Friday, March 29, 2013

Be Prepared for Wildfires; Conduct Home Inventory

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and Vista Mayor Judy Ritter urge residents to be prepared for wildfires and conduct a home inventory.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Summer Insurance Tips

As a responsible home and vehicle owner, you know that taking care of your car insurance and home insurance is top priority. Individuals that choose to "save money" by failing to purchase home insurance or worse, illegally driving without car insurance, are quick to find the cost of insurance is far less than the cost of replacing an vehicle or dwelling when misfortune strikes. Although months and even years (for the lucky ones) may pass without incident, living without insurance means living under a constant cloud of worry and fear.
If you are among the millions that have made the responsible choice to purchase insurance, congratulations. You are on the right track. Having insurance gives you peace of mind during your day to day activities. However, what about when you are away from your home for an extended period of time or if you are using your vehicle for a road-trip? A few simple steps are all that is required to help reduce the risk of loss or claim while you are away on vacation.
  • Plan for someone trustworthy to check your house and yard every day and to pick up your mail and flyers. (For extended trips, suspend your paper delivery.) Have this person walk through your home periodically to check for sign of weather damage, attempted entry and water leaks.

  • If all possible, turn off the water to your dishwasher & washing machine to avoid any unnecessary water damage. Prior to your vacation, have an inspection done on your water heater if it is over ten years old.

  • For protection from power surge damage unplug major appliances, TV's, computers, microwaves, etc.

  • If you are taking your vehicle on vacation with you, check your auto insurance policy to ensure you are up to date and aware of your coverage and deductibles. Take your vehicle in for a spring tune up as our harsh Canadian winter can take its toll. Check the tire wear, electrical, proper functioning of horns, lights and other safety features. The last thing you want is to have vehicle trouble while on a road trip. Not only does tuning up your car before a trip greatly reduce the chances of having an incident, it will also extend the overall life and durability of your vehicle.

  • Bringing out your trailer and hitting the open road in the summer is exciting. Does your auto insurance extend to your trailer? Make sure you have the proper coverage for your trailer. Give your trailer a good walk over to note any areas of concern and ensure you do not forget to have your bearings and electrical checked annually by a professional.

  • Do not leave your vacation trailer or motor home parked on your property for days prior to leaving. The savvy intruder will notice when it is not parked out front, signaling an opportune time for entry into your empty home. Go a step further in discouraging thieves by having your lights and radio set on an automatic timers so it appears that you are home. Closing all window coverings on all the floors of your home keeps them guessing if the home is inhabited or not, which is a major deterrent for the burglar.

  • If your vacation leaves a vehicle at home, purchase a safety device to lock the steering wheel, while you are away.
Thanks to your many affordable insurance options, you can go about your daily duties and your summer vacations without the dread of accidents or break-ins. While these unfortunate things do happen from time to time, taking precautions, like the ones listed above, and making sure your car insurance and home insurance covers your needs and remains up to date is all it takes to enjoy the priceless feeling of having daily peace of mind.

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Flood Insurance For Your Home

This video is from the Insurance Information Institute. For more information about insurance, go to the I.I.I. Web site at

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Flood Safety

Commonly Asked Questions

Q: Is flooding really that big of a deal?
Flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other severe weather related event, an average of $5 billion a year. Flooding can occur in any of the 50 states or U.S. territories at anytime of the year.
Q: How can I find out if I am in danger from a flood?
NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is one of the best ways to receive warnings from the National Weather Service. NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather and river information direct from nearby NWS offices. Also, the NWS web page provides forecasts and warning and identifies where flooding is occurring (
Q: How do I know how severe a flood will be?
Once a river reaches flood stage, the flood severity categories used by the NWS include minor flooding, moderate flooding, and major flooding. Each category has a definition based on property damage and public threat.
  • Minor Flooding - minimal or no property damage, but possibly some public threat or inconvenience
  • Moderate Flooding - some inundation of structures and roads near streams. Some evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations are necessary.
  • Major Flooding - extensive inundation of structures and roads. Significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.
The impacts of a floods vary locally.  For each NWS river forecast location, flood stage and the stage associated with each of the NWS flood severity categories are established in cooperation with local public officials.  Increasing river levels above flood stage constitute minor, moderate, and major flooding.  Impacts vary from one river location to another because a certain river stage (height) in one location may have an entirely different impact than the same level above flood stage at another location.
Q: What's the difference between a flood and flash flood?
A flood occurs when prolonged rainfall over several days, intense rainfall over a short period of time, or an ice or debris jam causes a river or stream to overflow and flood the surrounding area. Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring; severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rain in the spring and summer; or tropical cyclones can bring intense rainfall to the coastal and inland states in the summer and fall.
A flash floods occur within six hours of a rain event, or after a dam or levee failure, or following a sudden release of water held by an ice or debris jam, and flash floods can catch people unprepared. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. So, if you live in areas prone to flash floods, plan now to protect your family and property. The use of the word “flash” here is synonymous with “urgent.”
Q: Is there anything I can do to prepare for a flood?
How to reduce potential flood damage and what to include in a family disaster plan can be obtained from the American Red Cross.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Small Business Owners Not Confident Economy Will Improve - NFIB Economis... 
NFIB's chief economist Bill Dunkelberg explains that small businesses aren't confident that the economy will improve, which in turns stops them hiring, from ordering inventory, from expanding.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Want More Jobs? Bonds Are The Answer!

City work? School Work? Private Work? Let's face it-at some point you will be asked for a bond. Not just a license bond, but a bond for work. This is a Payment and Performance Bond.

Most contractors have never tried to get one. So, how difficult is it to get? What hoops will you have to jump through?

Good questions! We have many options whether it's your first bond ever or just your first bond this week we make it as painless as possible. We have been bonding contractors for years and can get bonds under $250,000 approved within days. We also provide contractors with bonds in the millions, and so we know what it takes to get it done for you. Give us a call and we will help you get started.

Get what you need anytime--go to "Bonding"!

Monday, March 11, 2013

SB 474 - What Does It Mean To You?

In Brief: Expanding the Prohibition on "Type I" Indemnity Agreements
For many years, our subcontractor clients have been faced with a tough decision: Accept the one-sided language that the GC or developer stipulates in their contracts, or not get the job. We know the spot that puts you in!

On the flip side, many of our developer and GC clients need the extra protection they can get by asking for the maximum transfer of risk to their subs. And since the GC calls the shots, we recognize that you've got to protect yourself!

The answer so far has been for both subcontractors and general contractors to work with educated agents (First Service comes to mind) who understand the risks involved so you can go into such agreements with eyes open. Even with this help, the subcontractors often took the brunt of the liability. In the end, this meant that the subs get dragged into claims in which they otherwise don't have any liability to justify their involvement.

Now, with this new legislation, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel. But is it only benefitting the subcontractor? Let's take a look at the specifics and see.

As of January 1, 2013, "Type I" indemnity agreements will no longer be enforceable in most construction contracts. The new law, which will apply to contracts entered into on and after January 1, 2013, expands the class of indemnity provisions that are unenforceable under California law.

Under current California law, higher tier construction participants (generally owners, developers and general contractors) typically use what is referred to as a "Type I" indemnity provision in contracts to shift liability to lower tier construction participants (generally subcontractors). Under a "Type I" indemnity provision, the subcontractor agrees to indemnify the owner, developer or general contractor, even against liability caused in whole or in part by that party's own active negligence.

So, the Type I wording can drag a subcontractor into a dispute that is brought against the GC, even if the GC is solely responsible for whatever negligence is claimed. Obviously, the Type I wording favors the GC.

On private construction projects, "Type I" indemnity provisions are currently enforceable as long as the alleged liability does not arise from the indemnified party's "sole negligence or willful misconduct." Although some legislative changes have been made to alleviate the effect of "Type I" indemnity provisions in the context of residential construction, SB 474 expands these protections to commercial projects. Under the new law, such "Type I" indemnity provisions will no longer be enforceable for commercial projects.

SB 474 also imposes stricter limitations on the ability of developers and general contractors to require their subcontractors to cover litigation defense costs. The new law may conflict with a string of cases in California known as the Crawford line of cases, which require a contractor to provide an immediate defense upon tender.

The effects of SB 474 remain to be seen, but what we know for sure if that having a well-informed agent working for you is more important than ever.

Note: In our next issue we will cover Assembly Bill 2237- Requirements of Owner Builders.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Annual Insurance Check Up

Dr. Hartwig of the Insurance Information Institute ( explains the importance of conducting an annual insurance check up to make sure you have the right kind of insurance and enough insurance to cover all your property and assets. Your policy should cover you for enough money to completely rebuild your home in case of a disaster. Homeowners should also consider getting supplemental coverages for flood and earthquake.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Economy and Insurance in 2013: III Economist Weisbart

While Sandy's damage is still being tallied, the picture for the property/casualty insurance industry is looking better, says Steve Wesibart, chief economist for the industry's Insurance Information Institute. In this interview with Andy Simpson, Weisbart provides his forecast for the economy and the property/casualty insurance industry in 2013 and identifies sectors he thinks will lead the recovery.

Saturday, March 2, 2013