Long Insurance Services of Kernersville, NC


  Contact : 336-992-5664

All posts by Duane Long

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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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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Phishing

Quick Ways to Spot Phishing Messages Targeting Your Business

Gone may be the days when phishing attempts were easy to identify. While malicious messages are nothing new, they’re becoming more sophisticated and harder to pick out from legitimate business communications.

A few simple clicks in one of these emails can develop into a problem that spreads quickly across digital channels and devices, but there are things that you can do to defend against phishing attacks and resources that can help.

Information technology professional Jamie Neumaier knows a lot about tackling security threats. Jamie manages an information security team that works to ensure systems at Erie Insurance stay as safe as possible. He recently answered questions about phishing scams targeting businesses and offered some useful security tips.

What is phishing?
Phishing is malicious activity in which criminals try to gain access to user’s information, data or devices. The goal is to get you to act, and when you do, the phishers may:

  • Gain access to data and information, which they can exploit.
  • Install malware on your system.
  • Prompt you to reveal your personal financial information for purposes of stealing money or your identity.
  • Access your email and send other malicious messages to your contacts, to exploit others.

 

Are businesses especially vulnerable to phishing scams?
Yes. With more work being conducted digitally, businesses of all sizes are susceptible to attacks.

Phishers can easily find your contact information online and be reasonably confident that any message they send you will be at the very least opened because you’re in a business of being responsive. The phishing messages have also grown in sophistication, so it’s easy to be convinced to visit an insecure site or download an infected file that comes in an email message that looks legitimate.

How do you spot a phishing attack?
Phishing emails that are poorly written, offer you large amounts of money or ask you for financial assistance have been common for a long time. Most of us know not to open, click or respond to these emails.

More recently, phishing emails are being designed to look like other emails that you might receive in your inbox. They may appear to be from someone you trust like a bank, software provider, retailer or vendor, but usually, the timing of the messages is unexpected.

For instance, one common technique is for a hacker to gain access to an email account through a phishing attempt, then access the account and reply to a real email conversation with a malicious link. So, when the recipient receives this email, it looks like a continuation of an earlier conversation, but it asks the recipient to download a document.

Phishing attempts aren’t limited to email, either. Hackers now use phone numbers similar to your mobile number to call you and attempt to have you reveal sensitive information. They may send you text messages as well.

How can phishing attacks be prevented?
In the course of day-to-day business between you, your employees, customers and other consumers in general, know what you’re working on. If you receive a message, phone call or email that is unexpected or seems even just a little bit off, verify the validity of the message before taking action. Call the person who appears to have the message and ask if he or she sent it. If the answer is no, it’s a malicious message.

Other things you can do:

  1. Hover your cursor over a link in an email to show the URL. If it looks suspicious, don’t click on it.
  2. Look at the extension on Word attachments. Most users have updated their Microsoft products so that Word documents end with .docx. If you see the antiquated .doc extension, question it.
  3. Use both antivirus software and an anti-malware tool. They’re often provided by common and well-known security brands such as McAfee and Norton.
  4. Keep your software and devices up to date. The latest updates for Microsoft Office products, third-party applications, such as Adobe Reader and Flash, and smartphone operating systems contain patches that protect against the latest security issues.
  5. Always back up your data, so that you can get back to business as quickly as possible should you fall victim to an attack. Test your backup processes periodically to ensure they are working as expected.

 

Also, be aware that if you’re hit with an attack, you may not know immediately, and the first indication may be that your Customers receive an unexpected email from you. Unfortunately, a Customer calling to verify something you sent (but didn’t intend to) could be when you know you’ve been affected.

If Customers call asking if a message is legitimate, and after you confirm whether you sent that email, offer them the same advice you use in your own business operations.

  • Did the Customer expect to get that email?
  • Does the link or URL direct to a legitimate, expected website address?
  • Does it ask them to open a suspicious document that they didn’t expect?

Answering those questions can help you both determine whether the message is safe.

Phishing is continuously changing and evolving as perpetrators adopt new techniques and forms, so it’s essential to have a good security plan in place and watch out for emerging attacks to help protect your business. A well-trained team that knows how to spot a suspicious message can also be a great defense against phishing attacks.

Read more information about security tips:
Are You Overlooking this Top Data Breach Risk?
Two Things You Can Do Now to Speed Up Data Recovery After a Breach

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IIHS-Safety

IIHS Safest 2018 Cars

Thinking about shopping for a new car? Then you’ll want to check out what vehicles are considered the safest to buy.

https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/iihs-safest-2018-carsFrom small cars and sedans to SUVs and large luxury vehicles, you’ll find 62 of the 2018 models deemed safe by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Each year the safety experts at the nonprofit research and education organization determine which vehicles do the best job of protecting people in the most common kinds of crashes—front, side, rollover and rear—based on ratings in IIHS evaluations. The current list of award winners is smaller than usual because IIHS raised the bar on its test criteria, adding passenger-side crash tests and headlight ratings to their list of considerations.

No minivans, pickups or minicars earned the highest award, Top Safety Pick+, and just 15 vehicles qualified, having good-rated headlights and good or acceptable passenger-side protection in small overlap front crashes. Models from a wider range of vehicle types—47 in all— earned the second-tier award, Top Safety Pick, but no minicars made the cut in that category either.

Hyundai and Subaru lead the way
Leading the pack of manufacturers of the 15 Top Safety Pick+ vehiclesare Hyundai Motor Company, which owns the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands and has six awards, and Subaru, which has four. Mercedes-Benz has two, while Toyota, BMW and Ford Motor Company have one each.

Small cars

Kia Forte sedan

Kia Soul

Subaru Impreza (4-door sedan | 4-door wagon)

Subaru WRX

Large luxury cars

BMW 5 series

Genesis G80

Genesis G90

Lincoln Continental

Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan

Midsize cars

Subaru Legacy

Subaru Outback

Toyota Camry

Midsize SUVs

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Midsize luxury SUV

Mercedes-Benz GLC

 

The frontrunner among the 47 second-tier award winners is Toyota Motor Corporation with 10 vehicles. Hyundai is the runner-up with nine.

IIHS has awarded Top Safety Pick honors to qualifying vehicles since the 2006 model year. It adjusts the list of winners throughout the year as it evaluates new models. Learn more about the vehicles that are in the winner’s circle by watching the video above or reading the source article at iihs.org.

How to get a quote and avoid car insurance rate hikes
If you’re shopping for a new car, you’ll also need car insurance. You may want to get an auto insurance quote now or check out these helpful resources:

An insurance professional like an Erie Insurance Agent in your community can provide you with more information about auto coverage.

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