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Monday, 26 September 2016
I wanted to get this to you as soon as possible. This is a major announcement regarding healthcare insurance here in Tennessee. The #1 and largest provider of healthcare insurance in Tennessee is pulling out of the major metro markets including Nashville on the Obamacare exchange. This article below from The Tennessean - released late this morning gives details.
BCBST to pull out of Obamacare exchange in Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis - Read The Full Article
What This Means For Us...
Unfortunately, this will affect how we offer healthcare coverage in this agency because Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee was one of our primary healthcare providers. Up until today, I have put my emphasis toward their good product(s) because one would think the largest provider would have success in this awkward national healthcare environment. They couldn't and now we all will be forced to the healthcare.gov site to find decreasing amounts of providers that are still participating in the national healthcare system. We will continue to find best avenues to share with our customers as it pertains to sustainable healthcare insurance.
The premise of having everyone covered for healthcare is a good one. But no one has considered how the insurance companies that will provide the coverage can pay for it. And since many companies are dropping out as a result, those that remain will undoubtedly be forced to increase their premiums by incredible percentages in order to continue to participate in all of this. The story isn't over and we'll do out best to keep you informed as the progress or lack thereof develops.
As we celebrate 38 years in this business this Saturday - October 1, we're here if there is anything you need from us. Certainly, our other markets are very stable in the auto, home, commercial, life and other personal lines of insurance. If you need us for anything, we're ready to earn your good business. THANKS for the opportunity to do just that! EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212. Stay tuned for more regarding this healthcare market as we learn more!
Posted on 09/26/2016 3:10 PM by Benton White
Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Tuesday, 23 August 2016
Tennessee's insurance regulator approved hefty rate increases for the three carriers on the Obamacare exchange in an attempt to stabilize the already-limited number of insurers in the state.
The rate approvals, while a tough decision, were necessary to ensure that consumers around the state had options when open enrollment begins in November, said Julie Mix McPeak, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is the only insurer to sell statewide and there was the possibility that Cigna and Humana would reduce their footprints or leave the market altogether.
"I would characterize the exchange market in Tennessee as very near collapse ... and that all of our efforts are really focused on making sure we have as many writers in the areas as possible, knowing that might be one. I'm doing everything I can to prevent a situation where that turns to zero," McPeak said to The Tennessean.
Cigna and Humana both refiled their requests earlier this month after telling the TDCI that the first requests were likely too low.
McPeak said insurers asked for the opportunity to refile rates last year but she said no. This year, however, was different because many of areas of the state will only have one or two choices.
"I felt like I didn't have any choice but to allow them to refile their rates," said McPeak, who is concerned about the limited number of insurers..
Cigna asked for and received an average 46.3 percent increase.
Humana asked for and received an average 44.3 percent increase.
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, which did not refile its request, asked for and received a 62 percent increase.
The increases underscore the complex environment of the exchange. People who buy plans on the exchange are heavier users of services than anticipated. In addition, there are changes to federal transitional programs in 2017 that will impact insurers financially.
We're keeping an eye on it here at the agency and are fielding calls trying to help our folks navigate through these challenging times in healthcare. If we can help you, please let us know. EMAIL our staff at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212. We're always ready to help you and earn your business!
Posted on 08/23/2016 9:18 AM by Benton White
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
Posted on 08/17/2016 2:18 PM by Benton White
Thursday, 11 August 2016
Throughout my career, many have asked why I don't represent just one company like State Farm, Farmers, GEICO and others. "Why are you independent?" It's always an easy answer consisting of many reasons. The best way to show it is in this new video! Enjoy!
Posted on 08/11/2016 10:27 AM by Benton White
Wednesday, 03 August 2016
Red cars and speeding tickets
Common traffic violations
Posted on 08/03/2016 4:06 PM by Benton White
Wednesday, 20 July 2016
It takes 2 extra minutes ... pull out your phone or camera and take 4 angles of your rental vehicle before you drive it off the lot. Then, do the same thing again when you check the car in. That gives you a TIME-STAMPED visual record of the condition of your rental car before and after you drive it. Here is why this is important!
We have had two of our customers have claims on their auto insurance in the last couple of weeks because of damage to a vehicle they rented. One of the customers didn't even have the privilege of filing it himself - the rental car company filed it quickly direct to our insured's company!!!! I personally have had a claim issue with a rental car company several years back. I turned the vehicle in one early morning before catching a flight. The rental company wasn't opened yet. So I did as they instructed, I left the vehicle in a certain place that was supposedly secure. About 4 weeks later, I get a notice that I was being charged for damage on that vehicle that never occurred under my watch. The car was spotless! So in the end, it was my word ("I didn't damage that vehicle!" against theirs ..."This car had damage on it when you turned it in!") I had to file the claim with my credit card insurance coverage that covered the physical damage on that vehicle as a benefit of my card. I was glad they could take care of it and keep me from having to pay out of pocket. I later learned, much to my own disappointment, the credit card insurance paid some or all of that claim. Unfair in my book!
Christopher Elliott is a travel editor with USA Today. He basically lives on the road and gives great advice about travel issues. Earlier this month, he wrote a thorough article about car rentals. Here is what he wrote and I so agree with him:
"Eric Eatman didn't do it. He's sure of that.
When he rented a car in Atlantic City recently, he noticed several scrapes on the side of his vehicle, which he brought to the attention of an employee.
"The agent assured me that as long as the scratches were smaller than a dollar bill it didn't matter," says Eatman, a notary public from Brandon, Fla.
But after he returned the car to Enterprise, a representative claimed he damaged the vehicle, and the company eventually sent him a $3,096 bill, including a $289 bill for "loss of use."
"I was certain that I did not cause the damage," he says.
Taking responsibility is never easy. But when they're away, travelers often think they can get away with anything. Travel companies, particularly car rental companies, are understandably suspicious of their customers who balk at paying their bills. Maybe it's time for a little detente.
How badly is the relationship frayed? Let's put it this way: If something breaks in your rental car, you're guilty until proven innocent. But with good reason. Too often, motorists invoke the "wear and tear" excuse when they've trashed a rental. Owning up to our actions may be the first step toward bridging this chasm of distrust.
When James Pillow returned his car to Alamo recently, he watched another renter back his car into a concrete pole. "Nobody else saw it happen," says Pillow, who works for a sports memorabilia site in Orlando. He could see the driver hesitating - should he say something or pretend it never happened? After a moment, the customer walked over to an attendant and confessed.
"It was very noble," he says. "Especially given the damage."
It helps to take responsibility when things go wrong. When Vicki Winters, a social media manager who lives in New York, visited Spain this summer, she found a parking ticket on her rental. Initially, she and her husband decided not to tell their car rental company, and they might have gotten away with it. Tracking down a customer who lives more than 3,000 miles away - never mind matching a ticket to the right driver - is a challenge for even the best car rental company.
"We waffled some more," she says. "Then we decided to come clean and show them the ticket."
To her surprise, an employee told her she was off the hook.
"Honesty was the best policy," says Winters.
But it's equally important to take a stand when you didn't do it. I reviewed the correspondence between Eatman and Enterprise and saw a string of vehement denials by Eatman. What's more, Enterprise couldn't prove the dent had happened on his watch. From all appearances, he'd tried to warn the company about the pre-existing damage, and an employee had dismissed him.
I contacted Enterprise on his behalf and it agreed to review his claim.
"Sometimes, as you know, we may miss something, but we never hesitate to make things right for our customers," Enterprise spokeswoman Laura Bryant said. "As a result, this claim has been dropped. Thank you for bringing this to our attention."
Responsibility is a two-way street. On the one side, you have car rental companies that usually assume you're responsible for damage if you're the last person who rented the car. That's not always fair. On the other side, you have motorists who might walk away from real damage and traffic tickets, actions that don't exactly help the fragile relationship between drivers and car rental companies.
Is there a way to meet in the middle - for car rental companies to stop assuming we're guilty of destroying their vehicles and for us to own up to our violations? Changing corporate policy may not be practical, but the next time you pick up the keys to your rental car, you can make a promise to yourself: I'll treat this like it's my own car."
How to avoid a frivolous car rental damage claim
Hopefully, this information will help you as we move into the vacation season when many rent cars these days. As you can see, I'm a big believer of rental car picture taking. It's hard to question a time-stamped photo of a vehicle if you are ever accused of damaging a rental vehicle.
If we can help you with anything insurance, we're here and ready. Contact us at info@BentonWhite.com or call 615.377.1212. Any of our staff is ready to assist! Thanks for reading and be ready to pull out that camera the next time you rent a car!
Posted on 07/20/2016 10:56 AM by Benton White
Wednesday, 13 July 2016
An personal umbrella insurance policy is a liability policy that covers you and your family members over and above your primary insurance policies, including the policies you hold for your automobiles, home, rental properties, and even boats or campers.
Many of my clients believe that only millionaires need this coverage. Unfortunately, this is a gross misconception. Many people can benefit from umbrella policies.
If you are sued and then found liable, and if you do not have enough liability on your primary policies to cover the judgment against you, any assets or property that you own will be put towards the settlement-unless you have an umbrella policy.
Frequently, when I give this simple explanation, I am told, "I do not own anything nor do I have any money in the bank for anyone to take."
Here are the questions I then ask:
This means a lien can be put on your salary, disability benefits, 401(k), or any future salary you may earn, or you may be forced to sell any or all of your property or your spouse's property to pay for the judgment against you.
Additionally, many people forget about legal fees. Sometimes the attorney and investigation fees are more than the final judgment awarded. These fees can exhaust the primary liability limits on your policy very quickly.
The above facts gives very good examples of reasons why we should discuss purchasing an umbrella policy. Here are some example that could make it even more clear:
Bear in mind that not every umbrella policy is the same. Does your umbrella policy cover legal fees inside the limit on the policy or outside? Do you sit on a board of directors? Do you own a personal watercraft or ATV? Unless you have underlying coverage, your answers to these questions may mean that your umbrella policy excludes coverage.
Call us today at Benton White Insurance. We're writing more and more personal liability umbrellas these days and the pricing is some of the least expensive we offer. Our average umbrella quote is approximately $200 per year for $1 Million of coverage. We can offer more information on this very important coverage so you can protect the assets and property you have worked so hard to earn and grow. Call any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com. We're ready to earn your business and protect yours!
Posted on 07/13/2016 11:56 AM by Benton White
Friday, 08 July 2016
It's no secret: Adding a teenage driver to an auto policy can be risky.
Teen drivers are often inexperienced, nervous and wreckless. In fact, according to the Arlington, Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 is almost three times higher than all other age groups.
Not surprisingly, adding a teen driver often causes a dramatic spike in annual auto policy premiums â€• so much so that they can even double in some areas. According to some sources, on average U.S. families who add a young driver to their auto insurance policy will see an annual premium increase of 79%.
For the fourth year in a row, Quadrant Information Services conducted a survey to examine the economic effect of adding a driver between the ages of 16 and 19 to a family's car insurance policy. According to the study, this year's average premium increase is down from last year's average of 80%, and is even lower than 2013, when the average increase was as high as 84%.
These gradual decreases speak to a larger trend in teen driver safety and fewer teens being behind the wheel. According to a study from the University of Michigan, 69% of 17-year-old Americans had a license 30 years ago. Today it's 45%.
It was not surprising for us to see that TENNESSEE is one of the Top 10 most expensive states where adding a teen driver to an auto policy is the most costly. This is the first year Tennessee has made the survey and dropped into the #10 spot. According to this survey, a parent adding a teen to their auto policy could face a 92.21% average auto insurance premium increase. The number 1 state in the survey? New Hampshire with 125.39% average premium increase.
Here at Benton White Insurance, we're not seeing quite that much of an increase with our companies. I usually suggest that you could see a 50 to 75% increase if you add a son to the policy and about 40% increase if you add a daughter. Nevertheless, parents of future teen drivers need to be aware that it definitely will upset your budget when you add teens to your auto policy.
Let us help you manage all of this. If there is something else we can help you with, we're an email away at info@BentonWhite.com or make that easy call to any of our staff at 615.377.1212. Thanks for reading!
Posted on 07/08/2016 10:08 AM by Benton White
Wednesday, 06 July 2016
This article from The New York Times caught my eye last week because it's a subject none of us think about much. There is a an enormous amount of Identity Theft going on these days. When we hear or read about it, we automatically think - adults! But on the increase, theft of social security numbers for children is on the rise and that is causing some pretty serious problems for children and their parents.
Here is the article written by Ron Lieber from the Your Money section of The New York Times - April 17, 2015.
The note that arrived in the mail, dated March 25 and addressed to my grade-school-age daughter, said what we had expected and feared: Like tens of millions of other Americans, including untold numbers of children, she may have fallen victim to thieves who gained access to Social Security numbers and other personal data from the health insurance giant Anthem.
In three single-spaced pages, it noted that anyone who had dealt with the company and many Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance plans over the last decade could be vulnerable. The letter pointed us to the Anthem website for more information, which it described as "our source of truth."
Here's what the note did not fully address, however: What are the odds that someone will steal a child's identity? Why would a thief do that, and what exactly can parents do to keep it from happening?
I know better than to overreact to this sort of thing. Thieves have to get the data, choose to use it (instead of chickening out), pick yours to use in nefarious ways and then do so successfully before any damage to a child's credit record can occur. Still, a 2011 joint industry-academic examination of 40,000 children caught up in a data breach found that someone else appeared to be using 10.2 percent of their Social Security numbers. Most of those instances happened before the breach in question.
So crime like this does happen, and here's why: Children's credit reports are clean. That's attractive to people who want to begin their financial lives anew for any number of reasons. Plus, minors don't check their credit reports or review monthly bills the way grown-ups do, which means thieves may not get caught for years or even decades.
One way that people can protect themselves from many kinds of identity theft is to put a freeze on their credit reports with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, the three agencies that make a lot of money tracking our financial histories and selling that information to companies we want to do business with.
A credit freeze is more stringent than the more popular fraud alerts that many consumers have used in the past. Putting your reports on ice means that any new creditor trying to open an account in your name won't have access to your credit report unless you go into the system and thaw it. Without seeing your credit report, companies that you are not already patronizing generally won't open a new account in your name, so the freeze usually has the effect of thwarting thieves.
The problem with the freeze, however, is that you need to have a credit report in the first place before you can put it in cold storage. Because most children don't, it's usually been nearly impossible to freeze a child's credit file.
In the last few years, though, that's been changing. According to Heather Morton, a program principal with the National Conference of State Legislatures, 19 states now require the credit agencies to help parents and guardians create a new credit report for a minor child for the express purpose of immediately freezing it. (Tennessee isn't in the group!)
Last month, Representative Jim Langevin, Democrat of Rhode Island, introduced legislation that would force the credit bureaus to let all of us do this. Equifax claims that it already lets any parent set up a freeze for a child in the other 31 states. Experian and TransUnion do not, though TransUnion, on its website, has a form that parents can complete so the company can check to see if there are any existing credit files under a child's Social Security number.
The bureaus aren't big fans of freezes, because they're an administrative annoyance and they throw a giant roadblock in their business of peddling our information. Equifax, on its website, introduces freezes as something a consumer does after being victimized, as if we'd all want to wait until the burglar has left the premises to hire a security guard. TransUnion deserves credit for at least mentioning that children may be able to get one. All of them, however, worry about creating vulnerabilities where there were none by creating a credit file that did not previously exist.
Still, if you try to set one up for your child, you're in for a battle. The agencies want reams of information, including copies of your child's birth certificate and Social Security number plus certain bills that prove where you live. Equifax and TransUnion ask you to put all of this private information in an envelope and drop it into a mailbox. Even worse, two Equifax customer service representatives I spoke to this week insisted that I should put "minor child" at the top of the address. It might as well say, "Steal this envelope!"
I'm doing it anyway (though without saying, "Steal Me"), if only to annoy the agencies that so clearly do not want me to do this.
Freezes won't stop every kind of theft, alas. Thieves sometimes use children's Social Security numbers and other data to file fake tax returns and get illegitimate refunds, gain access to health care and work legally even if they are not citizens. In each of those instances, there may never be a credit check that reveals the freeze.
So what are the ways to keep private data private that are within our control? Don't carry around Social Security cards. Keep them under lock and key at home. Keep your child's date of birth off social media. Talk to your offspring about where to click and not to click on websites and in incoming email. Question school officials and doctors who want children's Social Security numbers for forms, as it may not truly be necessary.
Robert P. Chappell Jr., author of "Child Identity Theft: What Every Parent Needs To Know," sometimes jots down names, insurance information and other bits and pieces as he listens in those places and then approaches people afterward to gently correct their data hygiene. So far, nobody has punched him in the nose. "Most of them are very nice and have no idea about the harm that can come from it," said Mr. Chappell, who works in law enforcement by day. "Usually, I'm in civilian clothes."
One problem with the various legislative efforts to fix the problem is that they won't do much about the many situations where it's the children's own parents who commit the identity fraud. Mothers and fathers may do this out of desperation, having already wrecked their own credit or experienced some acute financial calamity. Foster children are frequent identity theft victims, too. Whatever the reason for the crime, these parents aren't about to freeze their children's files.
So what could stop them? One possibility exists only in theory, and it's called the 17-10 registry. The idea here is that when children are born, their Social Security numbers automatically go into a "do not break the glass until two months before age 18" database. Parents could be prohibited from opting out of the database for their children, and credit reporting agencies (and employers and the Internal Revenue Service) would hopefully crosscheck it before letting anyone use any Social Security number. TransUnion is experimenting with its own database that families in Utah can put their children in.
My daughter seems unscathed so far, and we are signing up for the free monitoring service that Anthem is making available for two years. But Adam Levin, the founder or co-founder of two credit- and identity-related businesses and the author of a book scheduled for release in November called "Swiped: What Identity Thieves Do and How to Stop Them," questioned why the free service ought to halt then, even if Anthem is paying for a longer period than other breached organizations have in the past.
"Social Security numbers are like money in the bank, and thieves don't need to use them at any specific moment in history," he said. "You're going to have to look over your shoulder for the rest of your life."
Then again, you're probably already doing that. The companies we pay and the governmental agencies that keep track of us have proved with startling consistency that they are not up to the task of keeping our data safe. Then, they compound that by dragging their feet when tools emerge that allow us to flip a switch and try to contain the damage.
Until that changes, you're more or less on your own. But you already knew that, right?
Identity Theft is real! We offer insurance coverage for expenses you might incur if you are invaded with ID theft. Call us at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL at your convenience to info@BentonWhite.com. We can't stop your identity from being stolen but we can help ease the costs if you have that unfortunate bad experience.
Posted on 07/06/2016 10:30 AM by Benton White
Wednesday, 29 June 2016
Based on what I keep seeing either with insurance claims or from observation as I drive around the Middle Tennessee area, the pattern seems to continue. When you take ONE SECOND to glance at or do something with your mobile device while you are behind the wheel, you, those who are with you and those around you are at risk - GREAT RISK!
The following video was released a couple of weeks ago and it's getting attention as being an example of a very common place story with common everyday people doing common everyday things. But ONE SECOND changed it all!
Thanks for viewing and passing this along to others! Here's a blog link you could share or email with your friends. Many people still aren't seeing the need to put the phone down when they are driving. So let's help others to remember!
Posted on 06/29/2016 2:57 PM by Benton White
Friday, 17 June 2016
An unexpected car accident can leave you feeling a bit scattered and often times scared. That's why it's important to brush up on post-accident procedures now, when you're in good shape and levelheaded. Let us offer you this 7-step guide that can help make the moments after an accident less stressful - and the claims process a whole lot smoother.
1. Move to a safe area.
2. Stop your vehicle and get out
3. Check on others involved
4. Call the police to the scene
5. Gather info
6. Document the scene
7. File your insurance claim
Once you complete the 7 steps, it's on us to take care of you and we work really hard to do so. You'll be assigned an adjuster that will walk with you every step of the way to give you the fast and accurate service you deserve. If they don't, we'll see to it that they do!
Here are some things you should consider doing before an accident.
If you haven't been in a car accident, after patting yourself on the back (while the car's stopped, of course), use these handy tips to make sure you're ready for the unpredictable:
No matter how clean your driving record, you never know when an accident can happen. You'll be glad you kept these 4 elements in mind if (and we do mean "if") you find yourself handling the aftermath of a crash.
If you have a question or we can help you in anyway, simply email us at info@BentonWhite.com or call our team at 615.377.1212
Posted on 06/17/2016 11:40 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 14 June 2016
We're proud to represent a LEADER in travel insurance - IMG (International Medical Group). They have been in the business for many years and have saved countless thousands from the pain of medical costs when they weren't in familiar home territory and needed care. I have a special section on our website dedicated to the variety of plans they offer (Click Here) and the pricing has been phenomenally lower than you would imagine. My wife and I have purchased this coverage when we travel - especially on trips abroad.
Here's a story that illustrates the need for travel medical insurance in real life circumstances. While skiing in South America, Mark, an IMG® member, found himself on the brink of paralysis. After skiing over a rock buried in the powdery snow, he cracked open his skull and fractured a vertebra in his spine. Mark not only required emergency medical attention, he and his wife needed an insurance company who would be there in a time of crisis. Watch the dramatic video of Mark's harrowing story to see how IMG can assist our customers just like Mark on their mission every day.
IMG's mission is to protect and enhance the health and well-being of their members. IMG is our primary travel insurance carrier here at Benton White Insurance for travel medical coverage because they are leaders in the space. Both our customers and this agency are assured to be safely protected during travel!
We always like to say, "if it can be insured, we insure it and we service it too!" IMG gives us another dimension of coverage that our customers have come to expect from this agency for over 37 years. If we can answer questions or assist in any other way with insurance, we're ready! EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212. We offer ALL TYPES of insurance as we continue to work diligently to EARN your business!
Posted on 06/14/2016 8:10 AM by Benton White
Friday, 10 June 2016
Teen Driving Safety
Vehicle crashes leading cause of teen death
Jessica Bliss of The Tennessean reports that parents take a great leap of faith before giving their kids the car keys. Crashes due to reckless and distracted driving are the leading cause of death for American teens.
Summer is the time of highest risk.
Students average 44 percent more hours behind the wheel each week during the summer than during the school year, according to research by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions).
The 99 days from Memorial Day to Labor Day are the deadliest time for drivers age 15 to 20 with July 4 topping the list.
As you can see (and read further for more details of the article here), the risk is MUCH GREATER for teens - especially less experienced teen drivers during the summer months! We see this claim increase from our own customers with their teens in the household. So let this be a conversation starter for you and your family as we go through these dangerous 99 days. It only takes one accident to change a life completely or end it. We urge you and your family to be safe during this wonderful summer season ahead of us.
If we can help you with anything insurance, we are ready! Just EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or Call us: 615.377.1212.
Posted on 06/10/2016 9:49 AM by Benton White
Thursday, 26 May 2016
Summer is around the corner and great cycling weather is already here! For me, that's meant - ride my cycle every chance I get.
Have you ever wondered what happens when a bicycle is stolen or damaged while on your car's bike rack? Do you know if your insurance will cover possessions that are inside (or outside) of your car?
In many cases, a bicycle or bike rack will be covered, but there are circumstances in which your coverage may vary. Here are five common scenarios and the most important steps to take in each one:
It is important to realize that the typical deductible in a Homeowners' or Renters' policy is commonly $250 or $500. In many instances where a claim is made under the provisions of such a policy, a relatively significant portion of the bike's value will not be covered.
A "personal articles floater" can be purchased that specifically covers the full cost of repairs or the full replacement cost value if the bicycle is not repairable. If you have a very valuable bike, perhaps for racing, it can also be insured via its own policy.
So while you're giving your bike a tune-up, be sure to also check and see if your current insurance policy covers bicycle theft and other damages.
Let us help you insure your bike or any other sports equipment you may have. Personal Article Floaters get very specific with enhanced coverage's for a very affordable price. Plus, you have the opportunity of insuring that article for a proper amount of insurance which would be your basis for settlement if you did have the unfortunate claim. Contact us at info@BentonWhite.com or call our staff at 615.377.1212. We'll do our best to insure your bike before you take it out this summer so you won't have to worry about it!
[Portions of the blog content was written by Torr Leonard - social media manager of the Encino, Calif.-based insurance agency - Answer Financial published in PropertyCasualty360 - 5/18/2016]
Posted on 05/26/2016 1:07 PM by Benton White
Tuesday, 24 May 2016
I had never heard of Wathan Funeral Home until today! But why would I have? There are funeral homes around the world but this one has made headlines. For their marketing strategy, they used this video/billboard to draw attention to their services.
They are getting their point across around the world with that video. But here's the real truth: Wathan Funeral Home doesn't exist. This was all a planned marketing scheme in Ontario, Canada to change the increasing hazardous pattern of drivers to pay attention while driving on the road. You can see their details of the promotion here: www.WathanFuneralHome.com.
This promotion hasn't been seen without controversy. Many thought it was unfair to mislead that way. Many thought it was extremely clever and appropriate to release! How do you feel?
We're big proponents in putting your phone away when you drive and certainly don't text and drive! If you need insurance, please let us know how we can help you at Benton White Insurance. EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or call us at 615.377.1212. Any of our staff is ready to earn your insurance business!
Posted on 05/24/2016 2:13 PM by Benton White
Thursday, 19 May 2016
The latest statistics show that 62% of homes have pets in them. That percentage is increasing year after year! It's no surprise, there is a dynamic pet insurance market rising up to help pet owners cope with the expenses of their pet if their pet needs medical care. Pet Insurance is here and it's here to stay - and WE OFFER IT!
To many families, a pet can bring love, companionship, and security to a home. With this relationship comes a responsibility on behalf of the owner to provide for their pet's proper veterinary care; whether it's a routine checkup or an emergency. Purchasing a pet insurance policy can oftentimes help ease that financial burden.
There are basically two types of insurance that all pet owners should seriously consider: health insurance, and liability insurance. Liability insurance is often included as part of a homeowners insurance policy. Pet health care insurance specializes in the medical care / veterinarian segment of the insurance industry.
Regardless of whether a pet was purchased from an expert breeder or adopted from a local center, all animals should see a veterinarian for an initial examination. These initial visits can run anywhere from $70 to $300 depending on geographic location, and the extent of the medical services provided. Many pets will also require regularly scheduled follow up visits to a veterinarian as part of a well-care program that includes vaccinations, immunizations, as well as routine medical examinations. The point here is the cost of providing routine pet health care can be a significant expense. If we add to this the unplanned costs that can occur from accidents and illnesses, then it's even clearer why there is a steady and growing demand for health insurance that covers pets.
Pet Health Care Coverage
To protect themselves from the high cost of medical care, many owners are turning to pet health insurance plans or pet health care coverage. These insurance plans cover both the costs of routine health care examinations as well as the cost for medical care administered due to illness.
Typical health care coverage contained in this type of insurance policy includes:
Many are surprised to learn that monthly premiums are very reasonable. Costs will vary according to the plan selected, but typical health insurance premiums for a dog will be around $25 per month, while health care insurance premiums for cats are in the range of $18 per month. Keep in mind these premium quotes are for what's assumed to be a relatively young and healthy dog or cat. It may be expensive or impractical to obtain health care insurance for animals with pre-existing health conditions.
Pet Liability Insurance
The second type of pet insurance has to do with liability protection. Every pet owner, especially dog owners, needs to carefully consider purchasing liability insurance for several very good reasons. The first and foremost reason for considering this type of insurance has to do with the simple fact that dogs do bite. Each year, nearly five million people in the U.S. alone are bitten by dogs. The liability payments associated with these accidents approaches one billion dollars annually. The second reason for carrying this type of pet insurance is because it helps to protect those that are around the pet most frequently. That means protecting friends and relatives from the expense associated with a dog-related injury.
In the past, it was very easy to find pet liability insurance. Typical renters and homeowners insurance policies provided victims of dog bites with $100,000 or more in coverage. However, the insurance industry has been slowly moving away from providing this type of coverage automatically within a homeowners policy. Today's new insurance policies may actually exclude bites and injuries caused by dogs, while other insurance carriers are beginning to eliminate this coverage from their existing policies. In addition, a more common tactic of an insurance carrier might be to identify certain breeds of dogs that have been associated with these types of injuries and exclude them from coverage. Our companies pay close attention to breeds of dogs in your home before they'll insure your home.
The bottom line here is that pet owners, especially dog owners, should make sure their insurance policy provides them with the protection they need. Anyone that owns a dog, and their existing insurance policy explicitly denies this liability coverage, may want to give serious consideration to switching to an insurance carrier that will provide this coverage.
At Benton White Insurance, we offer pet coverage on automobiles and healthcare coverage policies. Our home insurance liability covers certain pets and if you have farm animals such as chickens, horses etc., we can step up with liability coverage there also. In other words, if you have animals - we can find a way to insure you appropriately in most all cases. Let us help you if you have the need! EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212. We're here to earn your business and your pets too!
Posted on 05/19/2016 11:04 AM by Benton White
Tuesday, 17 May 2016
It's tornado season in Tennessee and for much of the rest of the USA. April, May and June are the most active months for tornadoes, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center. Tornadoes frequently occur in other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, and across Europe and Asia, but the United States has more tornadoes for its size than any other country.
The costliest U.S. tornado outbreaks in terms of insured losses were in the billions of dollars, with the top three occurring in just the past five years. According to the Insurance Information Institute and Property Claims Services:
The Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research at the University of Alabama Culverthouse College of Commerce has partnered with the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, the Alabama Department of Insurance and Smart Home America to create the new "2016 Tornado Preparedness Guide & Insurance Tips," which highlights some safety steps as well as the new technology available to provide some advance warning of these deadly weather events.
"Recent studies show that most people have short memories surrounding disasters," said Lars Powell, director of the Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research. "As unpleasant as it may be to remember a terrible storm, if we don't keep the public's attention, we will not be ready for the next event."
Here are five things to do to prepare for tornado season:
1. Warning: Tornado Ahead
Residents in tornado-prone areas should be familiar with the terminology that indicates how imminent a tornado may be:
If a warning siren sounds, immediately take shelter inside and stay away from windows.
2. Staying Safe
3. Am I Covered?
Usually, severe weather-related events would be covered under a Homeowners', Renters' or Commercial insurance policy, but policyholders should understand what their coverage provides and what it does not.
4. Tornado Warnings
Each year the National Weather Service issues more than 1,000 watches and almost 30,000 severe storm warnings. NOAA has an early warning system that can predict whether or not there is a potential for tornadoes as far as eight days ahead of a weather event. In addition, municipalities can now provide residents with a weather warning about 14 minutes before a tornado occurs. There are also a number of vendors that provide services which allow insurers to warn policyholders when a severe weather event is imminent in their area.
Social media can also be used effectively to educate and warn policyholders when storms, tornadoes and other events pose a risk.
5. Road to Recovery
Tornadoes cause widespread devastation over a large area as the infrastructure and other resources are destroyed and place burdens on first responders, residents, insurers, suppliers and others.
Here are some tips to begin the recovery process after a tornado event:
So far this year, U.S. Tornadoes says the United States has had the most active February since 1950, with multiple tornado events â€• 36 reports from Feb. 15-16 and 79 from Feb. 23-24. Another 32 tornadoes were reported on March 30-April 1, and 41 were reported from April 26-27.
"Tornado preparedness saves lives," said Jim Ridling, commissioner of insurance for the state of Alabama. "The time between detection and devastation can be very short, and public education is the best strategy to keep people safe during tornadoes."
Our policies cover our insureds for tornado's and straight-line winds - a real cause of claims in the last 2 years. If we can help you, please let us know. Contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212 or EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com ... These steps we have outlined today are REAL STEPS that can help you if we have a tornado event in the Middle Tennessee area this season or other season's to come.
[Portions of this blog article taken from a release on MAY 05, 2016 BY PATRICIA L. HARMAN with PROPERTYCASUALTY360.COM]
Posted on 05/17/2016 10:00 AM by Benton White
Thursday, 12 May 2016
So here is the headline I saw in the news last week! Snapchat at 107 M.P.H. Lawsuite Blames Teenager (and Snapchat)
OK ... I admit, I'm a baby-boomer - and NOT in the current controlling culture of the millennials but really, this latest story is very hard to believe on a number of angles.
Even in the age of social media, this particular selfie seemed extreme: a teenager strapped into a gurney, with blood running down her forehead, somehow taking the time to tap out a message to her Snapchat friends: "Lucky to be alive."
The selfie quickly went viral and is a component of a lawsuit filed by a Georgia man accusing the teenager, Christal McGee, of recklessly using Snapchat while driving over 100 miles per hour and slamming into his vehicle last year, leaving him with severe injuries. He is also suing Snapchat, accusing the company of negligence.
After the accident, lawyers for the man, Wentworth Maynard, distributed the photo of Ms. McGee on the gurney, leading the police to open an investigation into the crash.
According to a police report, Ms. McGee, who was 18 at the time, was driving with three friends in a Mercedes-Benz around 10 p.m. on Sept. 10 in Hampton, Ga. She and her friends maintain that Mr. Maynard's vehicle drifted into their lane, and then Ms. McGee crashed into his car. She lost control and ran off the road.
Mr. Maynard sustained a "severe traumatic brain injury," his lawyer said. The police were not able to interview him that night because of his injuries, they said. Neither driver was immediately cited for a traffic violation.
Mr. Maynard and his wife filed the lawsuit on April 19. It says that Ms. McGee began using a Snapchat "lens" that clocks the speed of vehicles, attempting to push her car to higher and higher speeds.
An accident reconstruction determined that, at the time of the collision, Ms. McGee was driving 107 m.p.h., the lead lawyer in the lawsuit, Michael L. Neff, wrote on his website. He also published photos of the teenager's selfie and of both cars after the accident, showing the white Mercedes Ms. McGee had been driving with a smashed front end and Mr. Maynard's Mitsubishi with a demolished left side and back end.
In a telephone interview, Mr. Neff declined to say how he obtained the Snapchat selfie.
"Wentworth Maynard began a five-week stay in the intensive-care unit, where he was treated for a severe traumatic brain injury," Mr. Neff wrote on his website. Mr. Maynard and his wife are suing Snapchat and Ms. McGee to recoup all costs associated with the accident and his injuries.
The crash has become a high-profile case in the debate over distracted driving, a growing problem largely attributed to people who can't put down their electronic devices while they're behind the wheel. Because of the dangers associated with driving while distracted, experts are pushing to treat it - and, in some cases, penalize it - like drunken driving.
"It's dangerous, devastating, crippling, and it's a killer and still socially acceptable," Candace Lightner, the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and a founder of Partnership for Distraction-Free Driving, told The Times.
Attempts to reach Ms. McGee were unsuccessful. In an interview, her grandfather James McGee said that the teenager had also been seriously injured in the crash, and that her family believed Mr. Maynard was responsible for the accident.
"He pulled his vehicle out in front of them," Mr. McGee said, "not giving them enough time to stop. Now they're trying to lay the rap on her."
Mr. McGee said that since the accident, Ms. McGee had graduated from high school and wanted to join the Air Force, but her plans had been delayed because of the crash. She is working part time at a home improvement store, he said.
Her grandfather added, "It's a big setup for somebody who is young and innocent."
Mr. Maynard's lawsuit accuses Snapchat of motivating drivers to use the filter to receive a "trophy," one of the app's badges given to users after they complete a task. According to Snapchat, the service has never offered trophies for high-speed driving.
A Snapchat spokesman emailed this statement: "No Snap is more important than someone's safety. We actively discourage our community from using the speed filter while driving, including by displaying a Do NOT Snap and Drive' warning message in the app itself."
Chief Mark Harris of the Lovejoy Police Department, one of several law enforcement agencies that operate along the road on which the crash occurred, said on Monday that Ms. McGee hasn't been charged with speeding partly because there had been conflicting reports from her passengers about how fast she was driving. But the police have opened an investigation into the crash after reports said that Ms. McGee had been using Snapchat, Chief Harris said.
"We didn't know anything about Snapchat," he said.
The Police Department is trying to verify the speed, he said, adding that Mr. Maynard may also have committed a moving violation by changing lanes without signaling.
So Snapchat offers you the opportunity to clock your speed in a Snapchat recording while you're driving your vehicle. As I have said before, we are giant proponents of "Do not TEXT while you drive" .... I guess we should add this to our comments: "Do not TEXT or SNAPCHAT or USE YOUR PHONE while you drive!" Somewhere along the way, we have forgotten what a person behind a wheel can do with that machine called an automobile. We take for granted our safety by texting, take pictures, do makeup, read books on the phone and the list goes on and on. Hopefully, we can all get back to just driving a car when we are behind the wheel and nothing more. At least that's our hope here at Benton White Insurance!!
We want safety considered on all fronts and when we insure someone, we, along with the customer, hope they will never have to use the insurance. But if they do, we'll be here to help. Let us know if we can help you. EMAIL us at info@BentonWhite.com or call any of our staff at 615.377.1212. We're here and ready to earn your business ... AND encourage you to just drive a car when you are behind the wheel - and nothing more!
[Portions of this blog article taken from an article: "Snapchat at 107 M.P.H.? Lawsuit Blames Teenager (and Snapchat)" by Katie Rogers from www.nytimes.com, May 3rd, 2016]
Posted on 05/12/2016 2:56 PM by Benton White
Tuesday, 10 May 2016
Whether your are in your senior adult years or you have parents or other family members who are in that age demographic, this is information that isn't often considered as we take care of ourselves or others. It's no secret that Americans are living longer, but not all are in optimal health as shown in television commercials, creating a cottage industry in home health care. In addition, the first of the baby boomers turned 70 this year, while others have responsibilities for aging family members. As a senior citizen or caretaker of an older person, preparing for and protecting against a fire, flood, hurricane or other disaster can be a special challenge, says the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
Many seniors live alone and may have special needs or limited physical mobility, which makes them more vulnerable than younger people when there is a disaster. Therefore, it's all the more important to take steps to prepare for an emergency by evaluating the specific challenges faced by seniors and making an emergency plan to fit their needs.
Here is a checklist of 7 steps that can be a helpful tool to help seniors (and those who love and care for them) prepare for a disaster. Thanks to the Insurance Information Institute for this information
1. Make a Medical Plan
In the event of a disaster, you may not have access to a medical facility or even a drug store. If you take medication or receive regular medical treatments - such as dialysis, chemotherapy or even physical therapy - talk to your medical provider about an emergency back-up plan.
Keep an up-to-date file of your medical history including doctors, prescriptions and dosages, as well as regular medical treatments. Include a copy in your disaster kit, and make sure that a family member or a good friend has a copy too.
2. Prepare a Disaster Kit
Have the supplies you need on hand in case you have to evacuate or manage on your own for a period after a disaster, including:
3. Plan for an Evacuation
4. Take Steps to Prepare Your Home
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety has information on how to make your home better able to withstand a disaster - and don't be afraid to ask friends and family for help with mitigation tasks. Purchase a generator, especially if you rely on electricity for health reasons. And remember, even a simple storm can result in a power outage, so it is important to be prepared any time.
5. Make Sure Your Homeowners' Insurance is Up-To-Date
Continue to insure your home, even if you have paid off your mortgage and Homeowners' coverage is no longer required by the bank. Schedule a time to review your coverage with an insurance professional at least once a year. Children of older parents should consider participating in the review.
Here are some questions to ask your insurance professional:
6. Consider Other Coverages
If you rent your home, Renters' insurance is inexpensive and will provide coverage for your belongings in the event of a disaster. Flood and earthquake are not covered under standard Homeowners' and Renters' policies. Flood insurance is available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Flood Insurance Program and from a few private insurance companies. At Benton White Insurance, we offer flood insurance through this program. Earthquake coverage is available from us as well as an extra added feature that can endorse onto your home insurance plan.
7. Take Advantage of Resources Available to Seniors
If you or a loved one live in a group setting, such as an adult-living community or assisted-living facility, speak with the administrator and find out the specific disaster preparation and evacuation plans the facility has in place. FEMA has great resources for seniors at Ready.gov. The AARP, the American Red Cross and the National Organization on Disability all offer resources for older people and those who love and care for them.
I think this is a great list to help you get ahead of a disaster if it strikes you are those you love. Since we just passed the anniversary of the Nashville Flood on May 1, none of us forget the multitude of problems and inconveniences so many faced during that terrible May weekend in 2010. Hopefully, no matter what disaster we possibly could face, this list will help you to be better prepared.
Let us help you with your insurance. We're easily reached at info@BentonWhite.com or contact any of our staff at 615.377.1212. As always, we're here to earn your business!
Posted on 05/10/2016 2:56 PM by Benton White
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