Is Santa an Insurance Nightmare?

Happy Holidays to you! 

I know that sometimes insurance companies seem ask incessant questions and may appear to be overly picky when they make recommendations for safety improvements, however, they are just trying to ensure that your home, auto, or business is in the best position to withstand and hopefully avoid any loss or damage. Sometimes insurance companies have to worry about loss exposures that are quite hazardous and unique. With this in mind, I wanted to share the following with you that I received from a insurance company colleague of mine.

The scenario is that an insurance agent has submitted an application for insurance coverage on Santa's Workshop:

Dear Insurance Agent,

We have reviewed your application sent to us last October for a package policy covering a toy manufacturing and delivery company and we have a number of concerns:

Property Coverage. Regarding the property coverage, we believe there is a serious fire hazard here, considering the paint, woodworking, etc., but worse yet, the location is so remote that protection class 10 hardly defines it. There is to our knowledge no fire department that will respond to a location at the North Pole and if you think that we're going to believe that cock and bull story about a fire suppression system using "Elf Magic," you are more confused than we already believe you to be. The weight of ice and snow is also a considerable hazard especially when you consider the reindeer training problem. Why does he want to train them on the roof anyway?

Liability Coverage. The liability situation has a few difficulties as well. "Toy sales" is the correct way to write the sales aspect, but classifying the delivery system under "chimney sweeps" may seem like creative underwriting to you, but we were not amused. The rating basis for this risk is "Sales" and you have listed his receipts as $0. Considering the amount of stock passing through his operation, you might want to employ a polygraph expert and see if you can't get some better answers. We assume you understand the term "auditable risk." If this, by some weird chance, is true, then we wouldn't want this risk anyway, because the owner is going broke in the near future. Tromping around on a customer's roof seems to us to be a property damage liability hazard, especially on a tar and gravel roof in the winter. If the insured is as hefty as shown in the picture you sent us, this guy could be punching holes in the roof with every footstep. Also, we don't look too favorably on a whole herd of reindeer wandering around on the roof of his clients' homes. Not only are there the roof damage claims, but the possible pollution exposure from all that reindeer poo-poo must be considered. We still need some explanation of how he gets them on the roof in the first place; how exactly does he "drive them up there;" these reindeer are trained in mountain climbing maybe?

Inland Marine Coverage. The cargo coverage is out of the question, simply because hauling all those goods in an "open sleigh" with no more protection than a cloth bag on a transcontinental flight is ludicrous. He would have toys scattered all over the world. You also failed to answer our question concerning the type of propulsion system and manufacturer (Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed, etc) of this sleigh.

Workers Compensation Coverage. Workers compensation may be written upon receipt of a copy of the insured's pilot's license, medical report ("Jolly and quick" doesn't qualify as a medical report, and a belly "like a bowl full of jelly" wouldn't exactly qualify the guy for that Arnold Schwartznegger award), and a report regarding his training in handling animals. We can tell you right now that there will be recommendations from engineering requiring that he have some sort of safety line and wear crampons on all deliveries. No, we won't cover the reindeer.

Fidelity Bond Coverage. Your application for a fidelity bond was a bit sketchy. If we understand this correctly, this insured goes wandering around people's living rooms one night a year. Is this with the owners' permission? In spite of the fact that he may be delivering his product directly into the home, we feel that the temptation presented herewith, not withstanding his years of loss free experience, would require a surcharged premium.

Aircraft liability. You're kidding, of course. Under "Description of Aircraft" you put "miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer." Who does this guy think he is, Santa Claus?

We appreciate your submission, but looking at the risk as a whole, we would like to pass on this one.

Regards,

Your underwriter


Although our agency does not insure Santa's workshop (hmmm, now that's an idea!) we have been able to help protect our other clients from a wide variety of losses which could cause financial distress. Call us at 308-436-4202 or click: http://www.insurance-by-katie.com/ to see how we might help you today! (And we won't even care if YOUR belly is "like a bowl full of jelly"!)

What did Santa bring you this Christmas?
During this season of gift giving and getting, it is especially important to protect your "stuff".... even if and especially if, you don't own your own home. Jeff Orloff, a blogger for http://www.rentersinsurance.org has asked to serve as a "guest blogger" on my blog in order to provide you with the following information:

Renter’s Insurance Basics



While just about anyone who has a mortgage is required to have a homeowner’s insurance policy, those who rent – whether it be a house, apartment, or condo – often forgo insurance under the assumption that their landlord’s policy will cover them in case of disaster. Unfortunately this isn’t the case.


Insurance policies held by a building’s owner protects the building’s structure, but any thing inside of the building, your possessions, are not covered. Should they be lost or damaged it is up to you to replace them out of your own pocket, unless you have renter’s insurance.


What does renter’s insurance cover?


Homeowners and renters face the same types of risks but each need a different type of insurance to protect what they have worked for all their lives. Renter’s insurance will reimburse you for damage done to your belongings in the event of:

• Fire or lightning
• Windstorm or hail
• Explosion
• Riot or civil commotion
• An accident caused by aircraft
• An accident caused by a vehicle
• Smoke
• Vandalism or malicious mischief
• Theft
• Volcanic eruption
• Falling objects
• Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
• Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance
• Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system
• Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance
• Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)


What renter’s insurance does not cover is damage done to your stuff in the event of a flood, earthquake, or hurricane. Some policies do offer supplemental insurance to cover these types of catastrophes. People in areas prone to these types of disasters should inquire about adding these on if possible.


What else you need to know about renter’s insurance


Renter’s insurance generally falls under two different types when it comes to how you are paid in the event of a loss. The first type is Actual Cash Value, or ACV, which pays you only what your belongings are worth at the time of the loss. For instance, if you paid $1000 for a computer two years ago and it is damaged in a fire your ACV policy will pay you what it is worth, which could be around $500 dollars when you factor in all of the variables.


Replacement cost coverage, on the other hand, will pay out the amount it costs to replace the item. The same computer that was damaged in the fire would be replaced without accounting for depreciation or wear and tear.


Of course, replacement cost insurance will have a higher premium cost but it is because it has a higher payout value.


So when you are putting together money for a security deposit, electrical, phone, and other utilities and you are budgeting for rent, make sure to include enough to cover a renter insurance policy to protect the things you have worked so hard to acquire over the years.


If you have additional questions about renters insurance or any other insurance related topic, feel free to contact us at The Writer Agency, LLC. Call or click: 308-436-4202  www.insurance-by-katie.com

The "Roll Lady" Attacks Pumpkin Pie

The can of pumpkin and the box of pie crust dough mock me from their perch near the stove. They seem to sneer...."go ahead, we DARE you to try it..."  Crap.


It was with this taunt echoing in my head that I found myself sitting at my dining room table with the current issue of the Parade insert from my newspaper. As I distractedly thumbed through the pages, one article caught my eyes:   The Pie that Ate My Thanksgiving.    Written by Jacquelyn Mitchard, the article expounds upon her lack of cooking talents and the pressures of creating The Thanksgiving Meal.

WOW - someone else, just like me!


Although I've been married for over 20 years, I have yet to cook a Thanksgiving meal. I have been fortunate enough to have my mom and mother-in-law around to do all the "heavy lifting" of the auspicious meal. To that end, I have been affectionately dubbed "The Roll Lady" because my sole job is to watch the crescent rolls so they don't burn. I am an EXCELLENT roll lady, if I do say so myself!


This year, however, I will be making a great majority of the meal at my house...including my mom's pumpkin pie recipe. Unlike Mitchard who was trying to live up to her deceased, legendary-cook  mother-in-law, my mother is in a different sort of heaven for the holiday.....on the beach in Mexico! Thus, I labor under the delusion that I will be able to create that tasty Thanksgiving treat all by myself!

And so ~ suppressing my terror, I don my suit of armor (apron) and wield my sword (spatula), shouting, "en gard, sir pumpkin can....get ye into the pie!" Let's hope I don't burn the house down!

And if I do, the agents at The Writer Agency LLC will be there to take care of me!  Let them take care of you and all of your little emergencies: call or click today! 308-436-4202 or www.Insurance-by-Katie.com

What's your favorite holiday food?

I'd Like a Slice of Turkey with a Side of Lawsuit, Please

Happy Holiday’s everyone!



The first snow has flown, the air is getting crisp, and I can almost smell the turkey baking! I’m one of those crazy people who love the crowds of relatives that come and go during this season. But with the increased hustle and bustle can comes the increased potential for injuries and other liabilities.


Click this link to read an interview I did for the Independent Insurance Agents of Nebraska: Personal Liability Interview


Click here for an audio version of the entire interview: Personal Liability Pod Cast
 
What is your favorite part about this holiday season?

Where the Heck is the "S"?

Isn’t it supposed to be Daylight Savings Time? Where the heck is the “s”?



Dare I digress into an English lesson….yes, let’s! Technically, the word “saving” is used in this phrase as an adjective. It describes the kind of time we are talking about: the “saving” kind of time, just like you would describe eco-friendly coffee as “sustainable development” coffee. Or perhaps it could be better written with a dash in the middle, as in: daylight-saving time. In that form, we can liken it how we use the word “man-eating” tiger.


Ok, have I brought back all those repressed memories of high-school English class?


While your head still hurts, let’s ponder this thought I came across on the Internet: “Adding to the confusion is that the phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved. Daylight Shifting Time would be better, and Daylight Time Shifting more accurate, but neither is politically desirable.”


Whew!

Regardless of how you look at it, inevitably on this day, we are compelled to correct our clocks and struggle with our bodies as they fight to adjust to the supposed “time” we supposedly just “saved”.

“Saving” on your insurance can be equally confusing. Cutting corners or raising deductibles to save money now may end up causing us pain later on. On the other hand, there are many ways a well planned risk management program can help you save on your insurance premiums. The knowledgeable staff at The Writer Agency, LLC. can aid you in reviewing your insurance costs and help you implement a risk management program.

Call 308-436-4202 or Click http://www.insurance-by-katie.com/ today!


Does anyone else hate getting up in the dark (or is it just me)?



Keep the "Trick" out of Halloween

Did your parents ever tell you that you could be whatever you wanted to be when you grew up? Mine did, and at Halloween it is definitely true!

But along with this ability to play dress-up comes increased risk: increased amount of traffic on your property, which increases the chance of someone becoming hurt or your home being damaged. In order to have a claim-free, “trick-less” Halloween, keep these tips in mind:

• When preparing for trick-or-treaters, make sure your yard and front door are as well lit as they can possibly be and ensure that you have a clutter free path. This will help prevent injury while children are entering and leaving your property throughout the night.


• Be very careful with candles around Halloween. A candle-filled pumpkin illuminating the porch is a common tradition, but in order to keep your home from catching on fire, be sure to extinguish these flames when you leave or go to bed and keep them out of the way so they do not get kicked over, causing injury or other damage.


• If you are having a Halloween party, try to keep the festivities as controlled as possible and keep your pets out of the way if you can. The last thing you want is your dog biting someone and having to file a homeowners insurance claim in the middle of your party!


If you are like me, you thoroughly enjoy Halloween, but it’s important to practice Halloween safety. That way you get more “treat” than “trick”! Call our agents at The Writer Agency, LLC and let us “treat” you to an insurance coverage review and take the “trick” out of your exposures: 308-436-4202. Or click: www.insurance-by-katie.com to read our latest newsletter with more insurance and Halloween safety tips.


What’s your favorite Halloween costume?

“It's my money and I want it now"!

If you are like me, you mute the TV every time that commercial for JG Wentworth comes on, but in reality it makes a good point: you pay for insurance coverage so that the insurance company will pay you in the event you have damages.



Now that many of you are making repairs to your damaged items after the storms of this summer it is important to keep the following things in mind:



1. If you have an HO-3 Homeowners or Special Commercial policy form, without any exclusionary wording to the contrary, (which are two of the most common policy forms) the insurance company will reimburse you for the cost to repair or the value to replace your damages. The estimated reimbursement amount is generally presented to you on your claim worksheet as three columns of figures. The “Replacement Cost” column is the estimated total amount needed in order to completely repair or replace your damages. The “Actual Cash Value” column is the amount the insurance company owes you regardless of whether you make repairs or not. The “Depreciation” column is the difference between these two figures. Once the repairs are made you're able to submit your actual expenses in order to recoup the appropriate amount of funds listed in the “Replacement Cost” column. (See the next item for the determination of the “appropriate” amount).




2. The worksheets that you received from your adjuster is simply an estimate of what they felt it would cost to repair the damages. This figure is not a guaranteed number and you could be reimbursed more or less than that number depending on your actual repair expenditures. For example, if you are able to make your repairs for less than what is listed on your estimated worksheet, that is what the company will pay: you will be reimbursed for your actual out-of-pocket expenses. On the other hand, if your actual expenses exceed that figure listed on your worksheet, it is possible to obtain reimbursement in an amount higher than is listed on your worksheet. It is important to note however, that if your damages do exceed the figure listed on your worksheet you should present this difference to the insurance company for approval prior to making any repairs.



3. Make certain to retain all of your repair bills so these can be turned into your insurance company upon completion of the repairs for reimbursement.



4. The insurance contract stipulates that you be reimbursed to such extent as to put you back into the same financial position as you were prior to the loss without betterment. What this means is that the insurance company owes you to replace and repair your items with “like kind and quality”. Of course you are free to choose to upgrade and improve your home or other damaged item during this process; however the insurance company is only obligated to reimburse you for what it would have cost to replace your damaged item with an identical type of item.




5. As a general rule, most insurance companies require that your repairs are made within 180 days (6 months) of the day when the damage occurred. In Nebraska however, it is not always possible to make these repairs before winter sets in. To that end, most insurance companies are willing to grant an extension of time in which to make these repairs upon receiving a formal request to do so. If you have outstanding damage that will exceed this 180 day period, please contact me right away in order to request the extension.


6. Most insurance policies contain a “per occurrence” deductible which means that a deductible will apply to each incident; each storm; each damage event, even if repairs for the first damages have not been made at the time of the additional damages.


No one enjoys the process of making repairs after your items are damaged. Most of us would prefer if the damage had never happened, however, unfortunately damages cannot always be avoided. The claim process can be confusing and frustrating at times and this is why you have a trusted insurance agent who can help guide you through the process in order to make it a little bit easier! It IS your money, let me help you get it now.


Find more insurance tips and information at our website: http://www.insurance-by-katie.com/  or call us at  308-436-4202

Do you have a question about your insurance claim?

When your Wheels Fall Off...and other Weirdness

Picture this: The local high school needs vehicles for auto shop class for the students to work on. Out of the goodness of your heart, you take your vehicle in to the shop to have your brakes worked on. "Children are our future" you know! A little while later, you pick up your vehicle because the repairs are complete. You drive home. By the way, your lug nuts have been over tightened and broken. You turn a corner…….your wheel falls off!



While this anecdote sounds humorous, it is a true story. An acquaintance of mine just experienced this. Thankfully no one was injured but the vehicle sustained substantial damage and she is now without a vehicle until these new repairs can be made.


1) Who pays for the repairs?


2) Who would have been at fault and would have paid if she had injured someone during the accident?


3) Who pays for alternative transportation so she can continue to go to work?


4) Will her insurance rates go up because of this accident?


Don’t leave questions like these to chance. At The Writer Agency, LLC, you can visit with our knowledgeable agents to answer these questions and more. We can help you complete a Risk Assessment to determine what dangers you may be faced with and we can show you how to protect yourself. Get the answers before the loss!

Call or click today: 308-436-4202 www.insurance-by-katie.com


Have you experienced a “weird” claim situation? Share with us.

Kitchen Fire

Family and friends are gathered in the kitchen. Food and conversation abounds. The sounds of laughing children playing in the other room echoes the sentiment felt by all. Kickoff is only minutes away and the anticipation runs high. Will this year be THE year? Who will be the starting quarterback? How will our line stack up against the opposing team?


With all the distractions, a pan has been left unattended on the stove and suddenly bursts into flame…..what do you do?

 One of the biggest things to remember is to NOT PANIC…..REMAIN CALM.

A friend of mine recently sent this information and video to me and I thought it was worth sharing. The video is only about 30 seconds. Take the time to read the information below and then watch the video.

“Dear Friends,

I was Executive Director of the Institute for Burn Medicine for San Diego
and Imperial Counties when we lived in California. Besides raising the
money to establish a Burn Treatment Center at the University Hospital
there, I conducted extensive public education campaigns in Burn
Prevention..

A friend recently sent me the attached short video - and like an old
fire-horse, I heard the bell ring and am rushing to send this excellent
prevention piece to each of you. It is well worth watching! And it could
save your life.

This is very stunning - please read first and then watch the very short clip.
I never realized that a wet dishcloth can be a one size fits all lid to
cover a fire in a pan!

This is a dramatic video (30-second, very short) about how to deal with a common kitchen fire ....oil in a frying pan. Read the following

Introduction, then watch the show ...It's a real eye-opener!!

At the Fire Fighting Training school they would demonstrate this with a
deep fat fryer set on the fire field. An instructor would don a fire suit
and using an 8 oz cup at the end of a 10-foot pole to toss water onto the
grease fire. The results got the attention of the students. The water, being heavier than oil, sinks to the bottom where it instantly becomes superheated.

The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out. On the open field, it became a thirty foot high fireball that resembled a nuclear blast.

Inside the confines of a kitchen, the fire ball hits the ceiling and fills
the entire room. Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One
cup of either creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite.

This is a powerful message----watch the video and don't forget what you see.

Tell your whole family about this video. Or better yet, send this to them.”

 We can’t always prevent fire but we can take steps to reduce the damage by implementing safety tips like this. You also can ensure you have adequate insurance to repair or replace items damaged by fire by visiting with our knowledgeable agents. Call or click: 308-436-4202 http://www.insurance-by-katie.com/

Do you have any fire safety tips you would like to share?













Three Hundred Feet Above Sea Level

The day is a balmy 90 degrees but feels like 110 with the humidity, however, a pleasant ocean breeze keeps the heat at bay. The water, an exquisite blue-turquoise, stretches as far as the eye can see and meets a coastline of brilliant white sands. What could be more perfect?

The woman is suddenly catapulted back to reality as the barefooted young man says “listo?” He grins as he starts the motor and the boat lurches forward. The woman, usually proficient in the Spanish language, realizes she can’t even formulate a coherent sentence in English at this moment, let alone remember the Spanish word for seatbelt! (By the way, there IS NO seatbelt). Before she can utter a sound or even wonder how in the world she got herself into this mess, she finds herself rising from the deck of the boat. Higher and higher she goes, the breath rushing out of her lungs as she floats, suspended above the boat by the parasail.

As she fights to quell the rising panic, questions race through her mind:

· Do they have liability insurance if something goes wrong?

· Does my health, or heaven forbid, my life insurance cover parasailing?

· Can I somehow leap away from the metal “chair of death” before we hit the water when it falls?

We all do crazy things once in a while. (Parasailing is definitely one of them!) Wondering if your insurance protects you shouldn’t be one of those things. Did you know that some liability policies require that a lawsuit be filed in the country that issued the insurance policy? (So a lawsuit filed in the USA for an incident in Mexico may not be covered by the Mexican insurance policy). Did you know that some life insurance policies may exclude death caused by specific hazardous activities, such as parasailing or bungee jumping, etc.?

Schedule a time to visit with our agents to review your risks and your insurance protections today! Call 308-436-4202 or visit our website: http://www.insurance-by-katie.com/. Oh, and keep the words for seatbelt in mind, “cinturón de seguridad”, as they might come in handy!

What’s the craziest thing you have done on vacation?


Summer Newsletter

Our summer newsletter has now been published.

You'll find out what to do now that you have received a claim check for damage from a recent storm.

You'll also learn

*  how to protect your belongings when you go on vacation or when your child goes off to college

*  about a new way to protect your farm equipment

*  and much, much more!


Check it out at: http://www.insurance-by-katie.com/attachments/pages/20/2010_SUMMER_Newsletter.pdf

You can also read past issues of our newsletter at our website: http://www.insurance-by-katie.com/



If you have any questions or a topic you wish to see in a future newsletter or this blog, post a comment here or contact me by telephone at 308-436-4202 or via email:  insurance-by-katie@embarqmail.com

Cyber Pizza Extravaganza


Tummy rumbling, mouth watering, I ordered a pizza the other night. Not earth shattering you say? Well, I placed my order over the Internet at http://www.papajohns.com/ ! Yes, you can actually order your pizza and have it delivered, hot and yummy, right to your door without speaking to a human being! Did you know that? Amazing.

Now, although I accomplished this feat of culinary delight, I didn’t say it was easy. Oh no, it took me over 25 minutes of scrolling through all my choices to finally arrive at a successful sale. The grueling task of pondering choices began with the basics:


  • What is the proper foundation for my delectable item: thick, original, or thin crust? (I need to watch those calories, you know). 
  •  Did I want spicy Italian sausage or regular sausage or perhaps just hamburger; with onions or extra cheese; perhaps a pepperoni or two? 
  • Don’t forget the ultimate choice: breadsticks, cheese sticks, or the coup d’état… garlic parmesan breadsticks!
Then down to the financial choices:
  • Should I do the extra large pizza for $12? 
  • Or what about the two large pizzas for $10 each because they are cheaper than the “build your own” option? 
  • But wouldn’t the larges be way too much pizza for us? (Can there be too much pizza?).
And don’t forget the extras that make or break a pizza:
  • Do I need crushed red pepper packets, parmesan cheese packets, and/ or special seasoning packets
  • Then, assuming I need them… how many....at the convenient price of .10¢ each?
I won’t even go into the beverage choices…….. my point is that after entirely too much brainpower was expended over something simple like dinner, the nice young man arrived at my door with precisely what I had ordered. Whew!

After that ordeal, can you imagine trying to purchase insurance on the Internet? I know many people do it, however, it seems to me that with all the choices in coverage, it could be a very difficult and confusing experience. (After all, I think getting the pizza I wanted the way I wanted was a miracle!)

As an insurance agent, it is my job and my pleasure to help people make their selections off the “insurance menu”. I enjoy explaining the variety of coverage choices and options in order to help my clients make informed decisions to protect what they value the most.

Next time you have an insurance question, give me a call 308-436-4202 or click http://www.insurance-by-katie.com/. And by all means, hold the anchovies!

What’s your favorite kind of pizza?

Food, Friends, and Insurance in Western Nebraska

I did something recently that is on my "Top-10-Things-I-Like-To-Do List": had lunch/coffee with friends. I know, that's not very earth shattering, but it contains two of my favorite things: 1) talking and 2) eating!


My first rendezvous was coffee with Dave Teche from The Essential Step in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dave and I had delicious coffee and terrific conversation about our insurance pre-licensing program in Scottsbluff and Gering. We are working on ways to promote the class to let insurance professionals, or people wanting to get into the insurance industry, about the fact that classes are now offered by me here in Western Nebraska. Through the Essential Step, Dave and I provide a variety of insurance classes which can be viewed at his website: http://www.theessentialstep.com/

The second luncheon was with Jen Bolzer from Hull and Company , also in Lincoln, Nebraska. Jen and I work together to provide insurance on harder-to-place types of businesses. Hull and Company is an Excess and Surplus Lines Insurance Brokerage that has access to a wide variety of very flexible insurance companies that enable me to tailor a program to meet the needs of my clients. We had a delicious lunch at Cappuccino and Company in Scottsbluff. Jen’s website is: http://www.hullco.com/Branch.aspx?branch=13

As I said before, one of my favorite things about the insurance industry is visiting and working with the wonderful people I am surrounded with.

Do you know someone who in interested in learning more about insurance or who is having trouble placing their insurance coverage?

Do you smell Funnel Cake?

Mmmmmm? Can you smell it? The sweet, bready aroma drifting upon the air. You inhale, savoring the fragrance of the doughy-goodness infused with the essence of powdered sugar. (Well, ok, I like mine drenched in powdered sugar!) The fact that it is deep fried in oil does not deter you, after all, there can’t be more than 3000 calories per funnel cake!?

Its Oregon Trail Days again in Western Nebraska! That means: Food Fair. Street Dance. Music. Carnival. BBQ. Car show. Quilt fair. Chili cook-off. Wine tasting. Parades. Square dancing. Did I mention Food Fair? And the list goes on. Visit the official website so you don’t miss out on the action: http://www.oregontraildays.org/

I grew up all over the world in a variety of big cities. With that in mind, some people thought I would have a hard time adjusting to a small town but I absolutely LOVE it. Oregon Trail Days is one of those reasons. There is something special about a community that blocks off whole sections of town in order to promote people to gather and have a good time together.

Being an insurance agent in a smaller town is also one of the reasons I love my career so much. Working, shopping, and living in the same community as my clients, I am better able to help them protect the things that they value the most. And along the way many of these people become my good friends. There is nothing better than that. (Except maybe Funnel Cake!)

Does your community have a special celebration? What’s your favorite part?

Super Heroes in Western Nebraska

It is 7:25 pm. The sky outside is getting darker and darker. The Weather Channel desktop icon begins flashing yellow, then red. The wind that had been whipping the trees suddenly ceases to blow and the air becomes eerily calm. The birds stop chirping. The weather alert radio begins screeching. The woman grabs her laptop, cell phone, superhero cape, and uneaten dinner off the grill as she runs downstairs to the blaring of the tornado siren and the beating of the first hail stones. While desperately trying to remain calm (superheroes never panic and definitely don’t throw up), the woman begins to receive phone calls about storm damage. Her fingers fly across the keyboard

Tornado Season

Many of the postings I have done have a light, fun, and informative flavor, which is the whole purpose of this blog. However, summer storms can be quite serious and thus, this posting is meant to provide you with helpful and possibly life saving information.


Ready America is a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters. Their website, www.ready.gov/america/getakit/familyneeds.html , provides terrific information about emergency preparedness. I urge you to visit their site to create an emergency kit for your household. Ready America provides a detailed list of suggested items for your kit, some of which include:

Where do all the tumbleweeds go?

Driving down the highway the other day fighting the 90 mile per hour winds (you think I’m exaggerating but I’m NOT!) I pondered this and many other life altering questions:


• So, really, where DO the tumbleweeds go?

• And for that matter, where do they come from in the first place?

• And why the heck do they run in herds that attack your car when you least expect it?

2010 Spring Newsletter

My 2010 Spring Newsletter is now available! Click here to read about how to handle a claim if you are unfortunate enough to suffer one. (Not that I’m expecting a bad storm season but….). Review page 2 to gain an understanding of flood insurance. Or explore the need for, and coverages afforded by, Long Term Care insurance. And much, much more! You can access past issues of our newsletter on our website: http://www.insurance-by-katie.com/. Enjoy!

Do you have a topic you would like to see addressed in our next issue?

Crash “Text” Dummies

I was stopped at a stoplight on the corner of 27th Street and Avenue B the other day innocently minding my own business (and contemplating the delicacies I was hoping to enjoy at lunch very soon thereafter) when I noticed a blue vehicle swerving toward me. At first I thought the driver intended to enter the center turn lane (there is really no true center lane but that was my fleeting hope at the time). Then I noticed that the driver was not even looking out his windshield but rather, he was looking down! At that split second I looked around for some sort of way to avoid being struck by his vehicle and I braced for impact because I realized I was boxed in

Munchkins and Memories

I was reading the newspaper today and came across this headline: “Raabe, ‘Wizard of Oz’ Munchkin actor, dies at 94”. Do you know which Munchkin he was? He played the forensic pathologist. No, I am not confusing the “Wizard of Oz” with CSI or Dexter…. There really was a forensic pathologist in the movie. Mr. Meinhardt Raabe was the Munchkin official with the solemn yet profoundly jubilant duty of making the determination that the Wicked Witch of the East had passed on to wherever Wicked Witches go when they are squashed by flying houses. (It can’t be a good place!) It should be noted that Mr. Raabe was no run-of-the-mill pathologist, however. Holding the the official death certificate, his pronouncement was extremely detailed as he stated with authority,

“As coroner I
must aver,
I thoroughly examined her,
And she’s not only merely dead,
She’s really most sincerely dead!”

Do you remember the “magic” of this movie? I do.

April Fool's Day & the Flying Truck

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Where did this tradition come from? Although the true roots are not known, the most popular theory is that it began in France during the late 1500’s. The Gregorian calendar was adopted, changing the New Year from the traditional week long celebration from March 25 through April 1 to the date we currently recognize: January 1. Due to poor communication systems back then, as well the rebellious nature of some, many people either didn’t know of the change or refused to acknowledge the new date and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1. Those who failed to make this change were the victims of pranks and made fun of as “April Fools”.
On this day of tricks and silliness I wanted to share this photo with you. First of all, let me tell you that this is NOT a joke. This is a real photograph, of a real pickup truck, and a real situation that occurred a number of years ago when my dad was working in Northern Peru. What is your first impression?

If you said that it looks like the truck is flying….you would be correct! The water below is a small tributary

Bad Hair Day

It rained here the other day, thanks to me. No, I cannot call forth rain from the heavens and I did not wash my car - which seems to produce a storm every time. No, I did something every woman knows will absolutely guarantee poor weather: I fixed my hair! You see, I renewed my driver’s license the other day. (Yes, that means it’s almost my birthday!) With that in mind, I thought it would be wise to have a decent hair-do, after all, who wants to me immortalized for the next several years with a bad hair day! Mother-Nature did not agree.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Although not 100% Irish, I’m about as Irish as they come (red hair and fiery temper… occasionally…)

When I was a kid we visited Ireland and I have strong memories of green, green, and more green. The entire landscape was gorgeous and green, not to mention covered in historic castles. We visited one such castle, Blarney Castle, which houses the famous Blarney Stone. The stone is believed to be half of the
Stone of Scone which originally belonged to Scotland. Scottish Kings were crowned over the stone, because it was believed to have special powers of royal succession. There are innumerable stories and legends about the stone but the most commonly accepted version is that, in gratitude for Irish support at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 (a Scottish defeat of the English), Robert the Bruce gave a portion of the stone to Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster, who then permanently installed the stone in the battlements of his castle at Blarney.
The legend goes on to say that anyone who succeeds in kissing it is said to earn the gift of persuasive speech, eloquence, and skill at flattery. In other words: the “gift of gab”.

This all sounds just terrific, after all, who doesn’t need to have good communication skills, especially in today’s business world? However, as with many things, there is generally a catch --

Hello World!

This is an exciting day for me....I am now officially a blogger. Yippie! My goal is to share information, insights, and inspirations that will convey my passion and excitement about insurance (and whatever else catches my attention).

Yes, I said - "passion and excitement about insurance" - it is NOT an oxymoron. I absolutely love my chosen profession. It is challenging, every day is different, and I am able to help every single person I work with by protecting the things that are most important to them. What can be better than working in an industry that gives people the peace of mind to sleep well at night, knowing that if some unforseen disaster strikes, they will be able to rebuild their lives?

Not convinced about the "passion" part yet? Have no fear, I am sure I will win you over. Tune in later for more Insights from Insurance by Katie!