Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


  Contact : 336-992-5664

All posts by Duane Long

JD Powers Erie Insurance

ERIE Earns Top Ranking in J.D. Power Study

Thousands of people shared their experiences about shopping for auto insurance in a national study and Erie Insurance was awarded “Highest Satisfaction with the Auto Insurers Shopping Experience.”

The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study SM provides an in-depth look at the auto insurance policy selection process. It explores why customers shop, their attitudes toward and perceptions of auto insurance brands and how they make their final purchase decision.

Related: Is ERIE auto insurance right for you? Find out.

For ERIE, it’s the sixth year in a row in the study’s top spot. Satisfaction is measured on three factors (in order of importance):

  • Price: How customers rate their new auto insurance provider on the price of the policy given the level of coverage.
  • Distribution channel: How customers rate their experience interacting with their new auto provider’s agent, call center reps and website.

Related: 6 Reasons You’ll Love Having an Independent Insurance Agent

  • Policy offerings: How customers rate the variety of coverage options, the degree to which their needs are met and the ease of obtaining a new policy.

The study methodology
The study is based on responses from more than 15,000 shoppers who requested an auto insurance quote from at least one of the top 25 insurers that have the largest market share in the United States. Customers were surveyed in April, July and October 2017 and January 2018.

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Duane Long - Monte Long

Duane Long + Monte Long

We provide Property, Casualty and Life insurance for personal and commercial needs.
Individual: Home, Auto, Life, etc. … Business, Prop., Casualty, WC, etc.

See https://www.facebook.com/DuaneLongInsurance/ for local news!

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Winterizing your Home

Winterizing Your Home Checklist

There’s no denying it: Winter is on its way. 

Winterizing your home can help lower your energy bills, prevent bigger more costly repairs later on, and reduce the risk of accidents like a home heating fire. (Side note: That’s why having the right homeowners insurance can give you peace of mind, too.) 

Ready? Let’s walk through the big list of projects to tackle this fall.
 

FALL HOME MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

Indoors:

  • Windows and doors: Prevent chilly drafts (and pricey heating bills) by checking and replacing any worn weather stripping, and caulking any cracks. For loose-fitting doors, slide a draft guard or rolled-up towel underneath to fill the gap. For old or drafty windows, consider peel-and-stick window insulation film – it might not be the most elegant look, but it can keep up to 70% of heat from escaping.Related: A dozen easy ways to keep cold air from entering your house
     
  • Fireplace: Check your fireplace and flue system to remove soot or ashes. Check for cracks that could be a fire hazard. Also, examine the fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be need to be repaired or replaced. If you’re not planning on using your fireplace at all, invest in a chimney balloon to block the opening. (Just remember to take it out before you build a fire next season.) Most importantly, know what fixes are safe for you to tackle and what should be in the hands of a certified chimney sweep with training and proper equipment. Related: What’s a professional chimney inspection, and why do I need one?
     
  • Furnace: Before you turn up the heat for the season, start by changing (or cleaning) your furnace filter. It’s also a good idea to have an HVAC professional check your furnace once per year. And if you can’t remember the last time you had your heating ducts checked for leaks and efficiency… an HVAC professional can help with that, too. Related: How often does my furnace filter need changed (and how do I do it?)
     
  • Thermostat: For every degree lower your home’s temperature during the winter, you can save as much as 1 percent on your energy bill (according to the U.S. Department of Energy). If you have an older thermostat, consider replacing it with a smart model to save on heating costs. Many new thermostats have algorithms to learn your comings and goings so you’re not paying to keep your home toasty warm when you’re not around. Related: 10 energy-saving tips to prepare your home for cold weather
     
  • Other home heating: We know they’re cozy, but be extra cautious when using a space heater. Space heaters cause about one-third of all winter house fires and 80 percent of all winter heating fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Related: Must-know safety tips for fireplaces, space heaters and wood-burning stoves 
  • Drafts and cracks: Cold air will take advantage of any opportunity to sneak into your home. Here’s a list of quick fixes for drafty places:
    • Outlets and switch plates: Use foam-insulating sheets to block cold air coming in from exterior walls.
    • Exposed ducts: Check your attic, basement, and crawl spaces and use sealant to plug up any leaks or cracks on exposed ducts.
    • Floors: Don’t underestimate the power of a thick, cozy rug. Your floors can account for as much as 10 percent of heat loss in a house. 
    Related: A dozen easy ways to keep cold air from entering your house 
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: While you’re in the process of prepping your house for the long winter, check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in good working order. Also, with the increased risk of fire in winter, it’s important to have a family escape plan. You can create one using the National Fire Prevention Association’s online guide.

Related: How to prevent a dryer fire

Outdoors:

  • Gutters: Start by clearing debris from gutters and downspouts to prevent them from leaking or sagging. Clogged gutters and subsequent water issues can cause foundation problems, wall and ceiling damage, or even insect infestations. Just make sure you do it safely – use a tall, sturdy ladder (and never stand on the top three rungs!), and don’t forget protective eyewear, gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself against debris, bacteria and pests.Related:5 Common Problems Caused by Clogged Gutters

  • Roof: Snow can be a heavy burden for an old or damaged roof to handle. Before winter hits, inspect your roof for signs of potential problems, like missing, broken, blistered or curling shingles; cracked caulk or rust spots; or large patches of moss and lichen. Any damaged, loose or missing shingles should be repaired right away.

  • Trees and landscaping: It’s a good idea to trim any branches hanging near electric wires before they become a problem. Also, know how to spot the signs of a diseased or dying tree. Heavy snow and strong winter winds can knock down weak branches (or whole trees), so it’s best to do the prep work while the weather’s still mild.Related: What happens if my neighbor’s tree falls in my yard?

  • Lawn equipment: Drain the oil and gas from your mower before storing it for the off-season. Gasoline can separate and spoil in only a few weeks, which could potentially damage your engine.

    Related: How to extend the life of your lawn mower

  • Snow removal supplies: Before the first snow, you’ll be glad you thought ahead and bought supplies early. Inspect the bolts, belts and parts on your snowblower; make sure your snow shovel is in good shape; stock up on ice melt or sand; and invest in a snow rake to help clear your roof. Snow accumulation on your roof that exceeds 20 to 25 pounds per square foot can be dangerous.

Related: How to remove an ice dam 

Does your homeowners insurance keep up with your life?
From weekend projects to major renovations… you’ve worked hard (and invested a lot) to make your house a home.

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Buy-Sell

Business Owners: Protect with a Buy-Sell Agreement

Business Owners: Protect Your Hard Work with This Important Agreement

If you’re a small business owner, you know what hard work means. It means sacrifice. It means connecting to people in the right way at the right time—often during the early morning, in the evening and on weekends. It means putting your business before anything else (even, at times, family). It means being your brand and being on, all the time.

That kind of significance carries extra weight that business owners don’t always realize. What happens when a partner unexpectedly has to file for bankruptcy? Or becomes disabled? Or worst of all, passes away?

Here at Erie Insurance, we’ve seen a number of unfortunate happenings that have affected businesses just this past year—from a 49 year-old business owner who was hit by a car while training for a marathon; to a 25-year old who passed tragically after a car accident; to another who unexpectedly suffered a heart attack.

These are stories of independent insurance agents who represented ERIE—people we partnered with to help customers find customized solutions right for them.

Like all small business owners, ERIE’s agents are committed to doing business in their local communities. They volunteer across numerous organizations, provide jobs and advocate for their customers to help them find the best insurance for them. And also like most small business owners, they are missed by many when they unexpectedly pass.

Because they are independent business owners, we encourage our agents to have a plan in place for when they retire and which can be used if life does not go as planned—something that provides guidance for what they want their business to become.

As your insurance advisor, they most likely advocate that you have a plan in place as a business owner, too, particularly a buy-sell agreement funded by life insurance.

Here’s some information to help you with the conversations about buy-sell agreements and tips for putting one in place:

 

  • What it is: A buy-sell, or buyout, agreement is a legally binding document that determines how ownership should be handled should a co-owner unexpectedly leave the business, whether through death, disablement or other unexpected circumstances.
  • What they should include: A good buy-sell agreement should include a current business valuation clause that allows an expert to assess the value of the business if needed. It should also include who can and can’t be a buyer and how any sale of ownership will be funded—i.e. through proceeds from life insurance, credit or cash.
  • How life insurance can help: When co-owners own life insurance policies on each other that name themselves as beneficiaries (a cross-purchase agreement), life insurance can help pay for a partner to buy the portion of the business that lost an owner if that person passed away. Without this funding, a partner may not be able to afford to buy the portion of the business they’ve worked so hard to build. Instead, the ownership may transfer to the previous owner’s spouse, family member or even a bank or lender associated with the partner who passed. There are also entity agreements designed for LLCs and c-corporations where the company owns the insurance and the buy-sell agreement stipulates the company will buy the deceased owner’s shares.

Consult appropriate, legal, accounting and business professionals and talk to your local ERIE agent today about how life insurance can help you in building this important plan.

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Hurricane-Insurance

Hurricane Florence – Be Prepared

Hurricane Florence has the potential to bring heavy rains and high winds to coastal areas starting Thursday evening, with the chance of inland flooding for North Carolina and Virginia. Both states have declared a state of emergency.

If you experience a loss covered by your policy and need to file a claim, Erie Insurance and your Agent are here to help.

We encourage you to stay off the roads during heavy rains and follow these tips to reduce damage and stay safe during the storm:

• Bring in garbage cans, lawn furniture, bikes, toys, hanging plants and lawn decorations. If possible, remove the swings on your child’s swing set to prevent unnecessary damage.
• Move furnishings and valuables to the highest point in your house.
• Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries handy in case of loss of power. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
• If you lose power, turn off all major appliances to avoid a power surge when the power is turned back on.
• Do not drive or walk through standing water. Water can be deeper than it appears, and two feet of water can sweep away most cars and six inches of moving water can sweep you away when walking.

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Find more helpful tips on erieinsurance.com:

What to do Before, During and After the Storm

Preparing for a Flood and Lessening Water Damage

How Named Storms Affect Your Insurance Coverage

Video: What We Learned from Hurricane Katrina and Affected Cars

*Note: New insurance and certain changes to existing insurance may not be available when there is a known threat of severe weather or in the immediate aftermath of a severe weather event. Talk to your Agent.
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Should you experience damage from a storm that is covered by your insurance policy and wish to file a claim, please contact your ERIE Agent. For claims service during evenings and weekends, call (800) 367-3743.

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Insurance-Adjuster

What is an Insurance Adjuster?

Most of us know what an insurance company is. But just what is an insurance adjuster?

Sometimes it’s not clear who adjusters are and how they’re trained for the job. (After all, how many colleges offer “insurance adjusting” as a major?)

To get some answers, we went behind the scenes with Chad Smith, a property claims specialist at Erie Insurance who handles large losses. Read on to learn more about him and all the important ways he helps Customers in their time of need.

In your own words, what is an insurance adjuster?
To me, an insurance adjuster is someone who has a great deal of responsibility and accountability. An adjuster owes that not just to the company he or she represents, but to the customers who’ve experienced a loss.

At Erie Insurance, adjusters are the ambassadors of the company. People don’t really see how an insurance company works until they have a loss, and we represent that.

What kind of background do you need to become an adjuster?
More often than not, you need to have a college degree. I have a business degree, but insurance adjusters can pursue other fields as well. I would also recommend adding computer and math classes to your coursework.

How did you become an adjuster?
ERIE hired me as an adjuster shortly after graduating from college. I went through a few months of training that included both classroom and field training. I was tested on information and then spent some time out in the field with seasoned adjusters and appraisers to learn about what they did first hand. Because I work directly for an insurance company, I don’t need a license to be an adjuster. However, the rules vary by state.

What kind of skills do you need as an adjuster?
Being people-oriented is a must. You need to be able to empathize with the Customer by putting yourself in their shoes. Honesty and integrity are essential in establishing trust.

Because of the way the field is evolving, you need to be really comfortable with technology or be willing to learn it. To grow as a professional adjuster, you have to move beyond in-house training and pursue professional insurance designations like the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and Associate in Claims (AIC).

What is a normal day like?
There really is no normal day. And that’s one reason why I love my job!

In order to handle it, you have to structure your days to a certain degree, but also maintain flexibility. I might plan to make calls all morning—but if I get an urgent claim, I need to reorder my day. I’m always busy.

What hours do you work?
I usually start early and end late. Sometimes I work weekends. I enjoy a lot of freedom with this position—and I’m available almost 24/7 because that’s how you provide great service. You can’t be stuck in the traditional nine-to-five, Monday through Friday mindset as an adjuster.

What’s the most memorable claim experience you’ve had?
Over the years, I’ve had many. One that stands out is working during the 2011 tornado catastrophes in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. ERIE was the first insurance company on the scene. There was a lot of damage, but I was able to respond quickly and help Customers affected by the tornadoes. The fast response was made possible by the way ERIE set up its catastrophe team units. Some people I spoke to said neighbors with other carriers hadn’t even heard from their adjusters yet. It was extremely gratifying to help ERIE’s Customers when they really needed it.

What’s the most gratifying part of your job?
Knowing in my heart that I did the best I could for ERIE and for the Customer on every claim that I handle. I remember one claim we had to deny; even still, the Customer sent me a card thanking me for how polite and helpful I’d been during the process. Everyone should receive the same level of service, regardless of the outcome.

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/what-is-an-insurance-adjuster

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