Jim Antush – Northwest Chapter Regional Director of Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP)
Jim Antush, our Compliance Manager, is starting the second year of his two-year term on the National Board of Directors of the Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP). He is the Northwest Chapter’s Regional Director. The Northwest Chapter, one of nine regional chapters that make up the AICP, includes the states of Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Last year, the Northwest Chapter received a first place incentive award for having the highest percentage of AICP membership renewals.
As Regional Director, Jim represents the Northwest Chapter at National Board of Director meetings and is the liaison between the local chapter and the national board. The Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals serves the insurance compliance community by providing learning opportunities and promoting relationships between compliance professionals and regulators. It is a forum for exchanging important information and discussing pressing issues.
Here are some photos from a chapter event at the AICP Annual Conference in New Orleans. This was a cooking demonstration of bananas foster at the New Orleans School of Cooking!
Robert Ferrell – Board Member of Washington State Association of Fire Marshals
We are proud to announce that Robert Ferrell was elected earlier this month to serve as a member of the board for the Washington State Association of Fire Marshals (WSAFM). Robert began serving on the WSAFM board earlier this year when he was appointed to fill a vacant position.
WSAFM is an association of fire marshals, code enforcement, and fire prevention professionals (inspectors, educators, engineers, etc.) working together to improve codes and standards, provide professional development opportunities and promote community safety. It was originally established to coordinate efforts to improve fire safety through prevention.
Unfortunately there is a common trend of fraudulent activity after natural disasters. FEMA recently published a press release warning wildfire survivors of fraud dangers, giving a few common post-disaster practices to avoid fraud issues of your own should you be affected.
Often someone trying to scam you will call or visit you. When people visit your home, make sure to always ask for an official photo ID badge (all federal employees carry one), as their attire with logos is not proof of affiliation. Another thing is to pay attention to what they offer you, what information they ask for and what they ask to get from you. The questions they ask shouldn’t include anything about your Social Security number or bank information, as this is only asked for when you initially register for FEMA assistance. It is absolutely a scam if someone offers to speed up the process in any way, or if they request money to speed up the process or increase the amount of assistance. Federal workers would NEVER ask for money.
If you can see damage from the street there is a greater chance for fraud. “It is important to note that FEMA housing inspectors verify damage, but do not hire or endorse specific contractors to fix homes or recommend repairs. They do not determine your eligibility for assistance.” Which leads us to contractors: do not allow contractors to start working on your house on the spot. Instead, make sure only to “use licensed local contractors backed by reliable references, get a written estimate from at least three contractors, including the cost of labor and materials and read the fine print.” You should also make sure that your contractors are properly insured and carry “general liability insurance and workers’ compensation. If he or she is not insured, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property.” For more information about contractors, everything else we addressed and more, see the FEMA press release.
Call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or your local police if you suspect someone is trying to con you.
FEMA information obtained from their press release: http://www.fema.gov/news-release/2015/09/28/wildfire-survivors-warned-beware-fraud
With the warmer, drier weather, we are seeing an increase in fires across the state. There is no greater evidence of this than in Wenatchee, Washington with the Sleepy Hollow Fire. If you are a PropertyEDGE customer, you will be able to watch this fire in real time as the fire perimeter changes. You can also view perimeter data on historical fires across the state.
According to King 5 News, the Sleepy Hollow Fire is currently 47% contained, and we hope it will soon be completely contained. However, conditions can change in a moment’s notice, and this wildfire appears to be changing faster than most. “It seems like we weren’t under evacuation notice until the flames were in our backyard, it was just so quick,” said Ali Marboe in the same article. First responders agree, saying they have “never seen a fire move this quickly.”
This will, of course, have an impact upon the insurance industry. Diane Reed, who evacuated the area on Sunday evening, told the Seattle Times that one of the first things she did was give her insurance company a call. She “figured her home was worth $475,000, but some homes were valued at up to $1.5 million.”
“PropertyEDGE is mapping this fire,” says Tracy Skinner, Manager of Subscriber Services at WSRB. “[Customers] have up-to-date info.” Staying informed about past fires and current fire perimeters is crucial when insuring a client in a fire-prone area, such as Central and Eastern Washington.