THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013
Trusted Choice ® agencies are insurance and financial services firms whose access to multiple companies and commitment to quality service enable us to offer our clients competitive pricing, a broad choice of products and unparalleled advocacy.
As a Trusted Choice ® agency, we are dedicated to you and are committed to treating you as a person - not a policy. This commitment means we shall:
- Work with you to identify the insurance and financial services that are right for you, your family or your business and use our access to multiple companies to deliver those products.
- Guide you through the claims process for a prompt and fair resolution of your claim.
- Help you solve problems related to your coverage or account.
- Explain the coverages and options available to you through our agency, at your request.
- Return your phone calls and e-mails promptly and respond to your requests in a timely manner.
- Provide 24/7 services for our customers, offering any or all of the following: emergency phone numbers, Internet account access, e-mail and call center services.
- Use our experience and multiple company relationships to customize your coverage as needed.
- Commit our staff to continuing education so they may be more knowledgeable in serving you.
- Treat you with respect and courtesy.
- Conduct our business in an ethical manner.
We pledge this to you, our clients, and ask that you let us know if we fail to meet our commitment, so we may take corrective action. Call us at 1-800-220-5582 or contact us online today!
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2012
We are excited to announce that, effective November 1, 2012, in association with Grand River Insurance, we are able to offer a new Michigan Workers’ Compensation Insurance program to businesses throughout Michigan through the National Specialty Insurance Company! The new program offers competitive pricing - especially for companies that already have favorable experience modifiers.
Plans include an expansion of commercial lines product offerings to Michigan businesses throughout 2013 that include property, liability, auto and umbrella liability.
The National Specialty Insurance Company is rated “A (Excellent)” by the AM Best Company.
MONDAY, AUGUST 6, 2012
Almost half of workers plan to lock in an annuity at retirement. Part of the reason is that employer-provided retirement benefits are most commonly distributed to workers in the form of an annuity, according to a new report “Older Americans’ Ambivalence Toward Annuities,” published by AARP’s Public Policy Institute. The study examines the results of an AARP survey of older workers and retirees regarding their choices for distributing retirement income.
The survey polled 1,750 older workers ages 50 to 75 and 670 retired people ages 59 to 75. The survey reveals that nearly five in 10 workers (48%) plan to take an annuity, either purchased from a life insurer or through their employer-provided pension plan, and nearly four in 10 (38%) expect to receive a lifetime income annuity.
The survey also showed that nearly three in four workers (74%) are receiving, or expect to receive, income from an annuity, and six in 10 (63%) are receiving income from a lifetime income annuity. Three in 10 workers and four in 10 retires with a choice of income distribution options intend to choose, or already have chosen, an annuity.
Of workers with a 401(k) type plan who are in a position to choose, 31% plan to elect a life annuity and 24% of retirees had made a similar choice.
When respondents were asked what features about annuities are “very” or “somewhat” convincing reasons for buying an annuity, 82% say that annuities “help you manage your budget because you get a predictable amount of money each month.” Annuities insure your paycheck and your playcheck so that you can never outlive your income.
Respondents also cited the fact that annuities:
- Offer peace of mind because the payments will continue as long as you live (82% of respondents)
- Ensure that your monthly income will not fall, even there is a large drop in the market (80%)
- Can help you remain independent because the money will never run out (76.8%)
- Offer certainty in respect to the rate of return (75.5%)
We are all living longer with many of us expecting to be active into our 90s. One of the best ways to preserve our independence is to provide for a source of income we cannot outlive, and that is what annuities do—provide safety, security and guarantees.
To learn a little more about annuities and keeping your financial security as you grow older, speak to one of our insurance experts at Insurance Planning Service at 800-220-5582 or use our online contact form today!
Photo Source: lifehappens.org
FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2012
If you have insurance, chances are that your insurance company has an online social media presence. Maybe you are even Facebook "friends" with your insurance company. Insurance companies use social media to stay in touch with customers, present new product ideas directly, and create dialog between groups. Some companies, such as Geico, Progressive, and Esurance, have very rich and engaging social media campaigns that utilize Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.com to develop closer relationships with the people who are using their products.
Even though insurers pump out ten tweets and four status updates a day to stay up to date with their plugged-in consumers, a new study says that the very same companies may not be using these social media outlets to stay in touch with their independent agents. Insurance Networking News reports:
"More than 70 percent of insurers that distribute through independent agents also use Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn as a part of their communications strategies, according to a new report from Novarica.... Many insurers with independent distribution now use social media for one-to-one contact with their agents, which suggests social media is beginning to replace telephone or email usage. Not surprisingly, the adoption of social media is still dictated by age. A quarter of agents under 40 use LinkedIn to communicate with specific underwriters at their insurers, which is twice as many as those over 40. "
So what does this mean for you? Basically, if insurers are using social media to communicate with their independent agents, and are supporting their efforts on the web, you get better, more unified service that is supported by both the insurer and your independent agent.
For example, let's say that you have a question about your insurance policy, and you post your question onto your agent's Facebook page. If your insurer is keyed into your agent's social media outlets, you may get two responses: one from your agent, and one from your insurer. Even if both responses aren't technical or an in-depth answer to your question, that communication is key to making sure that you, as a customer, feel like these people care about you and that you are happy with the services being provided.
What do you think? Do you look for more interaction with your insurance company and your independent agent? Leave us a comment or response below to let us know how we can better communicate with you.
Hook up with Insurance Planning Service on Facebook and Twitter or call us at 800-220-5582. You can even use our online contact form to ask questions or get free quotes!
By Dave Bernard
THURSDAY, JULY 26, 2012
Michigan regulators approved rate hike requests from major insurers who said they are increasing prices to accommodate rising per-vehicle fees that fund the state’s no-fault system, highlighting the passage of costs from insurers to consumers that occurs in the only state in the U.S. offering lifetime compensation for crash-related medical expenses regardless of fault, according to Online Auto Insurance.
Insurers pay into the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), which charges a $175 per-vehicle fee to reimburse insurers for claims exceeding $500,000. A $30 fee increase went into effect on July 1; that fee has increased year-after-year from $104 in 2008.
Critics have argued that increasing MCCA costs make it hard to get cheap car insurance coverage in Michigan, as insurers who pay the ballooning per-vehicle fee typically shift their costs onto policyholders in the form of higher premiums.
Allstate, Fremont and 21st Century were all approved for rate hikes of varying degrees that kicked in on July 1, 2012 - the same day that the higher MCCA fee went into effect. Regulators approved 21st Century’s request to hike rates 3 percent overall. Fremont submitted its request to increase rates by 2.1 percent. Allstate increased rates overall by 3 percent.
Industry experts and legislators have grappled with the cost of coverage in Michigan, which is one of the most-expensive states for coverage in the U.S.
American Insurance Association (AIA) president David Snyder testified before members of a state House committee last October, saying the coverage system faces a “death spiral” if reforms were not made.
Several pieces of legislation establishing new exclusionary provisions into no-fault laws were introduced this year, including one that prohibits illegal aliens from seeking no-fault benefits and another that does the same for drivers who crash their cars while intoxicated.
Those bills were approved by committee members in June and are currently awaiting further consideration in the state House.
To keep your auto insurance policy as reasonable as possible, contact the insurance experts at Insurance Planning Service today at 800-225-5582 or use our online contact form!