The Largest U.S. Health Insurer Pulls Out of Health Exchanges in Arkansas

On the 11th of April UnitedHealth Group Inc made the statement that they will not be participating in the Affordable Care Act markets in 2017. ] This latest challenge to President Obama’s health-care plan is in response to the fact that many top insurers have struggled to make a profit in the new A.C.A. (Affordable Care Act) markets. This causes great concern to us as Arkansas residents, but it also is troubling as we wait to see what other major insurers will do.

This is not meant to cause a panic, because although UnitedHealth Group Inc is the largest health insurer, they hold a relatively small amount of the market share in regard to Obamacare. We here at Childress Insurance Agency just want to keep our friends and neighbors up to date on what’s going on in the insurance world. To read the full article please follow this link (http://khn.org/morning-breakout/largest-u-s-health-insurer-pulls-out-of-health-exchanges-in-georgia-arkansas/). Thank you for visiting our site, and as always if we can be of assistance in any way please give us a call at 501-941-1148.

Thank you,

Your Friends at Childress Insurance Agency

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Saturday, April 30th, 2016 Health Insurance No Comments

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Hi Everybody,

Welcome back! I hope your year has started off well. Today I wanted to talk about Workers’ Compensation Insurance. In this article we are going to define what Workers’ Compensation is, discuss the need and value of Workers’ Compensation Insurance, and thirdly we are going to preview the top providers for Workers’ Compensation Insurance.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance or Work Comp for short, is “a state-mandated insurance program that provides compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries and illnesses”[i]. To put that in layman’s terms Work Comp is an insurance policy that a business owner needs in order to cover any injuries or illnesses that occur while they or their employees are performing their jobs.

Apart from being state-mandated, Work Comp has tremendous value to the business owner. Imagine the stress level you would maintain if you had to pay out of pocket for an injury that occurred to one or more of your employees! This is where the value of a good Work Comp policy is shown in that the business owner knows this is risk is covered should an injury occur. But that is not all folks, having a Work Comp policy in place shows that the business owner cares for his or her employees and that they can trust you would be there for them should an injury occur.

When selecting a carrier for Work Comp it is important to keep in mind that not all carriers are created equal. Different carriers are going to have different market niches that they excel in. That is why it is so important to have an independent agent who knows these carriers sweet spots, so they can write you with a carrier that is going to work best for your type of business. In 2014 A.M. Best, which is a U.S. based insurance rating company, put out a list of the top twenty five Workers’ Compensation Carriers. Some of the names that made this list were; Travelers, Zurich, and Auto Owners.[ii] Want to know how this affects you? We here at Childress Insurance Agency have contracts with these carriers, along with many other top rated carriers who are just waiting to write your business. We would appreciate the opportunity to sit down and discuss your insurance needs, and we are confident that we can provide for your Workers’ Compensation Insurance along with all of your other needs with the same friendly service we have been offering for many years. Come let us show you that there is a difference doing business with our agency!

Thank you and May God bless you,

John Max Bolling


[i]http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/your-right-to-workers-comp-benefits-faq-29093.html

[ii]http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2015/11/02/387153.htm

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Thursday, April 21st, 2016 Workers Compensation Insurance No Comments

Tornado Tips

Now that Springtime is here, storm season is too. Here are some tips for surviving a tornado, provided by Dr. Greg Forbes, severe weather expert at The Weather Channel, and NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center.

Tornado Safety Tips:

  1. Figure out a safe place to ride out the storm

Do you live in a mobile home? Get out. Driving in a car? Get home as quickly as you can, and if that’s not possible, get to a sturdy building.

  1. Get away from windows and get underground

Regardless of where you’re hunkering down, it should be as far away from windows as possible. Even if a tornado doesn’t hit, wind or hail could shatter windows, and if you’re nearby, you could get hurt.

You should make every attempt to get underground during a severe storm, either in a basement or storm shelter. If neither is possible, head to the innermost room or hallway on the lowest floor of your home. The goal is to put as many walls between yourself and the outside world. In many of those homes, the outer walls have been destroyed, but a few inner rooms are somewhat intact.

  1. If a tornado appears while you’re on the road …

You should make every effort to find a safe building for shelter. If you can’t find one, NEVER hide under an overpass. Instead, find a ditch, get down and cover your head. Get as far from your vehicle as you can to prevent it from being blown onto you.

  1. Put on your shoes – and a helmet

If you’re at home and severe weather is bearing down, prepare for the worst. If your house is damaged by a tornado, you could end up walking through debris that’s riddled with nails, glass shards and splintered wood. The best way to ensure your shoes aren’t scattered is to put on a pair before the storm comes.

If you own a bike helmet, be sure to put it on during a severe storm. It could save you from life-threatening head trauma if your home suffers a direct hit.

  1. Keep your pets on a leash or in a carrier, and bring them with you

They’re a part of the family, so make sure they go to a safe place with you. Make sure their collar is on for identification purposes, and keep them leashed if they’re not in a crate. If your home is damaged by a tornado, it might not be familiar to them anymore, and they might get loose. Be sure to get them to a safe place or put them inside a crate while performing clean-up.

  1. Don’t leave your home and try to drive away from a tornado

If you made it home, stay there. Tornadoes can shift their path, and even if you think you’re directly in the line of the storm, being inside shelter is safer than being inside a car. Traffic jams could keep you from getting out of the storm’s path, or a small wobble could send the storm in a different direction.

  1. Know your severe weather terms
  • Severe thunderstorm watch: Conditions are conducive to the development of severe thunderstorms in and around the watch area. These storms produce hail of ¾ inch in diameter and/or wind gusts of at least 58 mph.
  • Severe thunderstorm warning: Issued when a severe thunderstorm has been observed by spotters or indicated on radar, and is occurring or imminent in the warning area. These warnings usually last for a period of 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Tornado watch: Conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms and multiple tornadoes in and around the watch area. People in the affected areas are encouraged to be vigilant in preparation for severe weather.
  • Tornado warning: Spotters have sighted a tornado or one has been indicated on radar, and is occurring or imminent in the warning area. When a tornado warning has been issued, people in the affected area are strongly encouraged to take cover immediately.

 

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Tuesday, March 29th, 2016 Safety Tips, Tornado Tips No Comments

Risk Management for the Transportation Industry

Good morning everyone. Today we are going to be discussing the transportation industry, more specifically ways companies can practice good risk management strategies in such a highly regulated industry. I wanted to start this article by taking a quick moment to shed some light onto the importance of the trucking industry; according to the American Trucking Association nearly 70% of all the freight moved in the United States is moved on trucks! Imagine a world without trucking, all of the groceries and commodities we have access to would be gone, or at least a lot more difficult to gain access to. With such a heavy reliance on this industry, you would think everyone would be rushing to get into the market right? Well with great power comes great responsibility, and that holds true in the trucking industry. The transportation industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States. In 2000 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) was established to try and improve the safety of the industry. The FMCSA established the Safety Measurement System (SMS) which measures the safety performance of trucking companies and drivers while on the road. This system is broken down into seven categories that measure everything from safe driving, hours of service compliance, to maintenance records. A carriers “safety rating” is then calculated by adding up the performance in all seven of these categories.

Now I know you’re asking, “Why does this matter to an insurance company”? That is a great question! If a carrier or owner/operator has a good safety rating, they are more likely to get preferred rates on their insurance. A good safety rating tells the insurance carrier that a particular company is committed to excellence, and that commitment is what insurance carriers look for when deciding who to work with. So, how does a transportation company keep and maintain a good safety rating? According to FMCSA, every fleet management program should incorporate the following elements: first and foremost, you have to hire good drivers. Drivers are the life blood of the transportation industry, but finding qualified drivers has been a difficult task as of late. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the trucking industry is expecting growth up to 21% through 2020. Despite that tremendous growth, quality drivers are becoming hard to find.[1] During the process of hiring drivers, FMCSA suggests each driver should be given a road test, as well as safety training before they are hired. Another element to a complete management program is conducting pre- and post-trip inspections every day to stay in compliance with USDOT inspection reports. Some other important elements include following the USDOT guidelines for drug testing, ensuring drivers maintain valid licenses, and constantly promoting safety as a priority throughout your company.

Now if you are reading this and you are not involved with the trucking industry, all I can say is we all need to give truck drivers a break sometimes. It is a very hard job, and our economy relies heavily on the efforts made by these individuals every day. Always practice safe driving techniques, and keep in mind that large trucks need more room to stop and turn. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding this industry, and for more information please visit https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/. We here at Childress Insurance Agency strive to be your partner in business and life. Our mission is to serve you!

Thank you,

John Max Bolling

[1] http://www.thetruckersreport.com/trucking-industry-statistics-outlook-and-trends-for-employment/

Monday, March 7th, 2016 Risk Management No Comments

What’s the deal with all these papers?

A common question that comes from our commercial clients is, “why is our policy one hundred pages long”. It is kind of like the ITunes User agreement pop up that we automatically accept without reading the content, but I would caution against this. Inside this stack of papers is a wealth of knowledge about what you are getting in return for the premiums you pay. To help navigate you through this I want to outline the formatting of most policies so you will better know where the information lies. Most policies follow this standard format:

  1. Common Policy Declarations
    • This section contains the named insured, mailing address, the stated policy period, a brief business description, and a list of the coverage parts.
  2. Common Policy Conditions
    • This section contains the cancellation provisions, who can make changes to the policy, a disclaimer stating that the insurer has the authority to examine the insureds books and records up to three years after the expiration of the policy, a disclaimer for inspections and surveys. This section also states that the premium is the responsibility of the first named insured, and it lists the rights of the carrier.
  3. Commercial Property Declarations
    • This section describes the premises, location, construction and occupancy of the property that is being insured. It also contains the coverages being provided. This section is especially important because it contains the rates for each item, i.e. an explanation of how the carrier comes up with the premium you pay!
  4. Commercial Property Conditions
    • This section contains a list of disclaimers that the insured is agreeing to, these include statements that the insured is not trying to conceal anything or mislead the insurer, and other legal matters regarding the relationship between the insurer and insured.
  5. Commercial Property Coverage Form(s)
    1. Define subject of insurance
    2. List additional coverages
    3. List extensions of coverage
    4. Provide additional conditions
  6. Commercial Property Causes of Loss Form(s)
    1. Causes of loss
    2. Exclusions
    3. Limitations
  7. Commercial Property Endorsements
    • This section lists any endorsements that apply to your policy, endorsements can include additional coverages, or changes that occurred during the policy period.

So now you know everything that you need to know about your policy right? Just kidding! What I can tell you is that your insurance agent should be your educational resource for any questions regarding the protection of your business or personal belongings. If you have any questions regarding your current policy please allow the friendly staff here at Childress Insurance Agency to be your trusted guide. Your satisfaction is our priority!

Thank you,
John Max Bolling

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016 General Update No Comments

Independent Agencies…

Hello Everybody,

Welcome to our informative blog. We hope this information peaks your interest and that you leave with a little more knowledge about insurance, which is everyone’s favorite dinner subject right?

To kick off this blog, I wanted to start by explaining what it means to be an independent agent. Independent agencies are those who are not limited to one carrier but have the ability to represent several different insurance carriers. An independent agent is not considered an employee for any particular carrier, they instead act as the representative on behalf of the client to the carrier.

So, who cares right? I mean insurance is insurance…

Well, you should! Independent agencies have the ability to provide for your interests instead of trying to fit your needs into the interests of a single carrier. Let me put it this way; would you rather shop for a new sofa at a store that only offers one brand or a store that can listen to your wants and needs and provide the best sofa for you? Independent agents have the ability to fit you with the right carrier, not make you fit into the mold a single carrier desires. In addition to more availability, independent agencies have the option to build packages combining multiple insurance carriers together for the benefit of you, the client. We are able to break the mold and piece together the perfect package to protect your home or business.

Okay, but how does this affect me?

Great question! To answer I will quote Dave Ramsey in his discussion on insurance tips,

“Think about how long it would take you to gather quotes from several companies on your home, auto and life insurance policies. Then, imagine comparing each policy’s features and costs to find the best coverage. After that, you’d have to determine which discounts you qualify for and apply for them with each individual company. And even after all that work, you’d still wonder if you could be getting a better deal somewhere else. Independent insurance agents have access to a network of insurance providers, not just one individual company. That’s great for two reasons:

You see, if you allow an independent agent to go to work for you, you can save yourself a headache and hopefully some money as well!

Well, I think an independent agent may be the way to go, but why pick you?

I’m glad you asked! Here at Childress Insurance Agency we are a local family agency that is deeply rooted in our community. Unlike many large regional and national agencies, we provide excellent products and coverages with the customer service you would expect from a family friend. We do this because we truly want our community to thrive, and we back that claim up by working together with our clients to protect the things that matter most. We have a staff dedicated to excellence, which can be seen through our friendly and prompt customer service, our dedication to staying on the forefront of the industry with continued education, and our desire to not only be your agent but to foster a relationship with every client who walks through our doors.

We want to welcome you to our agency, and we look forward to being of service to you! Check back soon for more content, and we here at Childress Insurance Agency want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday!

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Monday, December 14th, 2015 General Update No Comments

Credit-Based Insurance Scores

Getting credit where it is due should be the highest priority for anyone applying for utility service, loans for a car or home or obtaining a credit card.  At Childress Insurance Agency, 2391 West Main Street, Suite A, Cabot we have the right information to help you be well prepared in handling credit woes by taking proactive steps on the front end to keep things churning along.

Legally speaking, anytime you apply for things like insurance, the various companies vying for your business will base the rates you are offered on your insurance financial score. It is important to know what often determines these scores. Call us at (501) 941-1148 to get started on the road to a better score!

The manner in which you use credit is one factor. It suggests how responsible you are and that alone can aid insurers when companies evaluate policy amounts and options. Credit scores provide a picture of how well you pay back debts/loans. Maintaining low balances on credit cards is always preferable. Also, insurance rates can be heavily influenced by your overall credit usage (hint: less is more in terms of credit card balances), collections against you by creditors and bankruptcies.

Another factor has to do with the number of insurance claims may already exist when applying for new coverage through a different carrier. If you have teenagers, accidents behind the wheel are a constant threat and mounting claims does impact your insurance score. In addition, if you’ve made it a habit to apply for every credit card offer online or in the mail, chances are you’ll face higher premiums and rates. Keep them to a minimum. Note: Submitting applications for a vehicle or home falls into a different category; insurers do not tend to look at these as harmful to a person’s score.

If you’re unsure about your credit status, you can request a credit report from different credit rating agencies, including Equifax, Experian and Transunion. The Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Data Industry Association and the American Insurance Association offer valuable information as well. For a list of these and other resources, visit our office Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. 5 p.m. or call (501) 941-1148. We also encourage you to visit our Facebook page.

So, don’t wait a second longer – get in touch with us today!

 

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Friday, July 11th, 2014 General Update No Comments

Severe Weather Preparation

Don’t look now, but those blooming plants and flowers are a sure sign that spring weather cannot be far behind! At Childress Insurance Agency, 2391 West Main Street, Suite A, Cabot we look forward to green landscapes and the endless opportunities to enjoy nature after the gloom of winter.

It also happens to be the prime season for severe weather in the form of tornadoes, flooding and other realized or potential disasters. Each year, it becomes more important to prepare for such incidences by compiling a list of things to have completed before high winds or hail pummel your home or business. An emergency kit is always a good idea – stock it with non-perishable food, bottled water, flashlights (with fresh batteries) and a host of other items in case you and your family end up without power or worse yet the ability to leave a damaged property.

Another essential thing is development of a family evacuation plan encompassing everything from gathering spots for exiting a home and keeping communications easily accessible (fully charged cell phones, for example) to designating what responsibilities each household member will have should an emergency arise. On top of that, of course, is the proper amount of insurance coverage for loss of property, etc. No one wants to be caught without enough coverage. Call us today at (501) 941-1148 to make sure you’re well insured!

Keep an eye on weather developments. Information is readily available today for receiving severe weather alerts via text, email or conventional sources like radio and television broadcasts. In addition, make it a priority to watch the skies yourself because even the most advanced technology cannot guarantee sufficient warning by trusted media sources. If you see an approaching storm, look for characteristics – a green tint to the clouds, rapidly increasing winds, widespread hail. When a warning is issued, move to your safe area at home, be it the basement, storm cellar or interior closet. Be sure to follow whatever directions are provided by local media and authorities. And, utilize a NOAA Weather Radio to give another layer of reassurance during breaking weather.

Flooding poses some different challenges, but preparation is virtually the same. It is of the utmost importance to pay attention to rising waters and monitor media accounts of conditions. Regardless of whether a community, state or region is flood-prone or not, the risk is always there when substantial rains hit. Know the higher flooding locations nearby and be ready to evacuate if necessary. The importance of flood insurance cannot be overstated! Stop by our offices, send an email on this site or call us today for more information about flood insurance. The less risk of a flood in your area, the less you pay for coverage.

Lightning can be one of the most serious aspects of severe weather. Why? For one, it kills and injures more Americans than all but two other factors related to storms (falling debris and structural collapses rank high as well), according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Keeping an eye to the sky can mean the difference between serious injury or death and making it to safety in a home, building, hard surface vehicle, etc. If you are inside, be sure to close off windows and doors to avoid lightning traveling through these entrances.

With all of the above, it is important to make preparations. Severe weather season is here and can be impossible to predict. Plans count for a great deal of comfort when things happen. Insurance coverage plays a major role. So, call us now to be on the right side of approaching storms.

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Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 Home Insurance No Comments

Spring Home Maintenance List

The changing of seasons can be no more dramatic than when spring pushes winter back into hibernation for another year. Just as we plan for planting shrubs and flowers, we must also get ready to mow the yard, clean out gutters and look forward to those traditional cookouts and other outdoor events. Click here for a list of our services!

At Childress Insurance Agency, 2391 West Main Street, Suite A, Cabot we are well aware of the simultaneous anticipation of warmer weather and the challenges it poses for homeowners. So, we have a few tips as to how the preparation can be done efficiently and maybe, just maybe, a little fun! Pick up the phone and call us today at (501) 941-1148!

Some “must do” items for the spring maintenance list:

* Check your smoke detectors and replace batteries, as well as make sure detectors are located in different areas of the home (upstairs and downstairs for houses with different levels)

* Do the same thing with light bulbs around the residence – be sure to use energy-efficient bulbs in order to save light but, more importantly, cut down on those utility bills

* Also, with lighting it is always a good idea to check on the proper wattage for each fixture (again, as an energy and money-saving measure)

* Diligently inspect all electrical outlets for secure and safe connections – it only takes one unfortunate incident to injure someone or result in a fire or both

* Chances are, winter left a few marks on the roof; an inspection by yourself or a trusted professional can truly make the difference between patchwork and a full replacement project (focus on the condition of shingles, for example)

* Another crucial thing to do is making sure water hasn’t puddled up and damaged roofing, along with looking at any existing or potential wear and tear following winter’s harsh winds and precipitation

* Gutters serve an important purpose by collecting leaves, water and small debris but the downside is these same gutters can easily become clogged and must be cleaned out when spring arrives because winter’s leftovers are more than capable of creating foundation leaks when April’s showers are lending a hand to May flowers

* Look down at your driveway and take inventory of any cracks or other issues

* A lot of people use spring as the perfect excuse to paint their home inside and out – it is a refreshing way to usher in the new season

* Don’t forget to give your yard and landscaping some much-needed attention during spring; pruning dead flowers and plants, pulling weeds, replenishing mulch, etc. all count as spring maintenance goals to check off the list

* Be careful to store items like gas canisters and other fluids used in yard work in a well-ventilated location

* Spring cleaning certainly includes checking hot water heaters, washing machines, dryers and other household appliances for leaks and the like (think of it like a yearly physical for the home)

The list here is not exhaustive, but offers a number of solid pointers on spring maintenance. With questions, please call us at (501) 941-1148 or stop by our offices. Hours of operation are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact us today!

 

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Thursday, April 10th, 2014 General Update, Home Insurance No Comments

Home Inventory List

Disaster can and does strike without so much as a second of warning. Just like that, your household is utterly and completely turned into a scene of chaos. Decisions must be made quickly. It cannot be a time of deliberate thought or planning – you have to get out and fast. From tornadoes and floods to fires and ice storms, Americans understand the realities of losing everything to the whims of nature. Of course, property losses can occur for many other reasons as well.

Childress Insurance Agency, 2391 West Main Street in Cabot, Arkansas is not only about providing you a sense of comfort and reassurance in these moments. We simply offer nothing less than an all-inclusive set of services to be prepared before, during and after life-altering events. Moreover, we can get you started with some timely advice and tips to utilize in anticipation of future challenges. Let’s get going!

* Be a list taker – Start with a plan to go from one room to the next and stick with it. That way, you can compile a full inventory of items to include things like model numbers, owners’ manuals, serial numbers, etc. The information makes it much easier to locate answers to the typical questions an insurance agent will be asking. Items of high value – computers, refrigerators, freezers and major furnishings like sofas and table sets, among others – should be on your list.

* Don’t forget the details – More than likely, you’ll be swamped with competing demands when a disaster occurs. When compiling the inventory list, grab your camera and snap photos and/or videos of your belongings as a means of additional documentation. And, be mindful of keeping receipts for your items whenever possible because it can certainly make the process easier.

* Estimating the value of things – It may be more feasible to maintain more detailed records of major household items like appliances or furniture, so when coming up with dollar amounts for items like clothes, shoes and kitchen utensils it probably makes better sense to provide an estimated value. Again, make use of photos to document what you have. Another tip is to group as many things together as you can – for instance, taking all the belts or earrings and submitting a total count. We are here Monday-Wednesday and Friday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and on Thursday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to help answer questions you may have about the list.

* As with your possessions, organize important paperwork (medical records, insurance and contact information). You’ll want to make copies of this information for storage in safe deposit boxes, sealed document casings, trusted friends or family. Remember: If your home is lost to a fire or tornado, the inventory list is likely gone as well. Basically, you should inventory the list itself! Visit our web site at www.childressinsuranceagency.com for more information about this topic, finding an agent and a host of other needs.

* Update and update – Most of us purchase new gadgets, clothes and many other household items on a regular basis. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to update inventory lists for including them. One suggestion might be to set up a template for how your inventory will be recorded so that each addition can be put there seamlessly.

* Inventory lists offer assurance about your insurance – It may sound a bit cliché, but the most important factor to consider when putting your home’s inventory on paper is about us!  As your trusted agency, we are fully committed to making sure your claim covers all the things you seek to replace. Keeping the list correct and updated should also mean making adjustments to your policy, whether owning or renting a property. The last thing you want is for your claim to be unable to cover the losses.

Call us at (501) 941-1148 for a policy review to make sure it’s up-to-date.

 

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Monday, March 17th, 2014 Home Insurance No Comments

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