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New Year’s Resolutions

January 5, 2016
by

Portraits of people thinking

Happy New Year! While we can’t tell you what your New Year’s resolution should be, we can tell you what the most popular resolutions were from 2015. Maybe the list below will inspire your 2016’s focus. We would love to hear which ones you go with this year.

As an office, we thought about what our new year’s resolutions for 2016 are and here is what we came up with:

  • Lose weight/eat better
  • Run a full marathon again with an improved time
  • Read (at least) 24 books
  • Pay down student loans
  • Give back to society (serve on a committee, be a volunteer, or make regular donations to the groups in my community that work to make our community a better place, etc.)
  • Improve processes and to make tasks more efficient thus gaining more time back
  • Enjoy myself more and see the fun in everyday tasks
  • Show more appreciation to everyone in my network
  • Keep an open mind and to avoid the “same old rut”
  • Talk less, talk later and listen more!

We’re Hosting a Webinar: Earthquakes Explored!

December 1, 2015

 

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we anticipate that earthquakes will occur. Every so often we even hear about “The Really Big One” that will inevitably hit and change our landscape. We would like to invite you to a webinar hosted by our very own Tracy Skinner, discussing all things earthquake: types, fault lines and buffers, local tectonic plates and Modified Mercalli Intensity. We also will review how WSRB’s GIS mapping tool, PropertyEDGE®, can help you evaluate a property risk and increase your DIC cross-sales.

Option 1: Thursday, December 10, 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. – Register Now!

Option 2: Tuesday, December 15, 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Register Now!

WSRB Team Recognition – Jim Antush

November 18, 2015

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!

NewOrleans1NewOrleans2

WSRB Team Recognition – Robert Ferrell

November 16, 2015

Bob2

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.

FEMA Fraud Watch

October 6, 2015

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

Sleepy Hollow Fire and PropertyEDGE

July 2, 2015
by
PropertyEDGE mapping of the Sleepy Hollow fire.

PropertyEDGE mapping of the Sleepy Hollow fire.

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.

For more information on PropertyEDGE or any other WSRB services, please visit www.wsrb.com or contact Harmony Wallender, Sr. Marketing Coordinator, directly at 206.273.7149.

Washington Young Agents Conference in Chelan

June 15, 2015

Young Agents

Last week a few members of WSRB were able to visit the Young Agents convention in beautiful Chelan, Washington. We are very supportive of the Young Agents, believing in the steps it is taking to educate the future of our industry.

This year, we were very proud to hear our very own Tracy Skinner, Director of Marketing and Subscriber Services at WSRB, teach us about Green Construction as one of the amazing presenters. We didn’t just learn from Tracy, however, we were also able to glean information from great minds like Bill Wilson (on “Virtual University Top 10 Countdown”), John Willemse (on “Autonomous Vehicle”) and Angela Arralde (on “From the Carrier Perspective”).

Some of our favorite quotes from the event were:

  • “RTFP! – Read the Fine Print! Of the Policy of course…”
  • “Up to this point the technology designed for vehicles has been to protect us during an accident. Now, it will be to prevent accident.”
  • “Driver-less cars will ultimately change the face of the insurance industry as we know it”
  • “So what happens if a tree is going to fall on your driver-less car? Will the car move out of the way?”
  • “Green materials have pluses and minuses throughout…a lot of green materials burn hotter.”
  • “Frozen Smoke as a construction material has incredible insulating properties.”
  • “But what if you don’t ask for the lease agreement – you are just as liable!” On the suggestion that we should be ignorant to avoid being legally liable.
  • “I always ask for a copy of the lease agreement…know your policy, does it fit within the policy?”
  • ‘It is probably a little more pleasant to deal with an Underwriter who knows the difference between Ellensburg and Enumclaw” – working with an Underwriter in your area.
  • ‘Many positions within the agency…are trying to bring the business in the door” – having a sales culture
  • “I feel like there aren’t any generalists out there anymore”
  • “From the carrier’s perspective, this isn’t going to be a short term partnership, it is going to go into the future”

Thank you to the I.I.A.B.W. Young Agents for coordinating such a fun and informative event! To learn more about the Young Agents, or to get involved, please visit them on Facebook.

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