When Optimisim is a Negative

“It won’t happen to me is not a good insurance program”

It’s quite amazing how many optimistsglass-half-full-233x300 that I run into on a daily basis. I too am a “glass half full” person, so I truly understand the optimistic mindset. While I consider myself to be a positive person I cannot hold a candle to some of the idealistic thinkers that cross my path. Recently I’ve been putting these Utopian-minded folks into 3 categories.

The Immortals – This group is the most sanguine. They are a confident group that thinks that they cannot die. They are usually young and believe that their youth and positive buoyant attitude will keep death at bay. They go about their day to day activities on cloud nine ignoring pessimistic thoughts such as death, and responsibilities.

Unfortunately “The Immortals” do die, and many times way too young. Sometimes they leave behind a family with both emotional and financial voids. They leave behind mortgages, motorcycle payments, car payments, children, spouses, and extra expenses related to their funeral.

The Conscientious Optimist – This group of optimists are so meticulous that an accident could never happen to them. They are superb drivers, their homes are danger free zones and they never take risks –Never! When they drive they are able to look 3 and 4 moves ahead of everyone else and they can actually read the minds of other drivers. These clairvoyant powers keep them out of the path of drunk drivers and they are able to spot deer before they look into the headlights.

Unfortunately just as Superman’s weakness was kryptonite, even The Conscientious Optimist is susceptible to accidents. A car sometimes appears out of nowhere, someone hits their vehicle when it’s parked in a parking lot, or they only looked away for a second and that’s when the accident happened.

The Optimistic Procrastinator – Normally procrastination is associated as a negative word, but I’ve come to realize that Procrastinators are actually very positive people. They believe beat_procrastinationthat they can wait until the very last minute to take care of a duty or a task. Some of their most often used words are, “I meant to”, or “I was just getting ready to do that”, or “there’s plenty of time to do that later”

Unfortunately for the procrastinator his optimistic view of time often times runs out. His “meant to” turns into never did, and his “I was just getting ready to do that” turns into never got it done. The thing the optimistic procrastinator doesn’t realize is that when time runs out, his good intentions aren’t worth a hill of beans. He was derelict in his duties and responsibilities in spite of his good intentions.

pic-lhb-familyWe optimists are funny people. We really do see the glass as half full. But we also need to be aware of a balancing truth. We are not immortal, we do not have a magic force field around us protecting us from accidents, and we are not promised tomorrow.

So why not rather be an optimist that is prepared for the future? Live life to the fullest, but be prepared in case it’s your last day. Be a conscientious person that avoids all accidents, but have a plan in case the unexpected happens. Today, stop putting off those “meant to do” items and get them done today.

Brian Bragg owns and operates Bragg Insurance Agency and can be emailed at brian@bragginsurance.com

Spring Storms Can Bring Scam Artists

Watch for Scams after a Storm

Concerned WomanAs winter winds down and we draw closer to Spring you will begin to hear the importance of being prepared for the Springtime storms. As everyone knows we are at a greater risk for Tornados and serious wind and hail storms in the Spring and Fall.

These storms can turn your home and your life upside down. If your home is damaged in a storm you are eager to get your home repaired as quickly as possible so that you can get your life back to normal. It’s during this time of eagerness that you can become victim to another “natural disaster”, a scam artist.

Most contractors are reputable business people. But each year, there are a few dishonest ones who chase storms from state to state. They will try to convince you that you have hail or other damage and that you need a new roof when in fact you really don’t. They’ll ask to be hired for the work, explaining that your insurance company will pay for the repairs.th7JGJ1NLC

Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover damage caused by hail and windstorms, but they will not cover the cost to replace a roof or siding when no damage has occurred. It is always recommended that you obtain a second and even a third opinion before starting any contract work.

What you can do?

If you’re beginning to repair or rebuild after a storm, or even if you are just planning a home improvement project, keep these tips, recommended by the Federal FEMAEmergency Management Agency, in mind for choosing contractors wisely:
• Get more than one estimate.
• Don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away.
• Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed.
• Check references before deciding which contractor to choose.
• Never sign a contract with blanks.
• Don’t pay a contractor in full until the work is complete.
• Check with county or city licensing authorities to see if the contractor is licensed in your jurisdiction, as well as checking for complaints with their regional Better Business Bureau.

Contact your local independent agent.

If you need suggestions about who to hire or how to repair your home after a storm, your local independent agent can help you contact an insurance claims adjuster. Most insurance carriers have professional claims adjusters who are trained to assess your property, identify storm damage and prepare an estimate for proper repair. They can also provide recommendations for reliable, licensed contractors in your area—although the final choice of contractor is always yours.

Does Your Business Insurance Cover That?

Indiana Contractors InsuranceBusiness Insurance, and especially contractors insurance can be somewhat confusing and difficult to understand.  Many business owners do not understand their insurance coverages.    In most cases the business is the lifeblood of the business owners income, which makes this knowledge crucial to the survival and success of that business.

Business owners are busy people and quite often don’t think that they have the time to sit down with their insurance agent to properly discuss their business.  It is vitally important for the insurance agent to completely understand the business and the risks that are involved.  A gap in coverage could spell financial disaster.

Workers’ compensation insurancecontractors-150x150

The most common type of insurance for contractors is workers’ compensation.  Most businesses and contractors in Indiana are required to procure workers’ compensation insurance.  This insurance provides coverage for personal injuries suffered by employees while they are on the job.

Turmoil in the health insurance industry and the rising cost of health insurance has caused workers compensation insurance to increase in cost.  This has caused some contractors to “skimp” on their workers compensation insurance by not fully disclosing their true number of employees or their true payroll.  While this tactic will decrease the upfront premium it opens that business owner up for serious financial problems if they have a someone injured on the job.

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

th7JGJ1NLCFor most small business owners a Business Owners Policy (BOP) will cover the majority of their risks.  Most BOP’s can cover the business liability, building coverages, personal business property, tools, and many other items.  However, like all individuals, each business is unique and has its own set of risks that need to be evaluated.

Your insurance agent should know the intrical parts of your business and the risks that are taken each day.  For example many landscaping companies engage in snow removal during the winter months.  If the insurance agent is uninformed about the snow removal there may not be any coverage for snow removal, and one accident could mean financial ruin for the business owner.

What’s usually NOT covered

Some contractors and business owners may be Bennett editorial cartoonunder the false impression that their insurance can protect them from faulty workmanship.  In most cases, insurance covers the insured for sudden and unexpected accidents or losses.  Defective workmanship can sometimes be covered in a warranty plan, but your BOP normally does not extend coverage to warrant the quality of your work.

Does your business cover losses caused by subcontractors?  Some policies do and some do not.  In either case, if your company uses subcontractors be sure to obtain proof of insurance in the form of a Certificate of Insurance and have them name you as an Additional Insured.  This one simple step could save your company from financial disaster.  In most cases your insurance agent will be happy to help you with this simple step.

Business Insurance can be both complex and expensive.  It is vitally important for your insurance agent to understand your business.  I recommend that you sit down with your insurance agent at least on an annual basis to review the progress of your business and how your insurance fits your needs.  Your insurance agent should be a trusted advisor that you can depend upon for advice and a true assessment of the risks that you as a business owner take every day.