Commercial Insurance Prices Dropped 4% in Q3, Reports Towers Perrin

Commercial insurance prices dropped four percent during the third quarter of 2008 compared to the same quarter a year ago, according to Tower Perrin’s most recent commercial lines insurance pricing
and profitability trends (CLIPS) survey.

This deterioration, while less severe than the five percent drop seen in the second quarter of 2008, comes at the front end of the decline in the financial markets, and the full effect of the current global economic downturn on commercial prices has not yet been captured.

Property pricing softened considerably, while price changes in specialty lines remained fairly flat for the second consecutive quarter, according to the survey.

Updated loss ratio indications from the survey show accident year 2007 loss ratios deteriorating 11 percent relative to 2006, and the partial indication for accident year 2008 shows a 10 percent decline.

“The overall deterioration in pricing is a continuation of the trend cited
when we published our first survey almost four years ago,” said Jeanne Hollister, Towers Perrin managing principal and Property/Casualty Insurance practice leader for the Americas region. “We do, however, expect to see abatement in soft market conditions in the U.S., as companies consider a number of factors in their pricing decisions, including equity and credit-related losses to asset portfolios, a continuation of poor underwriting results in many sectors, heavy weather-related losses and a forecasted spike in directors and officers liability claims.

“In our view, the industry is fast approaching a point where the underwriting results are no longer favorable relative to economic hurdle rates, and that generally signals a ‘tipping point’ in terms of companies’ pricing actions,” added Hollister.

Towers Perrin said that CLIPS data are based on both new and renewal business obtained directly from carriers underwriting the business, and indicate more conservative price reductions than other marketplace surveys.

CLIPS participants include the majority of both the top 10 commercial lines companies and the top 25 insurance groups in the U.S.
Source: Towers Perrin


No Byline. Insurance Journal. 2008/12/15.

Those seeking a place to live, work or raise a family in a safe and secure environment should consider the Pacific Northwest, according to the fifth annual Most Secure U.S. Places to Live rankings from Farmers Insurance Group of Companies. The rankings, compiled by database experts at, took into consideration crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, housing depreciation, foreclosures, air quality, life expectancy and job loss numbers in 379 U.S. municipalities. The study divided the communities into three groups: large metropolitan areas, mid-size cities and small towns. The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash., area encompassing Puget Sound topped all large metropolitan areas (population of 500,000 or greater) in the 2008 study. A high job growth rate and long life expectancy, along with minimal housing depreciation and lack of extreme weather contributed to the area’s top rating in the study. The area is home to such Fortune 500 companies as, Nordstrom, Starbucks, Safeco Corp. and T-Mobile USA. Olympia, Wash., repeats its 2007 honor as the most secure mid-size U.S. city (population between 150,000 and 500,000), while Corvallis, Ore., also defends its title as the most secure small town (population less than 150,000). The Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area, which was not ranked in the Top 20 in the first three years of the Farmers study, jumped from 17th place among the large metropolitan cities in 2007 to first place in 2008. The Portland/Beaverton, Ore./ Vancouver, Wash., area ranks second among large cities in this year’s study, while Honolulu, Hawaii, is third. This marks the fifth straight year Honolulu is ranked in the Top 20 among large cities. Las Cruces, N.M., is second to Olympia among the most secure mid-size cities, with Salem, Ore., third. Las Cruces took top honors among mid-size cities in the 2006 Farmers study, while Olympia has been ranked in the Top 20 all five years of the study. Bismarck, N.D., and Logan, Utah, rank second and third, respectively, behind Corvallis among the most secure small towns. It is Bismarck’s third consecutive appearance in the Top 20, and the second year in a row for Logan. Following are the rankings:

        Large Metro Areas (500,000 or more residents)

        1.                          Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, Wash.

2.                          Portland-Beaverton, Ore./Vancouver, Wash.

3.                          Honolulu, Hawaii

4.                          El Paso, Tex.

5.                          Tacoma, Wash.

6.                          Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.

7.                          San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif.

8.                          Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, Md.

9.                          Salt Lake City, Utah

10.                      Pittsburgh, Pa.

11.                      McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas

12.                      San JoseSunnyvaleSanta Clara, Calif.

13.                      Albuquerque, N.M.

14.                      Boise City-Nampa, Idaho

15.                      Austin-Round Rock, Tex.

16.                      Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

17.                      Nassau-Suffolk Counties, N.Y.

18.                      Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, Me.

19.                      Edison, N.J.

20.                      Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Conn.


Mid-Size Cities (150,000 – 500,000 residents)

21.                      Olympia, Wash.

22.                      Las Cruces, N.M.

23.                      Salem, Ore.

24.                      Bremerton-Silverdale, Wash.

25.                      Bellingham, Wash.

26.                      Provo-Orem, Utah

27.                      Ogden-Clearfield, Utah

28.                      Lancaster, Pa.

29.                      Lynchburg, Va.

30.                      Charleston, W.Va.

31.                      Sioux Falls, S.D.

32.                      Kennewick-Richland-Pasco, Wash.

33.                      Huntington, W.Va.-Ashland, Ky.

34.                      Fargo, N.D.

35.                      Roanoke, Va.

36.                      Eugene-Springfield, Ore.

37.                      Appleton, Wis.

38.                      Charlottesville, Va.

39.                      Spokane, Wash.

40.                      Laredo, Tex.

Small Towns (Fewer than 150,000 residents)

41.                      Corvallis, Ore.

42.                      Bismarck, N.D.

43.                      Logan, Utah

44.                      Wenatchee, Wash.

45.                      State College, Pa.

46.                      Lewiston, Idaho

47.                      Morgantown, W.Va.

48.                      Harrisonburg, Va.

49.                      Billings, Mont.

50.                      Santa Fe, N.M.

51.                      Wheeling, W.Va.

52.                      Grand Junction, Colo.

53.                      Lebanon, Pa.

54.                      Grand Forks, N.D.

55.                      Casper, Wyo.

56.                      Wausau, Wis.

57.                      Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Wash.

58.                      Farmington, N.M.

59.                      Midland, Tex.

60.                      Great Falls, Mont.

Retail Shopping Center Loss Prevention Program

The Retail Shopping Center Loss Prevention program is specifically designed for

building owners or managers who rent or lease, in whole or part, their buildings to

others. Named insureds will be from a broad range of varying types, and can

include partnerships, corporations, trust funds, or property management firms.

The real estate industry is one of America’s largest and most important tangible

assets. The development, construction and growth of increasingly sophisticated

commercial businesscenters and retail centers is projected to continue well into the

future as more and improved buildings will be needed to suit the expanding needs

of America.  Success in real estate ownership lies in the ability to professionally manage the

investment. Whether you turn this responsibility over to a professional property

management firm or retain direct control, the following guide will assist you in

your safety efforts.


CLICK ON: My Shared Files to get a FREE COPY of our Retail Shopping Center Loss Prevention Program


Michael Estrin. Yahoo! Finance. 2008/12/8.

Almost half of the 87 million Americans living in rental housing have no insurance on the contents of their home and stand to face a total loss in the even of theft or fire — an increasing concern as we head into the holiday season. When it comes to whether or not to purchase renters insurance, the answer should be a resounding yes, says Janet Portman, a lawyer and managing editor of the Nolo legal series, which publishes her book, “Every Tenant’s Legal Guide.” But for a product that Portman calls, “absolutely a good thing to have,” surprisingly few renters are actually on board. A recent Allstate survey shows some 43 million renters would be left hanging with the total value of their lost or damaged possessions, something most renters simply can’t afford to do. While there are a lot of reasons why people put off buying renters insurance, Jeff Moree, a product director for Allstate, says the root cause of the problem appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of renters insurance. So, with that in mind, we’ll start with some common misconceptions. After that, we’ll look at what you need to know as an informed buyer. 5 bad reasons for not buying renters insurance:


  1. My landlord’s insurance covers me
    Wrong. Your landlord’s insurance covers his building, but will likely never include your personal possessions, says Portman, who points out that your property is always your responsibility to insure.
  2. Buying renters insurance is too expensive
    To be fair, prices vary when it comes to renters insurance. But it’s a relatively cheap product as far as insurance goes. Moree estimates that a renter could obtain coverage for as little as 50 cents per day, depending on the total value of his or her household items. But for most renters, coverage should run about $250 per year, according to Kelly Lyttle, a manager of personal insurance lines for William Gammon Insurance. That figure works out to about 68 cents per day — far less than your daily cup of coffee at Starbucks.
  3. My stuff isn’t worth enough to insure
    If you’re living in your first apartment, sitting on a couch you bought at a garage sale or watching a television that was a hand-me-down from your parents, it’s easy to say your possessions are essentially worthless. But that would be a big mistake, says Moree, who adds renters should think in terms of the total cost they would incur tomorrow should a catastrophe happen today. “It adds up very quickly, and it can be expensive to replace everything in your apartment, from clothes to furniture,” Moree says. To get an idea of how quickly costs add up, representatives from Allstate went to stores like Wal-Mart, IKEA and Bed, Bath & Beyond to determine a rough cost of outfitting an entire apartment all at once. Factoring in high-end items such as home electronics and things that people often forget about, like toothbrushes and socks, Allstate found that it would cost a single renter living in a one bedroom apartment more than $13,000 to replace everything he or she owns.
  4. It’s only my stuff
    While most people think of renters insurance as a mechanism for replacing lost or damaged possessions, a standard policy also includes liability coverage. In the classic example, a renter’s liability coverage will kick in when a guest in their home slips and falls. That policy will not only provide money in the event that the renter is held liable for their guest’s injuries, it also will provide for the renter’s legal defense. Likewise, a renter’s liability coverage will kick in when his or her negligence results in property loss for other tenants in the building. For example, a renter who lets his bathtub overflow and causes water damage to a downstairs neighbor should be able to mitigate his out-of-pocket expenses by filing a claim on his own policy rather than having to pick up the tab for replacing his neighbor’s damaged property. But Portman says some policies may protect a renter even further, covering, for example, a negligent act committed off premises. A classic example is a renter being sued because his or her dog bit a pedestrian while walking through the neighborhood. While the example is obviously applicable to renters with dogs, Portman points out that good off-premises coverage could help protect the renter against a number of legal assaults in much the same way that homeowners are protected by their policies. And that’s not a bad bit of protection to have in an increasingly litigious world.
  5. It takes too long
    Shopping is what you make of it, and while all the experts recommend you price policies online and then work with an insurance agent who can tailor a policy to your specific needs, the truth of the matter is that buying renters insurance could be done in about 30 minutes. “Buying renters insurance is far easier than purchasing auto insurance,” says Moree. “It should take a fraction of the time and there will be far fewer questions to answer. The primary factor driving price will likely be the amount of coverage you’re buying, where you live and any applicable discounts you may be entitled to, based on your age or the fact that you have other policies with the same company. 6 tips for buying your renters policy  to read the entire article, go here:
Renters Insurance protects your stuff!

Renters Insurance protects your stuff!

Are You Driving on Safe Wheels?

Dear friends & colleagues:

A lot of us have plans to drive out of town for the holidays, please keep this tips in mind when preparing your vehicle for the trip.  Let’s have a safe holiday season.

Holiday Safety Tips

Holiday Safety Tips





Farmers Insurance Group® Survey Shows 14% of those Surveyed Never Check Their Tire Pressure

— While most vehicle owners provide regular maintenance to their cars’ engines, batteries and other under-the-hood parts, a Farmers Insurance Group® survey shows that many drivers ignore one of the most important safety features on their cars: their tires.

In a national survey of 1,001 individuals, more than 29 percent of the respondents said they do not check the treads on their tires more than once a year, nor do they have their wheels aligned and tires balanced more than once every two years.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire failure and blowouts contribute to approximately 414 deaths and 10,275 non-fatal injuries each year. Under inflated tires are one of the leading causes of tire failure, and since tires may naturally lose air over time, maintaining tire pressure is considered integral to tire safety.

“It only takes about five minutes to check the safety of your tires,” said Farmers spokesperson Jeffrey C. Beyer, chief communications officer & senior vice president. “By doing so, you can reduce the risk of a tire failure accident, increase the life of your tires, improve your car’s handling and even save money on fuel.”

In the survey, nearly one fourth (24 percent) said they do not check their tire pressure more than once a year, and 14 percent admitted they never check their tire pressure.

Furthermore, one-third (33.3 percent) of those polled said they do not even keep a tire pressure gauge in their vehicle.

“You can’t usually tell if your tires are properly inflated just by looking, kicking or pressing on the tire,” Farmers spokesperson Beyer said. “It’s a good safety practice to keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle at all times.”

To get an accurate reading, measure tire pressure when the tires are cold; that is, when the vehicle hasn’t been driven for at least three hours. Even driving one mile can heat up the tires, making an accurate measurement difficult.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tires should be replaced when the tread wears down to 1/16 of an inch, which can be easily measured using a Lincoln penny. Insert the penny so that Lincoln’s head is pointing toward the tread. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tire.

Farmers Insurance recommends the following tire safety checklist:

    1. Keep a tire gauge in each vehicle and make sure tire valves have valve caps.
    2. Check tire pressure at least once a month, including the spare. Always fill tires to the pounds per square inch (PSI) number recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
    3. Inspect tires for uneven wear patterns on the treads, as well as for cracks or other signs of wear or trauma. Also, check for stones, glass, metal or other objects that may be wedged in the tread.
    4. Check tire pressure before going on long trips. Do not “bleed” or reduce air pressure when tires are hot — it is normal for pressures to build up while driving.
    5. Make sure the wheels are aligned and the tires are properly balanced. Check your owner’s manual for information on how often your tires should be rotated and the best pattern for rotation.
    6. Old, worn tires can cause accidents. Replace any tires that have been damaged or that have badly-worn tread.
    7. Do not overload a vehicle. Check the tire information placard or owner’s manual for the maximum recommended load for the vehicle.
    8. When towing a trailer, remember that some of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to the towing vehicle.




No Byline. KMBC-ABC (Kansas City). 2008/11/30. A covering of fresh snow makes for a beautiful glimpse of Mother Nature. But in many parts of the country, winter weather makes for challenging driving conditions — ice, sleet and snow can mean treacherous trips. Before you pull out of the driveway, whether you’re headed cross country or just across town, take a minute to ensure that your car is ready for winter conditions and that you are prepared in case of an emergency with these tips from Farmers Insurance. If you live in a cold, snowy part of the country, you’ll want to give your car a winter once-over. If you have a set of snow tires, have your mechanic put them on. You’ll also want to change to a lighter weight motor oil for winter temperatures; check your antifreeze level while you’re at it. Make sure your headlights are in good working order, and replace your windshield wiper blades if necessary. Check your windshield wiper fluid level periodically; visibility is more important than ever in the winter. Common sense is your best weapon in winter driving. Check weather conditions before you start out on a trip. If bad weather is predicted on your route, postpone your departure. If driving conditions deteriorate while you’re on the road, pull off until the situation improves, even if that means spending the night in a hotel. If you’re driving in snow, adjust your speed for the condition of the road — just because the speed limit is 65 doesn’t mean that’s how fast you should be going. On slippery roads, it is more important than ever to employ defensive driving techniques. Be aware of your surroundings and the traffic around you. Leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you in case you need to stop. Get a feel for how your car handles in ice and snow and drive accordingly. If your car is equipped with antilock breaks, practice using them in a deserted parking lot or other safe area so you know what to expect if you have to apply them suddenly. If you’re on a long trip, give yourself enough traveling time so you can take breaks to help eliminate fatigue. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 100,000 police-reported crashes annually involve drowsiness and fatigue as a principal cause. “Driving while tired or drowsy is something many drivers have experienced or will experience at some point,” says Greg Ciezadlo of Farmers Insurance. While some drivers use tactics such as turning the radio on full blast or opening a window to let in some cold air, these methods are not reliable for preventing sleep attacks while driving. Instead, experts say the only sure way to combat drowsy driving is to take a 20-minute nap, then drive to the closest safe resting spot (hotel, friend’s house) and sleep. Even the most careful driver can run into trouble during the winter. Be prepared for the unexpected, whether that means a minor fender bender or getting stuck in a ditch. Be sure to carry evidence of your car insurance with you at all times in case you need that information. Cell phones can be invaluable during an emergency. If you don’t own one, consider investing in a limited use phone that you can keep in the car. It’s also a good idea to always keep your gas tank at least half full. If you’re stranded, you will want to run the engine for heat (just remember to leave the window open a crack). Finally, stock your car with a winter emergency kit. You can fit most of the items in an old coffee can or in a plastic container and stash it in your trunk — just in case. Your emergency kit should include:


  • a blanket
  • a candle and matches (provides heat and light)
  • road flares
  • bottled water
  • power bars or candy bars
  • basic first aid supplies
  • a snow/ice scraper
  • a bag of kitty litter (to give traction to spinning wheels)

The goal, of course, is to never have to use the emergency kit, but if you’re ever in a situation where you need it, you’ll be glad you took the time to gather up these items. A little planning and patience can make all the difference in winter driving. For more information, visit