Rue Insurance Annual Awards & Recognition Dinner Gala

Rue Insurance held its Annual Awards and Recognition Dinner Gala at The Boathouse at Mercer Lake, West Windsor, NJ, on Thursday, January 28, 2016. This Award Dinner marked Rue Insurance celebrating 99 Years of Business in Mercer County.  At the dinner, the following members of the organization were recognized for outstanding achievement:

Awards Dinner 2015

                           Pinnacle Award Winners

Pictured above back row left to right: Chris Koestner, Rookie of the Year; Rob Fulton, Sales Agent; William Rue, Jr., President; Michelle Zelena, Client Services Pinnacle; Marianne Catapano, Couldn’t Do It Without You; John Clauser, Million Dollar Club; Sarah Dietz, Agency Shooting Star; William Rue, Sr., Chairman; Front Row, right to left, Elizabeth Allen, Executive Vice President; Denise Fields, Pinnacle Agent; Danielle Torretta, Commercial Lines Select Pinnacle; Shirley Oravsky, Coach of the Year; Amanda Morris, Personal Lines Pinnacle and Adele Mazzucco, Internal Customer.

The following employees were recognized for Perfect Attendance: Brenda Burke, Constance Czap, Sarah Dietz, Georgine Howlett, Gina Ludwig, William Lueckel, Cora Lukie, Anne Olhovsky, Ellen Outten, Brien Sayre, Kim Smith, Annmarie Schaller, and Patricia Shea.

Also acknowledged on that evening were the following employees for their Continuous Years of Service at Rue Insurance: 5 Years – Denise Costa, Brittany Falcon, Cora Lukie, Debra Masterpalo, Carol Ruge, Annmarie Schaller, Patricia Shea, Michelle Zelena; 10 Years – Brenda Burke, Sara Dietz, Robert Fulton; 15 Years – Robert Cottone, Jr., Melissa McCarty; 20 Years – Carmen Cavaliere; 30 Years – Elizabeth Allen, Ellen Saperstein; 45 Years – William Lueckel, III.

The following individuals received Professional Insurance Designations in 2015: Construction Risk & Insurance Specialist – Ryan Jones and David Concodora and Certified Insurance Service Representative – Debra Masterpalo.

Winter Storm Safety Checkup

Roof Snow Removal

With temperatures dropping below freezing at night and snow in the forecast, it’s a good time to make sure cars and homes are prepared for winter weather.  Here’s a winter storm safety checkup to help avoid potential costs and stress from colder temperatures.

Avoiding Frozen Pipes

  • When it’s chilly outside, let cold water trickle from inside faucets.
  • Keep garage doors closed, especially if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to reach the plumbing (be sure to move any cleaners or chemicals out of the reach of children and pets).
  • Keep the thermostat set to a warm temperature.  If you’re leaving town, set it to no lower than 65 degrees.

Additional Home Prep

  • Pack up outdoor furniture and window air conditioning units.
  • Seal cracks and drafts.
  • Clean gutters and address damaged shingles on the roof to prevent ice dams.

 On the Road

  • Stock a winter roadside emergency kit with all the essentials.
  • Check your oil and antifreeze levels.
  • Replace tires if needed, and make sure they are designed for winter traction.  TIP: Perform the penny test to measure tread wear.
  • Replace windshield wipers if they are more than six months old.
  • Brush up on winter weather driving techniques.

While we’ve been fortunate to have mild weather so far this winter, we may soon be in for snow.  If a storm does come our way, be sure to read these winter storm preparation tips for extra precautions.

Above all, stay safe and warm!

We specialize in insurance, but we care about your safety, too.  Call us today to learn more about our insurance solutions for your auto, home, and life.

Snow & Ice Removal Insurance Coverage

Snow-plowsIs the lack of Snow & Ice Removal Insurance Coverage freezing up your operation?

Snow & Ice Removal Coverage is excluded on most policies!

Ice & snow removal is often seasonal work, and something that businesses offer in addition to other services.  A large percentage of snow removers are landscapers during other parts of the year.  Whether your snow & ice removal business is an additional service to your primary business or a new, entrepreneurial venture, you’ll need a solid business insurance plan to protect your assets.

Below is a list of the top types of insurance we recommend for professionals in this wintry industry…

  • General Liability Insurance
  • Property Insurance
  • Business Owner’s Policy
  • Commercial Auto Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance
  • Umbrella Insurance

Each of these policies can be adjusted to suit the scope of your snow & ice removal service, whether you own one plow or five salt trucks.

There are huge liabilities that are associated with snow and ice removal.  One small example is if your leave a snow pile, it melts some, the runoff turns to ice on the sidewalk, and someone slips and sues.  You would be at fault.  You better have snow plow insurance.

To sum things up, the easiest way to put it and the best rule of thumb is this … If you get paid to do it, then you need snow plow insurance.

Does your current agent know where to find coverage?  We Do!

Don’t Stay Plowed In!  Contact Rue Insurance today!

 

NEW JERSEY’S NEW CAR SEAT LAW

New Jersey’s New Car Seat Law went into effect last month with some of the most restrictive rules in the nation on how kids should be buckled into vehicles.  Listed below is a recap of the new law:

Car Seat Safety

  • Birth to age 2: A child under age 2 and under 30 lbs. must be in a rear-facing car seat with a five-point harness.
  • Ages 2 to 4: A child under age 4 and 40 lbs. must remain in either a rear-facing or a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness in the back seat of a vehicle.
  • Ages 4 to 8: Children must remain in a car seat or a booster seat in the back seat of a vehicle until they are at least 8 years old or 57 inches tall. Once they reach that age or height, they can use the regular adult seat belts.
  • Ages 8 and above: A child age 8 and older can sit in a regular seat using a seat belt. However, the New Jersey law does not specify when children over age 8 can move from the back seat to the front seat.  The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children not sit in the front seat until age 12.
  • Front seats: If a vehicle doesn’t have a back seat (like a pick-up truck or a sports car), New Jersey’s law says a child can ride in the front seat in a car seat or a booster seat. The vehicle’s passenger-side airbag must be disabled or shut off if a baby or toddler is using a rear-facing car seat strapped into the front seat of the vehicle.
  • Fines: The fines for violating NJ’s car seat law were $10-$25.  Under the revised legislation, they are going up to $50-$75.
  • Exemptions: You can no longer get out of a ticket by claiming in court that you were following the manufacturer’s weight and age recommendations for your child’s car seat.
  • It does not matter if you are from out of state and driving in NJ, the New Jersey’s New Car Seat Law applies to everyone driving in the Garden State.

For more information http://www.nj.gov/oag/hts/childseats/childseatchecks.html

 

Off Premises Utility Services Coverage

Off Premises Utility Services Coverage –

What is it and why do I need it?

Utility Service InterruptionWhat if you have to suspend or shut down your business operations due to the direct physical loss of power, communication or water services?  If your business is without natural gas, phone, internet or water for more than a day or so, your business can really suffer.  A standard commercial property and business interruption insurance policy provides reimbursement for loss due to business interruption caused by damage to the insured premises, but what if your operations are suspended as a result of a loss not on your premises, such as a downed power or phone line, blown transformer or broken water pipes several miles away from your location.  There is no direct damage to the insured property so most commercial property policies will not provide for loss of income for this type of situation.  That’s when Off Premises Utility Services Coverage becomes so important.

The utility must be out due to a covered cause of loss (as defined in your policy) such as fire, wind, lightning, vehicle damage, etc.

Utility Services:

Water Water mains and pumping stations that supply water to your location.

Communication – Internet, telephone, radio, television.

Power – Transformers, transmission lines to supply electricity and gas to your location.

This endorsement is critical in order to be fully protected.

If you are interested in learning more about this coverage, please contact your Rue Insurance service representative at 1-800-272-4RUE.

Hurricane Joaquin Emergency Claims Numbers

Claims Numbers

PENDING EMERGENCY

With the possibility of Hurricane Joaquin hitting the East Coast, it’s a good reminder to think about disaster preparedness no matter where you live. Did you know that flooding is the #1 natural disaster in the United States? In fact, in the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. Fortunately, with advance preparation, you can limit your recovery expenses and ensure your organization stays afloat.

If you have an emergency, the first priority is always life and safety. If there are pressing safety issues, evacuate the building and call 9-1-1. The next priority is to stabilize the situation and begin immediate mitigation to prevent further damage. If you will be filing an insurance claim, it is also important to contact your insurance carrier.

In case of a storm emergency listed below are some helpful numbers.  Please be sure to print out this list, so that you will have access in the event of a power outage.

 

CARRIERS’ CLAIMS NUMBERS

Carrier Phone Number
AIG – All Other Commercial 877-399-6442
Atlantic States Group 609-268-6700
ARI Insurance 800-820-4506
Chubb 800-699-9916
CNA 877-262-2727
Converys 800-225-6168
Cumberland 800-232-6992
Encompass 800-588-7400
Excel Insurance Services 877-530-0111
Farmers of Flemington 866-631-9153
Fitchburg Mutual 800-688-1825
Foremost 800-527-3907 All Other800-274-7865 Auto
Franklin Mutual 800-842-0551
FTP 732-679-3700 x6928
Great American 800-584-0835
Guard Insurance Co 888-639-2567
Hanover Insurance Co 800-628-0250
Harleysville 800-892-8877
Hartford 800-243-5860
IFA 877-432-2277
JimCor 800-431-0797
K&K Insurance 800-237-2917
Liberty Mutual 800-225-2467
Meadowbrook 800-825-9489
Merchants 800-322-8608
Mercury Insurance 800-503-3724
National Flood Insurance Program 800-767-4341
NJIUA 866-654-7526
NJ Manufacturers – All Other 800-367-6564
Norfolk & Dedham 800-688-1825
Plymouth Rock 800-437-3535
Peerless 800-522-7152
Penn National 800-766-2245
Philadelphia 800-765-9749
Philadelphia Contributorship / Germantown 800-269-1409
Progressive 800-274-4499
Redwoods Group 800-463-8546
Safeco – Personal Lines 800-332-3226
SAIF/PAIC (Highland) 973-459-4250, option #5
Scottsdale Insurance Co 800-423-7675
Selective 866-455-9969
Selective – Flood 877-348-0552
Southern Cross Underwriters 252-247-2519
Specialty Agency 888-729-7900
Travelers – Commercial 800-238-6225
Travelers – Personal 800-252-4633
USLI 866-632-2003
Zurich 800-987-3373

 

There is a chance that Rue Insurance could lose power during a severe storm.  If this is the case, our land line will not be available.  Therefore, you can contact our Rue Emergency Claims Cell Phone at 609-977-5708.

For emergency restoration companies click here.

New Jersey Emergency Restoration Companies

Every second counts when it comes to an emergency restoration of your home or business. This realization was a painful one for the tri-state area during Super Storm Sandy. That being said a new hurricane is forming and may make land fall in our area as soon as Sunday. Experts are having a difficult time predicting the path of Hurricane Joaquin, therefore, it is essential to take the necessary precautions to protect your livelihood.

Joaquin Path Emergency Restoration

At Rue Insurance, we have taken the time to put together a list of emergency restoration companies. We strongly urge all of our clients and neighbors to take the time to review the list below and plan ahead.

Many of these companies are able to coordinate the entire process from protecting your home or business from additional damage post-storm to getting everything back to pre-disaster condition. Services include, but are not limited to, board-ups & tarping, tree removal, water extraction, and fire restoration. There are many other contractors and restoration companies that may be able to assist you. Be sure to remember to confirm that any home improvement contractor that you select is licensed.

To access the NJ Division of Community Affairs to check home improvement contractor licenses, click here.  For more information and tips on selecting a home improvement contractor, click here.

Emergency Restoration Contact List

Company Name Web Address Phone
Belfor Property Restoration www.belforusa.com 877-388-8052
Carpet Tech N/A 609-333-1900
Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. www.irs-restoration.com 800-634-0261
Northeast Power Dry www.nepowerdry.com 888-379-7970
PuroClean www.purocleandrs.net 732-671-0990
ServePro of Aberdeen/Holmdel www.serproaberdeenholmdel.com 732-290-3170
Service Master Clean www.servicemasterclean.com 732-292-4550
ServPro of Freehold www.servprofreehold.com 732-431-4440
ServPro of Middletown www.servepromiddletown.com 732-530-9009

If you have an emergency, the first priority is always life and safety.  If there are pressing safety issues, evacuate the building and call 9-1-1. The next priority is to stabilize the situation and begin immediate mitigation to prevent further damage. If you will be filing an insurance claim, it is also important to contact your insurance carrier. Many of the provided contractors can work directly with your insurance company to streamline the process for you.

For more information on Hurricane Joaquin click here.

If you have any questions or concerns be sure to contact one of Rue Insurance’s risk management specialists at (609) 586-7474.

Employee Dishonesty Insurance

Employee DishonestyARE YOU PROTECTED?

Employee Dishonesty Insurance protects you from loss of money, securities, or inventory resulting from allegations of employee dishonesty and embezzlement.

Fraud and embezzlement in the workplace is on the rise, occurring in even the best work environments.   From fictitious employees, dummy accounts payable, non-existent suppliers to outright theft of money, securities and property.  These schemes involve every possible angle, taking advantage of any potential weakness in your company’s financial controls.

Because crime-related losses are not typically covered by most property insurance policies, crime insurance is a necessary component for any business.  Unfortunately, the majority of businesses don’t purchase enough crime protection.

If you are interested in learning more about this option or to discuss your current limit of coverage, please contact your Rue Insurance service representative at 1-800-272-4RUE.

For information in regards to employment related insurance follow the link to our employment practices liability blog: https://wp.me/p2GpU7-9r

Stay up to date on all your insurance needs by following us on Facebook and LinkedIn!

 

 

Rental Car Insurance Considerations

 

When it comes to renting vehicles for business use, it’s important to understand your coverage options to smooth out any surprise bumps in the road. Since coverage varies from one rental agency to the next, it’s important to know the risks and how to protect against them.

For years, we have been advising our clients to purchase hired car physical damage on their business auto policy and to reject the “insurance” offered when you rent a car. Since hired car physical damage covers rented vehicles the same as it would an owned vehicle, why pay more for loss damage waiver (LDW) or a collision damage waiver (CDW)? Because rental agreements have evolved in recent years and possibly create pitfalls for auto renters.

About Your Business Auto Policy

If you are relying on your hired car physical damage on your business auto policy to protect you, but the vehicle isn’t rented by the business, the hired car physical damage coverage won’t respond to claims. Your employees should use the business name on the agreement and pay with a business credit card, if possible.

Each year, the liabilities assumed under rental agreements expand. At one time, renters were responsible only for actual damage to or theft of the vehicle. Over the years, the rental car companies added loss of use. As a result, if the car is in the shop for two weeks after an accident, you, the renter, are liable for the revenue the rental car company has lost. Plus, storage fees may be passed on to you. In addition, some agreements require that you pay for “diminution of value.” This is the reduction in resale value for a vehicle that has been in an accident. If you purchase the LDW or CDW offered by the car rental company, your responsibility for damages will be waived.

About Rental Insurance

Should you use coverage from the rental car company and remove the hired car physical damage from your business auto policy? This would be a good solution if you could rely on the rental car coverage. Unfortunately, there are provisions in every rental contract that can void the coverage. For example, coverage is often voided if the driver has a single drink before driving; if he asks someone to drive in his place and that person is not listed as an authorized driver; if the driver is under the age specified in the rental contract; or if the car is taken on unpaved roads. Unfortunately, there are many ways to void the LDW/CDW, and they vary from one agreement to the next.

About Personal Auto Policies

Some personal auto policies won’t cover an SUV, van, or pickup being used for business. Plus, a personal auto policy won’t cover if the employee doesn’t carry comprehensive and collision – a likely case if the employee drives an older vehicle. Some policies exclude loss of use and all exclude diminution of value. And, if the personal auto policy does pay the claim, it will be on the driver’s loss record and might result in cancellation of coverage.

About Credit Card Coverage

Will the credit card used to rent the vehicle pay for the loss if your insurance doesn’t? To activate coverage, the cardholder must be the primary renter and must decline the LDW/CDW. Nothing is standard with credit card coverage, and it may be changed from time to time at the credit card company’s discretion. Also, if you violate any terms of the rental agreement, the credit card coverage is voided when you need it most. Many credit cards exclude rented SUVs, and some exclude any weather-related damage, like flood and hail.

Minimizing the Risk

What should you do to minimize your risk? We recommend:

* Dealing with one corporate-approved rental company, if possible. This will establish that the rentals are for business use and that the business is renting the vehicle, not the employee. Review the contracts of at least three rental car companies and choose the one that best suits you. Make sure to sign a blanket agreement for all rentals and keep a copy on file.

* Taking the LDW/CDW coverage, or self-insure any exposures not covered by hired car physical damage. Such exposures typically include loss of use, diminution of value, storage fees, administration and claims expenses. Some loss of use may be provided by your Business Auto policy. Ask us to review this for you. Depending on how often your firm rents vehicles and the cost of LDW/CDW, self-insuring might be a good option.

* If you purchase LDW/CDW, make your employees understand the “Prohibited Uses” or other section that explains actions that will void coverage, even though you paid for it.

* Continue to carry hired car physical damage on your business auto policy.

Proper Planning is No Accident

Questions?   Please contact your Rue Insurance service representative at 1-800-272-4RUE.

Millennial Misconceptions of Insurance: Your First Home

First HomeThere is a short list of goals that make up what is known as the “American Dream.” Within these goals one is particularly important to demonstrate your success, buying your first home. So what happens when that dream home, condominium, or town house is part of a homeowners association (HOA)? Statistics show that one in six Americans live in a homeowners association and of those even fewer have more than the minimum limit for what is known as loss assessment coverage.

Being part of a homeowners association is a shared financial responsibility amongst you and all of your neighbors. The technical definition is coverage that pays on your behalf your share of an assessment charged against all members of a homeowners association (you and your neighbors) as a result of a covered loss. You may be asking what this means and how it would affect you. In short, the HOA has a master policy that covers incidents outside your personal unit or home. So when there is an assessment for a hurricane that rips the siding off the clubhouse, little Tommy’s friend gets hurt in the swimming pool, or a pipe burst in the community fitness center, the homeowners association’s policy will cover it up to the limit on the policy, after the deductible if applicable. This is when the loss assessment coverage kicks into place. If your dream home’s HOA doesn’t have adequate limits then you and the rest of your neighbors are on the hook to pay the excess. To quantify this point, if your HOA has $1,000,000 in coverage and there is a $1,500,000 claim, then the members would have to pay that excess $500,000 divided equally amongst them.

At this point you may be thinking to yourself- my quote machine (sorry, I mean agent) told me that I have loss assessment coverage. That is true; all homeowners policies are built in with a $1,000 limit. With that in mind let’s go back to that $500,000. If there are 20 members of the HOA you will be paying roughly $25,000 each. That coverage your agent told you about will make sure that you only have to pay $24,000.

At this point in time I will reference the late Billy Mays when I say “but wait, there’s more” and in my opinion the most disturbing aspect of this coverage. Let’s say that the community fitness center was flooded around four months before you moved in. Everything was fine and dandy when you moved but a couple weeks later you get the news that you have to pay that $25,000 when you weren’t even living in the community. The date of the occurrence that generated the assessment is not a factor as long as the assessment is made during your policy period.

Buying your first home should be a joyous occasion; thus, buying a policy online or from a company that wants to write as many policies as possible just isn’t good enough. I asked some of the personal insurance advisors what it would cost to add the maximum coverage, $50,000, to a policy. Depending on the carrier the coverage ranges from $16 to around $60 a year. In most but not all cases this additional coverage is something that you as the client need to make your agent aware of.

Therefore, it seems as though the overarching theme of these blogs is that the minimum just isn’t good enough. You don’t achieve the “American Dream” by meeting the basic requirements so why would you put your trust in a company that sees that as the best way to do business? Insurance is one thing in our society that everyone is required to have but very few understand. My goal is to educate you in this area and keep that hard earned money where it deserves to be, in your wallet. If you belong to a homeowners association or are moving into a community that has one, be sure to contact your agent and review your loss assessment coverage.

For additional information and questions contact Rue Insurance at 609-586-7474

Alec Wells

Business Development Coordinator/ Resident Millennial