There is no doubt that the outbreak of COVID-19 have changed our lives forever. But for small businesses, it may cause significant economic impact. All around the world we have seen the closing of businesses, specially small and large public ones like theaters, movie theaters, museums, sports arenas, etc. All this business closures and/or reduction in sales will always raise the question: What About My Business Interruption Coverage?

Now, by definition business interruption is: “Business Income Coverage — commercial property insurance covering loss of income suffered by a business when damage to its premises by a covered cause of loss causes a slowdown or suspension of its operations. Coverage applies to loss suffered during the time required to repair or replace the damaged property. It may also be extended to apply to loss suffered after completion of repairs for a specified number of days. There are two Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), business income coverage forms: the business income and extra expense coverage form (CP 00 30) and the business income coverage form without extra expense (CP 00 32). Business income coverage (BIC) is also referred to as business interruption coverage.” Source: IRMI (International Risk Management Institute, Inc.)

As you can see, most business interruption coverage’s required that an actual damage to your premises (your physical business) occur due to a covered cause of loss (fire, theft, hurricane, etc.). Unfortunately, COVID-19 is not considered a “covered cause of loss” under the standard unendorsed Business Owners Policy (BOP), nor COVID-19 causes a direct physical damage to your premises (physical location), thus no triggering of coverage can happen. On some unique cases, or on some specific industries like hospitality for example, insureds can opt to buy endorsements to this coverage (specifically the Extra Expense part of the coverage), and add certain coverages like “Special Peril Business Interruption”, or “Communicable Disease” which usually gives them a low sublimit to this type of coverage. However, this type of endorsements are very rare to come around and need approval of the insurance carrier.

There is no question that this are sad times for business owners. Business interruption coverage is very complex and requires a high technical level of insurance knowledge. We recommend that all business owners consult their coverage with their insurance companies or agents to make sure what their options are. At Deer Insurance Agency, we support local businesses in our community and we encourage our clients, friends, and communities to please keep shopping local. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and we will do our very best to support them. Stay safe!

IMPORTANT: Coverage analysis must be done based on the specific wording of an insured’s policy. Please consult with your insurance company or agent to verify your coverage.

About Deer Insurance Agency

Deer Insurance Agency is an independent insurance agency in Jacksonville, FL. Our goal is to provide our clients with the best insurance programs for their needs. As an independent agency, we get to work with multiple insurance carriers and identify the ones that best fit our client’s needs and the communities we serve.

By: Ariel Rivera, MBA, CPIA, CIC – March 24, 2020

As a consumer buying homeowners, renters, or auto insurance, you have 3 options:

  1. Shop around for yourself.
  2. Work with a captive agent (Geico, State Farm, etc.).
  3. Work with an independent insurance agency and let them shop for you.

Which one is better? You guessed it right: working with an independent insurance agency. You see, the captive agent is a professional that ONLY works for ONE insurance provider. Now, what if that carrier doesn’t offer coverage for YOUR actual needs? What if you have two dogs and that carrier excludes animal liability on your homeowners insurance? Yeap, it’s crazy right. But the worst part is that it happens more than you think.

So, the question is: what are the benefits of working with an independent insurance agency? Simple, independent agencies have more freedom to offer plans that better fit YOU and YOUR needs, not the other way around. Being independent means that we get to work with different insurance carriers. We study and learn their underwriting guidelines to make sure we insure you with whoever fits best for you.

The interesting part about independent agencies, is that they have been around since the late 1800’s and we are businesses just like any other. We are active active members of our communities and schools, and we make sure we give our 110% for you. Our objective is to always make sure you are happy with the “insurance experience” and have the peace of mind you deserve. Are we perfect? Definitely not… but we sure try.

So, when your renewals come up, call us! We love to help!

I’m pretty confident that if you asked anyone who has ever owned a rental property you would get an overwhelming response that it’s not as lucrative or easy as they thought it would be. In fact, owning a rental property can be a major pain, and end up costing you a ton of money!

I certainly don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer”, and I know that if it’s done right it can be lucrative, but from an insurance agent’s perspective, I don’t see a lot of people doing it right.

So you’re probably thinking, “Well Chris, you are an insurance agent. What do you know about real estate or rental properties? Why should I take advice from you?”

I’m not a real estate agent, and I don’t own a rental property. However, several of my friends/family/clients/co-workers own rentals, and because I insure a bunch of their properties, I’ve had a first hand account of the process, and I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do.

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I was recently asked this question by one of our Deer Insurance Agency clients, and thought I would share the answer here for our readers.

There are a lot of things that go into homeowners and auto insurance rates, one of them being credit. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people who don’t like the fact that insurance companies use credit in their underwriting.

Some people have absolutely no idea that it’s used in the rate at all.

At the end of the day, there’s not much we can do about it though. Insurance companies have been using credit in their rates for decades, and that’s not likely to change.

By the way, insurance companies don’t pull your credit like a mortgage company or credit card company does. There is no negative impact on your credit as a result of an insurance company looking at it.

When I say “pull” what I mean is that the insurance company is doing what’s called a soft inquiry, which is not the same thing as having your credit pulled (hard inquiry).

When does credit play a role in insurance rates?
It’s important to understand that insurance companies don’t continuously check or monitor your credit. Usually, they only check it when you first get a quote and/or sign up with them in the very beginning.

This means that if your credit score increases (or decreases) your insurance company does not automatically know about it.

So, to my customers question of whether or not his increased credit score will lower his rates, the answer is not automatically.

What has to be done on our side as the agent is contact the carrier the insurance and ask them to do what’s commonly referred to as a “re-score”. This is when the insurance company can re-run the person’s credit (soft inquiry) to see if there is any positive bearing on the rate.

This isn’t something that the insurance company is going to let the agency do every single year, so it’s not worth even asking unless there has been a significant change in your credit score, and only you as the customer would know if that was the case.

If you’d like to get a better handle on your credit rating, it could be helpful to setup credit monitoring. We hope this was helpful! As always, leave us comment below if you have any questions.

Why do my auto insurance rates keep going up even though my car is getting older?  At Deer Insurance Agency, many of our clients ask this question so I would like to address it from a couple of angles.

First things first, even though it’s called car/auto insurance, it covers more than just your car. It should technically be called “auto-owners” insurance, similarly to how home insurance is actually called “home owners insurance”.

It’s important to understand that there are a lot of variables that go into insurance premiums, and with auto insurance, it’s no different.

The insurance company is much more concerned with you crashing into someone and causing them (or yourself) bodily harm, or death, than they are about your car. A car is a material possession which can be replaced.

A human life is not.

When is the last time you looked at your auto insurance policy?
If you look at it you’ll notice there are a lot of different coverages on your auto policy.

Bodily injury
Property damage
Un-insured motorist
Under-insured motorist
Medical Payments
Loss of Income
Funeral Expense
Loss of use
Rental Reimbursement

These are all things that you are covered for on your auto policy. How many of them have to do with your car?

None.

How many of them have a price next to them on your policy?

All of them.

Your car isn’t the only thing you’re being charged for on your policy
That’s because auto insurance covers far more important things than your car as mentioned above.

Let me re-phrase that: your car insurance rate isn’t just based on your car.

You’re not the only one…
It’s also important to understand that you are not the only person your insurance company insures. You are one fish in an ocean of other fish, sharks, and sea creatures, all who have different characteristics and risk profiles.

Insurance is all about spreading costs over a large number (risk pool) of people, which each person paying their fare share. That risk pool is constantly changing, and is impacted by a ton of different things, including the overall economic climate.

This means that you are sharing in the cost of millions of other people, many of whom may have poor loss history and/or credit.

That’s what insurance is though — sharing in the cost.

The next time your auto insurance rates go up, take a look at the big picture. Make sure you’re looking at ALL of the coverages, and corresponding rates.

Hope this helps!  If you would like to know more about Car Insurance be sure to visit our page dedicated to it.