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Only in Cali

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Only in Cali

I have had the opportunity to do quite a bit of traveling and I have learned that every town, country, and isl and has its own unique personality. The Caribbean isl anders have a laid back jovial spirit. It is what it is. The people in New York have some serious issues with patience. Everyone seems to be late. The people in Texas are extremely friendly and everybody seems to be early. Did you know that there are places in Texas in which people will pull all the way over, completely off of the road to let someone who’s moving a little faster get by? Right now, everyone that lives in LA is going WHAT?

I pick on Los Angeles a lot. The reason that I pick on Los Angeles so much is because I spend a lot of time there. The people in California are different than anywhere else, and the people in Los Angeles complete different than all of the other people in California. When most people think of California, they think of Los Angeles, but Los Angeles is not a good representative of the rest of the state in any way. A large part of California is dedicated to farming and another significant portion to National Parks. Even with a huge state with close to 40 million people, that much space has to change the dynamic as far as how risks are measured for insurance purposes.

With so much open country the risk factors change. For instance, living in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills places you in a higher premium bracket. An area that densely populated comes with risks. Actually, the majority of premium costs in L.A County is spent on health insurance (plastic surgery). When you span the vast territory of this great state you will become totally awestruck. The state has some of the most beautiful country sides ever. Don’t get too use to the country sides and the brush, some idiot is going to come along and set it on fire. Thus, everyone is California has super fire insurance. You don’t want to know what super fire insurance is. Well, I will tell you anyway. Super fire insurance is that insurance that has premiums that could actually pay for homes in other states.

In Texas, you can get a 5,000 square foot home for around $800 gr and. I tried to take that same budget to California and you should have seen what they showed me. The cost of living is ridiculous. As stated earlier, there are people in California paying premium higher than that. Not really, but I know it feels like it.

On a different note; I know that insurance is necessary and that it can help a family get back on track in the event of some type of catastrophic event, but there are certain things that money can’t replace. I have viewed some of the faces of people who have lost their homes to brush fires and it makes you feel their pain. Kudos to the insurance agents, adjusters, and companies that work hard to put a smile back on the faces of these devastated people.

Okay, enough of that. California is the only state that could be so culturally diverse and yet have a personality so distinctive and cohesive; even when you consider Los Angeles.

Earthquakes – Not Just a California Problem

When you live in California, the song "I Feel the Earth Move" is more than just a fun tune for dancing. The Golden State is known for Hollywood, smog and earthquakes. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Southern California experiences over 10,000 earthquakes a year. Most are so small, no one feels them. However, there are quakes that we do feel, and those are the ones that can do the most damage to property and cause injuries.So, to protect ourselves when the earth decides it needs to adjust itself, we have insurance.

But California isn’t the only state that deals with earthquakes, so don’t think that just because you live in Roanoke you don’t have to worry about it. The USGS reports that 39 states could experience an significant earthquake. Significant being a quake of at least a 7.5 magnitude on the Richter scale. That means 75 million people at any given point might see their wedding pictures quiver, their china shimmy and their dogs running around barking at the ground.

Check with your insurance agent and find out your risk for an earthquake. Once you know the possibilties you can decide if earthquake insurance is right for you.

Protecting your home from wildfires

Protecting your home from wildfires

Many people think of wildfires as a danger that threatens only residents of western states, and California in particular. The fact is, however, that wildfires can occur just about anywhere conditions are favorable.

Regardless of what part of the country you live in, if your home is in a more remote or rural location such as woodl ands, grassl ands and mountain areas. you may be at greater risk for experiencing a wildfire. In addition, firefighting services may be more limited in rural areas than in urban settings.

So it’s important for you to take an active role in wildfire prevention and protection. Here are a few steps you can take:

Your home’s surroundings

  • Create a defensible zone at least 30 to 100 feet around your home. This includes thinning trees and shrubs, installing irrigation, and replacing native trees and plants with fire-resistant varieties. To learn more about defensible zones, check websites such as www.fs.fed.us/fire by the USDA Forest Service.
  • Give your yard a good annual clean-up and maintenance. Prune tree limbs within 10 feet of your home, clear away dead plants or branches, and remove pine needles, leaves and other debris from the yard, roof, and gutters. Use caution and be careful to stay away from overhead wires.

Your home

  • Consider building or retrofitting your home with non-flammable materials. For example, consider replacing any wood shake roofs, which will act as fuel for a brush fire, and using tempered glass for exterior windows.
  • Install spark arresters in chimneys.
  • Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers and make sure they are working properly.
  • Teach all adult family members how to use the fire extinguishers and how to shut off utilities.

You and your family

  • Develop a wildfire plan for you and your family, so you’ll know how to respond when wildfires approach. Many wildfires begin small, but spread quickly. If a wildfire threatens your area and you are asked by authorities to evacuate, you may not have much time to prepare.
  • Keep an updated inventory of your personal property and important documents in a fire-resistant safe or a secure, off-site location (such as a safety deposit box).
  • Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers and make sure they are working properly.
  • Check your homeowners insurance to make sure you have adequate coverage for your home and personal belongings. Your agent will be happy to help review your coverage amounts and make appropriate recommendations.

Source: Insurance Information Institute; www.iii.org

Healthcare Reform in California

Lawmakers will need to move quickly to clear the way for Californians’ enrollment in a new state-run insurance market next fall in the run-up to the Affordable Care Act.

Lots changes happening, lots of changes every day.

When state lawmakers are sworn in Monday for the new legislative session, they will have little time to enjoy the pomp and circumstance.

Facing a federal deadline, the Legislature must move quickly to pass measures to implement President Obama’s healthcare law and revamp the state’s insurance market. New legislation will help extend coverage to millions of uninsured Californians and solidify the state’s reputation as a key laboratory for the federal law.

Legislative leaders have said they also want to overhaul environmental regulations, curb soaring tuition at public colleges, and tweak the state’s tax structure and ballot-initiative system.

But healthcare remains one of the largest and most immediate challenges.  Read on, this is important stuff.

The federal Affordable Care Act takes effect in January 2014, when most Americans face the requirement to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. State lawmakers must pass a series of rules to clear the way for enrollment in a new state-run insurance market next fall, including a requirement for insurers to cover consumers who have preexisting medical conditions and limits on how much they can charge based on age.

Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to call a special session of the Legislature next month — concurrent with the regular session — so healthcare bills that he signs can take effect within 90 days rather than the next year.

“It’s a very, very big undertaking to make the promise of the Affordable Care Act a reality,” said state Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley. “We are working as hard and as fast as we can in a very complex area with a lot of conflicting information.”

As an early adopter of the Affordable Care Act, California has already laid much of the groundwork.

It was the first state to establish an insurance exchange after Congress passed the legislation in 2010. More than 30 other states have since sought federal help in enacting their own. Millions of Californians will be able to purchase coverage, with federal subsidies earmarked for families earning about $92,000 or less annually.

One of the most significant proposals will be an expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s health insurance program for the poor. About 2 million low-income Californians would be newly eligible under the expansion, with the federal government subsidizing costs for the first three years. The state would then shoulder a portion of the bill.

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, the expansion could cost the state $6.3 billion over a decade, meaning a 1.7% increase in the amount California spends on Medi-Cal.

California got a head start on the effort by signing up more than 550,000 low-income people in a temporary program. They are expected to automatically move into Medi-Cal in 2014.

Lawmakers will also consider legislation that would create a health plan for people who cannot afford insurance on the open market but make too much money to qualify for Medi-Cal. The option, known as the Basic Health Plan, would provide coverage for individuals with incomes between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty level, or between $15,000 and $21,800 a year.

State Sen. Ed Hern andez (D-West Covina), chairman of the Senate Health Committee and author of the proposal, said the plan was needed to help California’s working poor. “I don’t think they should be choosing between putting food on the table and buying health insurance,” he said.

Insurers urged lawmakers to resist requirements that could make policies offered through the exchange unaffordable.

“We think the Affordable Care Act does much to get millions of people coverage, but new insurance taxes, costly benefit requirements and age pricing restrictions all have the potential of driving up costs,” said Nicole Evans, a spokeswoman for the California Assn. of Health Plans.

Healthcare advocates said it was critical for the Legislature to promote policies that would ensure a mix of healthy and sick policyholders to keep premiums affordable.

“It should be a goal of the state to have millions of people enrolled on Day 1,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of the consumer group Health Access California, “to bring in those federal dollars and make healthcare cheaper for everybody.”

 

Give Me a Home, Where the Buffalo Roam

[youtube]http://youtu.be/jLeQD-FzEdw[/youtube]Travelers Insurance executive Stephanie McNamara leads us on a tour of the company’s phenomenal 108,000 square foot facility in Windsor, Connecticut. Equipped with two full-scale and furnished home models as well as a small business “Windsor Mini-Mart” model, a heavy equipment lab and an auto repair training facility, this university trains an average of 8,500 Travelers Claim professions annually.

As Stephanie emphasizes, Travelers Home Insurance strives to “not just refund your loss, but to restore your life.” Along these lines, Travelers home insurance protects not just your residence, but you personal belongings as well. Every aspect of how a claim loss might affect you and your family is addressed. The company pays for you to stay in a hotel during the repair or rebuilding process and replaces the materials, appliances and materials used in the original construction of your home with those of similar quality, regardless of the higher present day costs. This is an important promise. Despite decreased home value recently, the costs of building materials continues to rise. For example, copper wiring has increased 19 percent, insulation by 12 percent and asphalt shingles by eight percent just in the past year!

Stephanie also makes the sobering point that adequate home insurance is not just a necessity for individuals who live “somewhere else” or in a potentially dangerous area such as Watts. She cites that over 4.5 million Americans live in areas impacted by weather-related disasters in just the past five years. In 2011 alone, there were 14 separate weather disasters — each a catastrophe to every resident affected — that caused over one billion dollars in damage each.

Customers can take action to help reduce the cost of their home insurance policies and their insurance premiums. In some cases, the installation of a security system can reduce policy costs. Upgrading home electrical, plumbing and heating systems not only save you money via increased energy efficiency but also decrease your premiums and may be tax-deductible. Choosing alternative building materials — such as flame resistant supplies — when remodeling or rebuilding your home can decrease future costs. Finally, purchasing different insurance policies for your different needs — bundling — can provide a significant discount. Get a proposal now by visiting here.

Cross border insurance client

Did you know Susman Insurance Agency is licensed to h andle your insurance needs in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Washington?  You will receive the same excellent customer service whether you live 6 miles from the office or 600 miles.   Just listen to what real life client Tairy Rich had to say about her personal experience.

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