under $2,001 in a single policy period has been eliminated. This will have a huge impact on past data for 2015, 2016 and 2017. You will need to go back and re-enter the claim data for these years. This might be a lot of work for some of you.

2019 Changes to Injury & Illness Reporting

  1. You must inform each employee how to report a work related injury and make your injury and illness records available to your employees and their representatives.
  2. When an employee, former employee, personal representative, or authorized employee representative asks for copies of your current or stored Cal/OSHA 300 forms or a current or stored annual summary for an establishment the employee or former employee has worked in, you must give the requester a copy of the relevant Cal/OSHA 300 forms and annual summaries by the end of the next business day. Exception: If your establishment is in NAICS Code 5121, you must give the requester the information within seven (7) calendar days.
  3. Leave the names on the Cal/OSHA 300 forms unless the employee independently and voluntarily requests that his or her name not be entered on the log or if there is a privacy concern as outlined in §14300.29 (7)(A-F).
  4. When an authorized employee representative asks for copies of the Cal/OSHA 301 Incident Reports or equivalent forms for an establishment where the agent represents employees under a collective bargaining agreement, you must give copies of those forms to the authorized employee representative within seven (7) calendar days but with the following personally identifying information deleted:
    name; address; date of birth; date of hire; gender; name of physician; location where treatment was provided; whether the employee was treated in an emergency room; and whether the employee was hospitalized overnight as an in-patient.
  5. For both the Cal/OSHA 300 and Cal/OSHA 301 forms, you must keep a separate, confidential list of the case numbers and employee names for your privacy concern cases so you can update the cases and provide the information to the government if asked to do so.

2019 “Takin’ Care of Business” Check List

  • W9s on file for all contractors
  • Any adjustments to the 940/941s filed during the year
  • Make sure the employee list is up-to-date
  • File W2s by January 31, 2018
  • 1099-MISC, 1099-S, 1099-B by February 15, 2019
  • Check payroll rates/payroll reflects the most current unemployment rate;
    pay complies with current OT and minimum wage law.
  • Update any changed policies and procedures
  • Update service account passwords and who has access to them
  • Download all online transactions (PayPal, Square, etc; bank statements, online purchases, utilities)
  • Back-up all 2018 electronic records
  • Check inventory
  • Re-evaluate your assets, liabilities and insurance needs
  • Set Goals for the year
    • What needs improvement?
    • What business activities need to be eliminated?
    • What would you like to achieve?

Final Thoughts

Should you find the Experience Modification Estimator daunting or you just don’t want to take the time to do it yourself, our team will be happy to provide an estimate for you. As part of your business planning for 2019, we can review your insurance coverages to make sure your risks and costs are minimized.

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Topics: Insurance, X-Mod, WCIRB



Gore Lieske & Associates Opens New Utah Office

Posted by Candice White on Nov 2, 2018 1:52:48 PM

We are very pleased to announce that Gore Lieske & Associates Insurance Brokers has opened a new office location in Lehi, Utah!  

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Topics: WGB Team, Annoucements, Affiliates



Employee Spotlight: Mara Denny

Posted by Kevin S. Bogart, CPA, CPCU on Mar 13, 2018 9:25:17 AM

Meet one of our passionate team members, Mara Denny, Customer Service Representative, and why she seems to have a few hot sauce bottles in the employee kitchen and sometimes at her desk. 

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Topics: Employee Spotlight, WGB Team



Liability Insurance: From Accounting Firms to Dog Walkers

Posted by Scott Milne, CPA on Mar 6, 2018 9:31:49 AM
Do You have liability insurance? Do you need it?

If you run a business, no matter if it’s a small or mid-sized company, these are important questions to ask. Failing to have liability insurance when you need it can put your assets - present and future – at risk. At the same time, trying to determine what type of liability insurance you need can be confusing. Let’s take a quick look at what liability insurance is, and what businesses should consider when it comes to coverage.

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Topics: Liability Insurance



5 Reasons to Become an Insurance Broker

Posted by Scott Milne, CPA on Feb 27, 2018 8:52:00 AM

I want to be an insurance broker when I grow up!”

That’s a response you don’t often hear when asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, right? Doctor, astronaut, or superhero perhaps, but not insurance brokers. Most people don’t even know what an insurance broker is until they grow up, and actually need one.  But maybe that all needs to change.

Insurance is a dynamic, essential field, and being a broker can be a rewarding career, too. If you are looking for a great field to work in, here are five reasons to consider becoming an insurance broker.

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Topics: Insurance Broker



The Pet Friendly Office: Is it Right for Your Business?

Posted by Denise Pooler on Feb 20, 2018 9:21:27 AM

Is your office thinking about letting the dogs in, and become pet-friendly? If so, you’re not alone. About seven percent of American businesses let employees bring their pets to work, a considerable increase from even a few years ago. Many employers believe a pet-friendly workplace improves an office; they have noted improved morale and collaboration among employees after establishing a pets-at-work-policy. Several studies have also indicated that pet-friendly office policies help to attract talented millennials, an age group that tends to be pet-oriented.

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Topics: Pets at Work



Changes May be Coming to Association Health Plans

Posted by Hunt C. Turner on Feb 13, 2018 9:25:00 AM

On January 5th, the Department of Labor proposed significant changes that could affect the association health plans that many companies use to cover their employees. If enacted, these proposals could dramatically shape the way businesses pay for and provide health care coverage. They should provide more flexibility for businesses, especially small businesses, and the self-employed, to get the healthcare coverage they need. However, there are concerns that these changes could be detrimental to existing health care plans that currently cover many consumers. Let’s take a look at the most substantial changes that have been proposed, and how they may affect your business.  

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Topics: Health Insurance, Benefits, Association Health Plans



Learn a Little about our EVP, Private Client Producer - Lupe Erwin

Posted by Denise Pooler on Feb 6, 2018 9:25:00 AM

This month's employee spotlight is Lupe Erwin, from our personal lines group. We think she could be a finalist for having one of the most unusual jobs while in school. Read more about Lupe and the unusual job.

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Topics: Employee Spotlight, WGB Team



Wood Gutmann & Bogart Insurance Brokers is California's premier, full-service regional insurance brokerage. We provide a complete range of commercial, personal and employee benefits insurance products and services. We are proud to be ranked among the Top 100 Independent Insurance Agencies by Insurance Journal and one of the Best Places to Work by the Orange County Business Journal.

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