Monday, December 20, 2010

State of Insurance Address 2011

Just as you always hear the same Christmas Carols every year, this
column seems to always be dedicated every year to the problem of
Homeowners Insurance. Well, here we go again! The General Assembly
of North Carolina passed House Bill 1305 which, in a nut shell, made
the insurance companies that do business in NC responsible for 1
Billion (note the B) of losses on the coast to homes insured by the
North Carolina Beach Plan (in the event of a large hurricane). This
of course, is in addition to the losses they would have to handle and
pay for with their own clients.

Therefore, the state has allowed all companies to raise their rates,
in unprecedented levels, in anticipation of this eventuality. Rates
began going up in the third quarter of 2010, so not everyone has
experienced the shock yet.

Some companies are in better position to handle this than others. You
will be happy to know that our two main companies are probably the two
best, Erie and Auto-Owners. Yes, their rates have gone up but not as
much as the competitors. We are insuring new clients every day so I
know we are still the place to be!

It is becoming more important than ever to try to have your Home and
Auto's insurance with the same company. With the price of Homeowners
what it is, having the Multi-Policy discount can be enough to fill
Santa's Sleigh!

I'm also seeing lot of teaser rates out there for Auto Insurance.
Some of the companies make no bones about not wanting your Home
insurance, but they are scrambling to snap up your Auto insurance. You
have probably seen the companies advertising that they give you a
discount to switch your insurance to them. Well, they are giving you
a discount for sure, but this discount soon disappears in subsequent
renewals. I guess they feel insurance policies are like boiling a frog
-- if you slowly turn up the heat the clients won’t notice! On the
other hand we have clients from those same companies come to us and
experience up to 30% savings. Isn't this kind of like dumping your
old friends in favor of your new friends? The companies we represent
treat all their clients on a consistent basis, I think that is the way
it is supposed to be.

Lastly, advertising. You cannot turn on any electronic device
(besides your electric razor) and not be inundated with ads from
insurance companies. Ever wonder who pays for that? Our conservative
companies choose minimal advertisements in order to best serve their
clients. So, if you’re ever feeling the need for a funny amphibian
neighborly voice to tell you we’re taking care of you… 
give the office a call. We’ll tell you a joke and assure you that
we’ve got your best interests at heart. All at no charge!

Changes at CHA

  Work, work, work! I’m sure all of our clients have been doing the
same in 2010. To help make your life easier when it comes to
Christmas mail, the Cline Hall Agency Christmas Newsletter has gone
digital! We thought you might be like us, all of the junk mail
received in December somehow has a way of obscuring the real stuff.
Since we all rely on e-mail most of the time, we thought you might
enjoy a nice read online – So, sit back with a cup of hot cocoa, your
laptop and enjoy!!
  It’s been a great 12 months at Cline Hall Agency since our last
Christmas chat, we’ve had our trials, our highs and lows,
but over all, we’re going to wrap up the year on a high note. One
positive change to this year was the tall mid-western Yankee we’ve
added to our CHA family: Art Ingraham. Sure he has a bit of an
accent and he lives off of cheese and bratwursts, but he is finding his
way around the Bojangles’ menu just fine, and picking up on the proper
usages of “y'all” and “cut the lights off”. Art is a recent graduate
of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (2008), and he is quickly
picking up southern hospitality in regards to working with our clients.
His impeccable insurance skills have helped make him an asset to our
CHA family, and he has diligently worked to drum up new business while
looking after the clients we’ve got now. So, if you call in and speak
to Art, be sure to put on your most charming southern accent and
welcome him to the beautiful state of North Carolina!
Another change in our family is regarding our beloved Amy Wilson...
  As many of you may have noticed, Amy has been in and
out of the office due to her participation in nursing school. She’s done
exceptionally well academically, and the time has come for her to
focus full-time on her nursing career, though she may still be making guest
appearances in the office. We’ll miss Amy and her southern sassyness
around the office! What a great agent, friend and co-worker she’s
been to us all. We’ll miss you, Amy Wilson – Don’t be a stranger!
If you’ve been keeping track, we’ve add a man and lost a woman. What?
Could it be – the battle of the sexes has flipped. Cline Hall Agency is now:
Cline, Art, Cynthia and .5 of Sarah (via online working). That’s
right, Men: 2 Women: 1.5. Throw out those pink sticky notes and forget
the salads for lunch – you are on man turf now. So if anyone wants to
watch the game, come on over while the men reign in the office. It’s
been a long time of woman domination, but Santa’s finally given Cline
a Christmas Miracle: More men in the office than women. Ho, Ho, Ho!
If your cocoa is still hot, and you’re ready to hear about more
insurance news, you’re only a mouse click away from your Christmas Wishes.

Wish List for Lower Rates

I know when you all sat on Santa’s lap this year, each and every one
of you asked for lower insurance rates! Right? Well, here are some
tips to make sure you qualify for the “Nice List” this year:

1. Better Be Good: No Tickets, accidents, or claims are the biggest
factor concerning your auto insurance. Even if the Patrolman says
"this won't cause your rates to go up", it doesn't mean you will not
lose a discount you might have on your policy now. In fact, some
homeowner’s policies are even charging for claims now.

2. Better Not Pout: Financial Stability has a big bearing on rates
currently; This is loosely based on credit. Companies do a "back door
hit" and attempt to use their crystal ball in determining who will be
a “better risk”. This process isn’t quite the same as qualifying for
a loan, but wise use of your finances will equate to lower rates.

3. Better not Cry: Multi-policy discounts have the potential to be
HUGE! Unless you have some blemishes that would prevent you from
insuring your Auto with your Homeowners carrier, it usually pays big
to do so.

4. I'm telling you why: Higher Deductibles -- especially on
Homeowners. It used to be the standard to have a $250 deductible, but
now it pays to have a $1000 deductible (or higher). With the
increases in Homeowners’ premiums, it is not unusual to save hundreds
of dollars by upping your low deductible.

I love to talk about saving my clients money, so if you want to know
more about these subjects e-mail us or give us a call!

252 756-5200

Friday, December 17, 2010

Tips for Holiday Happiness

 1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately.  Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly.  You can’t find it any other time of the year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories. It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnogaholic or something.  It’s a treat, enjoy it. Have one for me, in fact have two! 

3. If something comes with gravy, use it! That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. While on the subject of mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim pass, why bother? That would be like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission. 

5.  Hot Chocolate and candy canes are non-caloric through December 25th.

                                                                                                                                                                                                   6. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free and lots of it. 

7.  Under no circumstance should you exercise between now and New Year’s.  You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.  This the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

8.  On the subject of desserts, normal stipulations to how many you can have are null and void this time of the year.  Feel free to have one of each, if there is one you don’t like (mincemeat for example) this allows you to then have two of another item. Cookies are considered one item for the total, not each.  Fruitcake is not a normal dessert, make your own decision.

9.  One final tip, if you are able to leave the party or get up from the table with out loosening your pants you have insulted you host and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. Reread this list and get back to eating!