I specialize in selling insurance to the automotive aftermarket industry. If you own a shop or handle the insurance policy you need to ask yourself when is the last time I received a quote on my policy? Some owners have not changed or updated their insurance policy since they opened for business maybe 20 or so years ago. I would think that many of the aspects of their business and insurance needs have changed over the years. Feel free to contact me and we can set up a meeting.
While there is no way (legally) to get around paying a workers’ compensation premium if you have employees in California, employers must understand they have an opportunity to “reign in” and control this significant cost of doing business. These opportunities include systematic and proactive approaches to:
- Recruiting & Hiring
- Job training
- Employee engagement
- Safety programs
- Choosing the right medical treatment, at the right time, with the right MD
- Getting employees back to work (return to work program)
Employers must internalize the fact that workers’ compensation costs ARE controllable and must take action. If you’re an employer and need help identifying areas in your business that need improvement or would like to create a proactive plan of action contact me today.
Since its inception in 2012, the Labor Enforcement Task Force (“LETF”), has worked in collaboration with both, the California Insurance Commissioner and the California Attorney General’s Office, to mitigate the State’s “Underground Economy” by levying stiff penalties on businesses operating illegally. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, in 2015, the task force issued nearly $8 million in initial assessments to businesses for illegal operating activities.
Evelin Y. Bailey, of the California Construction Law Blog, provides some examples of activities that make up this underground economy; failing to pay proper payroll taxes, providing un-safe work conditions, and failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance. It’s estimated that these illegal activities cost the California economy anywhere from “$8.4 to $28 billion in unpaid income, insurance, and sales tax every year.”
With California’s new understanding of the costs associated with this underground economy, and the emergence of the LETF, it’s more important than ever for employers to pay special attention to their business practices to ensure they’re in compliance with California law. To aid businesses in doing so, Van Beurden Insurance Services offers simple, affordable, and coordinated solutions.
If you would like help navigating your business environment or would like to hear more about our workers’ compensation, payroll, and human resource solutions contact me today!
Today, insuring your business can be more complicated and dynamic than ever. Specializing in Worker’s Compensation, General Liability, and Property Insurance; I strive to help businesses implement a risk management program that successfully protects all their valuable assets and employees.
I enjoy working with businesses of all sizes. My primary goal is to help simplify the insurance buying process and provide businesses with solutions that meet their evolving needs.
Enjoy the Holiday season and the remainder of 2015! Please check back during the beginning of 2016 for updates to my blog.
In a time when people are looking to do things faster, cheaper and more efficiently, Transportation Network Companies are becoming more and more popular.
Let’s say you’re in an unfamiliar city, or you don’t want to deal with the parking situation at a sporting event, or maybe you just want to get home safely after a night out. What do you do? Today, there are more options than ever when finding out how to get where we need to go without too much worry or expense. We can use public transportation, hail a taxi, hire a driver through a limo-service, or use an app-based ridesharing service such as Lyft or Uber, more formally known as Transportation Network Companies (TNC). On the flipside: Perhaps you’re looking for a way to earn some extra money outside of your regular 9 to 5. Ridesharing companies offer opportunities for drivers as well as passengers, starting with the download of an app. Regardless of your circumstance or your circle of friends, most of us have either used a ridesharing service ourselves, or certainly know someone who has.
What are the risks with application based transportation?
There are actual as well as perceived risks when using ridesharing services. First, if we are the passenger, there is the obvious fear of the unknown: we’re clicking on an app, telling a stranger where we are and asking to be picked up & dropped off at another destination (often our home) without having any idea about who the driver is, how sane they are, how safe their car is or how well they drive. Sounds dangerous, right? But, it’s really no different than when we call a cab service, or get on the city bus. Or rent a limo, for that matter.
To set the consumer’s mind at ease, Uber’s own website has this to say about safety: “Every ridesharing and livery driver in the U.S. is thoroughly screened through a process that includes county, federal and multi-state criminal background checks that go back as far as the driver’s state law allows, and ongoing reviews of drivers’ motor vehicle records throughout their time driving with Uber.” Lyft’s website offers similar assurances pertaining to the safety of its passengers, with driving record checks, background checks, and vehicle inspections.
There are, however, real risks involved with ridesharing for both the driver as well as the passenger. The question of insurance (or lack of) has been one of the biggest concerns in this burgeoning industry. Most insurers exclude coverage for livery and taxi services under personal auto insurance policies, because, by definition, when transporting passengers for a fee, the auto in question, is no longer just for personal use. Therefore, personal auto insurance would cover activities when the vehicle is being used for personal transportation, but offer no coverage during the time the policyholder is working as a TNC driver.
This is where the TNC company’s insurance was designed to step in. It works like this: After having been “matched” with a fare through the app, whether on the way to pick up, or transporting the passengers, the TNC insurance would provide coverage until the passenger is dropped off. But herein lies the problem: the dreaded grey area. There is a time when the ride-sharing app is turned on, and the driver is ‘trolling’ or waiting to be matched with a fare. During that time, dubbed Period 1 by lawmakers, neither the personal auto policy, or the TNC’s insurance explicitly offered coverage. As you can imagine, this has left a wide gap between what’s actually happening in today’s driving world and what is covered under insurance. In these instances, all parties have been left unprotected. In steps lawsuits, litigation and revision of policies.
Whether a driver or a passenger, you need to know how you’re covered.
Through the passing of AB 2293, which went into effect on July 1, 2015, TNCs are now required under California law to provide $1 million in liability coverage during Periods 1 and 2, but are not required to provide comprehensive or collision coverage. Furthermore, TNCs are still not required to cover Period 1 at all. Under the same law, it is now required that either the TNC or the driver must maintain primary liability insurance during Period 1. The law doesn’t stipulate which entity will cover, just that one must. Therefore, TNCs are now offering different levels of insurance protection based on individual drivers’ needs. Lyft’s website offers detailed explanations of each level of insurance coverage that is currently available through their service.
At the time of AB 2293 passing, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones encouraged insurers to develop insurance products that will provide the necessary coverage during the gaps. To date, the California Department of Insurance has approved insurance products designed to cover ride-share drivers during Period 1 for two insurers: Farmers Insurance and Metromile.
In the coming months, the insurance and transportation industries expect to see even more developments on the ride-sharing front. If you’re currently driving for, or are considering driving for any ride-sharing company, make sure to speak to your agent to determine what coverage, if any, your personal insurance policy provides.
Insurance companies have options when it comes to choosing how best to present their products and services to prospects and customers. Some are direct, only offering access via websites or toll-free numbers. Other insurers select agents who will only present that company’s products or services.
At Van Beurden Insurance, we believe the best choice is representatives who can offer you the broadest possible coverage and pricing options. Independent Agents like Van Beurden can make the recommendations for your specific needs. Whether those needs include sailing your boat off Baja, a cabin in the Cascades or an SUV in Santa Clara, here are several key reasons for you to choose an Independent Agent as your key insurance advisor:
- Independent Agents are not restricted to offering solutions from a single insurance company
- More companies to access means a larger menu of coverage options and prices
- Establishing a relationship with an Independent Agent means that he or she can work with you to adapt your coverage to ever-changing circumstances and life stages
I would truly appreciate the opportunity to earn your business. Contact me to discuss insurance options tailored to your specific needs.
We offer policies through many preferred carriers, including:
You left the house late. You’ve had a bad morning. Traffic is heavier than normal and you’re meeting a client first thing. And in the middle of all that, another driver cuts you off only to slow down in front of you. We’ve all been there. It’s normal to feel frustration or even anger, but it’s how you act that will make the difference in your safety as well as others’. Road rage is something we’ve all seen, if not felt firsthand. And it can be dangerous.
It’s been said that the term road rage was first coined in the late 1980s by Los Angeles news station KTLA following a series of shootings on local freeways. Since then, it has become synonymous with anyone who appears aggressive or angry on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are varying degrees of aggressive driving, with road rage being at the extreme end. Aggressive driving, according to the NHTSA, is defined as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property” and is considered a traffic violation; whereas road rage is “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway” which is a criminal offense. For an act to be defined as road rage, there must be an element of willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.
Ask yourself how often you do the following, all of which are considered acts of aggressive driving, leading to road rage:
1. Speeding – exceeding the posted speed limit; or driving too fast for conditions
2. Improper or excessive lane changes – failing to signal intent; failing to verify that movement can be made safely
3. Improper passing – failing to signal intent; using an emergency lane to pass or passing on the shoulder
4. Following too closely; tailgaiting
According to the NHTSA, aggressive drivers fail to consider the human element involved. The anonymity of being behind the wheel gives aggressive drivers a false sense of control and power, therefore they seldom take into account the consequences of their actions. If, while driving, you regularly do and say things to other drivers that you wouldn’t normally do/say in person, it’s a good indication that you may be an aggressive driver. Have you ever purposely tried to prevent another driver from entering or exiting the freeway? Have you ever purposely sped up/slowed down with the intent to aggravate or frustrate someone else, even if it was in response to another driver’s actions or behavior? If you answered yes, you may be guilty of road rage.
Aggressive driving and road rage
The best, most effective ways to prevent road rage are the also simplest and most common. Next time you get behind the wheel, remind yourself to:
1. Allow more than enough time to get to your destination. Giving yourself just a few extra minutes can make all the difference in your attitude and stress level.
2. Understand that other drivers are human beings and people make mistakes.
3. Avoid shooting nasty looks or gestures at people, even if they cut you off in traffic or take your turn at the 4-way stop.
4. Leave ample space between yours and others’ vehicles. Tailgating is dangerous, tapping your brakes when someone follows you too closely is also dangerous. Both actions can lead to road rage.
5. Lay off of your horn unless you absolutely need to get another driver’s attention. Horns were not meant as an avenue to vent frustration.
6. Stay calm, take your time, enjoy the ride.
For more information about safe driving or to obtain a quote, please contact me.
The National Safety Council has come up with a checklist that makes is easy for everyone to look for and remove fire hazards in your home. Use this handy guide to help keep yourself and your family safe.
General Home Safety:
- Check electrical appliances for loose or frayed cords. Do not place wires under rugs.
- Check for outlets overloaded with plugs; including TVs, computers, stereos and printers.
- Install GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets in your home; especially near sources of water like in your bathroom, kitchen and laundry room.
- Use the correct bulb wattage for home light fixtures.
- If any appliances spark, smell unusual or overheat, replace them or get them repaired by a professional.
- Lamps and nightlights should not touch any fabrics (bedspreads, drapes).
- Electrical blankets should be unplugged when not in use. Check for frayed or loose cords and any odd smell. If a problem is detected, replace.
- Supervise children around the stove and microwave.
- Candles should be out of reach of children and pets, curtains and furniture. Never leave candles unattended.
- Be sure to have your furnace or heating system inspected annually.
- Keep out of walking paths.
- Keep away from children and pets.
- Place away from beds.
- Keep newspapers, magazines, and any fabrics (including curtains, sheets and tablecloths) at least 3 feet away from a space heater.
- Always unplug when not in use.
In the Kitchen:
- Keep an eye on appliances when in use.
- Make sure appliances are turned off and/or unplugged when not in use.
- When using pots and pans, use the rear burners when possible and turn the handles inward.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking.
- Keep the fireplace clean.
- Cover your fireplace with a screen.
- Only burn wood. Papers and other materials can escape while burning and ignite something nearby.
- The fire should be completely extinguished before leaving the home or going to bed.
- Have your chimney cleaned professionally once a year.
Please contact me for more information about home safety or for a fast, easy and free policy check-up.
I’m sure by now everyone is aware of the recent explosion of an apartment building in New York City caused by a gas leak in the basement. This tragedy left two people dead and many more homeless. How many of us stop and think about what happens to the tenants when they are displaced as a result of something of this magnitude? Clearly, they’ll need to find another place to live, but what about everything else – everything they owned? Those that had renters insurance had coverage to help them replace their belongings and most likely also had help with paying for temporary living expenses and food while more permanent arrangements could be made. And those without renters insurance? Well, they are fending for themselves, literally.
According to a 2014 Insurance Information Institute (III) poll conducted by a third party, only 37% of renters polled said they had renters insurance. This is in contrast to the nearly 95% of homeowners polled who said they had homeowners insurance. The recent East Village explosion should serve as a wake up call to those renters who, up to this point, have felt that renters insurance was unimportant or too expensive. Or, perhaps always thought coverage was provided under the landlord’s policy. For clarification, a landlord has coverage under his dwelling policy for the building itself, liability for him/herself and typically offers very little coverage for personal property – of his/her own. There is no coverage provided for tenants’ belongings or tenants’ liability. This is where renters insurance comes in.
A typical renters policy will cost you much less than your daily latte (could be as low as $1.00/day) and will provide you with coverage when you need it. Coverage that helps you replace all of your belongings, i.e. furniture, clothing, appliances, electronics, sports equipment, personal items and even the food in your cupboards. Take a minute and think about how much it would cost to replace EVERYTHING you own. That’s the amount of contents coverage you’ll need included in your renters policy. Another coverage that is equally important, but perhaps isn’t thought of immediately, is personal liability coverage. This is what covers your responsibility to other people who are injured by you at your home or somewhere else. Liability coverage can even provide legal defense costs if you are sued.
To talk more about renters insurance (what is covered, what isn’t), or to obtain a quote, please contact me. I look forward to the opportunity to help you with all your insurance needs.
While browsing the internet last week, I came across this great blog from Allstate Insurance. Springtime is the right time for many of us do-it-yourselfers. Here are some great tips for sprucing up a dated looking kitchen without breaking the bank:
1. Apply a fresh coat of paint
Fresh paint is an inexpensive way to renew your kitchen’s appearance. If you have plans to sell your home in the near future, you may want to choose neutral colors like white, beige, tan or brown; bright colors can become dated and are largely a matter of preference. When wallpaper is present, strip it and prime the walls before applying a coat of paint.
2. Find alternatives to custom cabinets
Premanufactured cabinets are typically less expensive than custom varieties but offer the same functionality. And, while they may be somewhat limited in terms of design, there are many styles and colors to choose from. Cabinets can often be installed without the help of a professional, which can save you thousands. Cabinets that are dated but still in good shape may be refinished or refaced at minimal cost. Replacing hardware such as hinges, knobs and drawer pulls can update the look of your cabinets as well.
3. Replace worn countertops
If your countertops are particularly worn down, you may want to consider replacing them with ceramic tile. Tile installation is inexpensive, and there are many styles and colors to choose from. The downside to tile is that it may chip and scratch easily. If tile doesn’t appeal to you, laminate countertops are another inexpensive option. Laminate is easy to install and easy to care for (just be sure to keep hot pots and pans off of the surface). The price of laminate countertops is usually comparable to that of tile countertops. Solid wood may also be sanded, cut and treated to replace your countertops for a low price.
4. Choose inexpensive alternatives to hardwood
There are many attractive flooring options available at a fraction of the cost of hardwood. Plastic laminate is easy to install and is slower to wear than hardwood, as well. Vinyl flooring is another affordable option; it’s stain-resistant — and it may take years to wear down. Vinyl also offers a wide variety in terms of style and design.
5. Consider secondhand appliances
If you need to replace appliances, you may want to consider purchasing them from secondhand stores, where you can find them gently used, or from outlet stores, which often offer previous years’ models or items with minor dents or scratches. If your appliances are simply a bit scratched, you can make them look new again with appliance paint that mimics the look of stainless steel. Replacing knobs, door handles and other hardware is a smaller project that can also bring new life to your appliances.
6. Update lighting and fixtures
To upgrade the lighting in your kitchen, consider:
- Updating overhead lighting fixtures
- Installing under-cabinet lighting
- Adding new pendant lights
Use LED lights whenever possible to increase energy efficiency. They’re relatively inexpensive and can pay back in savings on your utility bill. Consult with an electrician if you want overhead pendant lighting installed, as it involves working with wires in the ceiling.
Contact me today. I would love to help evaluate your insurance needs and provide a side by side coverage comparison with quotes.