Saturday, October 15, 2011

Does YOUR auto policy pay for a rental car?

Here are some facts about auto insurance losses in the United States:
  • Approximately 1 in 8 drivers will be involved in an accident in a given year (National Safety Council);
  • Nationwide in 2005, 2 cars were stolen every minute (Better Business Bureau);
  • Speed is one of the most common factors causing car wrecks (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration);
  • The highest incidence of claim frequency and severity among vehicles of model year 2007, 2008, and 2009 occurred with very large luxury sport utility vehicles (Highway Loss Data Institute);
  • Only 75% of all costs related to car accidents are covered by insurance (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety);
  • After an accident, the average car is in the repair shop for nearly 2 weeks; and
  • Nationwide, 19% of all motor vehicles involved in accidents are uninsured (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
So let me ask you this: if you can't drive your car after it's been involved in a wreck--or struck by a tree, or stolen, or vandalized--what are you going to do? Hitchhike to work? Take a cab? Inconvenience friends and/or family? Rent a car?

If you rent a car, who's going to pay for it--you or your insurance company?

On average, the annual cost to buy rental reimbursement coverage on your auto policy is less than the cost to rent a car for two days.

Want to know more? Just ask!

Monday, October 10, 2011

What Does a Course Developer Do?

People have often asked me what it's like to develop and write insurance courses.  Specifically, what do I do and how do I do it.  Of course, their eyebrows are raised when they ask the question, skeptical of my answer even before they hear it.

Not only do they believe insurance is a dry and boring subject, they believe insurance professionals--especially those who research and write the dry, boring, insurance subject matter--are the most mundane of characters.  I'm sure they regret asking their question immediately after the words cross their lips.

In an effort to avoid being dry and boring, and to make a long story short, I'll eliminate words and share three pictures.  This is a prefect example of my day writing dry, boring insurance content.  We all know a picture is worth 1,000 words--so here's my story:

Chapter One:

Mr. Murphy, my writing assistant, hard at work.

Chapter Two:

Mr. Murphy's response to my less than enthusastic opinion of his suggestion for scintillating insurance content. Personally, I find the topic of mice far less gripping than insurance regulations in the state of Delaware...

 Chapter 3
Mr. Murphy, pouting, after his content ideas were nixed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why Insurers are Concerned About Certain Dog Breeds

I just read a couple of articles about why homeowner insurers are so concerned about certain breeds of dogs.  In 2007, the insurance industry paid over $350,000,000 in dog bite claims; in 2010, that figure was over $400,000,000!

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published a report about facts and statistics between 1979 and 1998.  Based on dog bite fatalities during the report period, according to an article in, the CDC claims the following are:
  1. Pit bulls - 66 fatalities;
  2. Rottweilers - 39 fatalities (Pit bulls and Rotties accounted for 60% of the fatalities);
  3. German Shepherds - 17 fatalities;
  4. Husky-type - 15 fatalities;
  5. Malamutes - 12 fatalities;
  6. Doberman Pinschers - 9 fatalities; and
  7. Chow Chows - 7 fatalities.
I'm not disputing the statistics gathered by the CDC but I can personally state that during my lifetime, I've owned 7 dogs on the list (Huskies, German Shepherds, and Rotties) and none of them ever bit anyone.

On the other hand, all the dogs on the list are large dogs - I've seen studies that show Cocker Spaniels bite more than any other breed of dog, however, given their size, they're less apt to cause fatalities than the larger dogs.  More than half the states have enacted legislation concerning dogs and dog bites; many of them make dog owners strictly liable for dogs that are defined as vicious.

I don't suppose we can argue with the fact that over 4,700,000 people received dog bites in 2010. What's your take on the situation?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Schedule of Events

We've been conducting an increasing number of training seminars and webinars recently, most notably the "Enabling CSR Success" series of webinars in partnership with the Hanover Insurance Group. Click here to see our list of upcoming events.

This series of webinars was designed espeically for both Commercial Lines and Personal Lines CSRs of agencies representing the Hanover Insurance Group, although all insurance professionals should find them helpful and beneficial.

Session 1, Take Back Your Time!, was held on Friday, September 23rd (1:00 p.m. for CL CSRs and 2:30 p.m. for PL CSRs).  Session 2, E & O: Avoiding a Bad Situation, will be held on Wednesday, October 19th (1:00 p.m. for CL CSRs and 2:30 p.m. for PL CSRs). Session 3, Striking a Delicate Balance: Managing Customer, Agency, and Carrier Interests will be held on Thursday, November 17th (1:00 p.m. for CL CSRs and 2:30 p.m. for PL CSRs).

If your insurance agency represents the Hanover Insurance Group, and you'd like to receive an invitation to any of these webinars, or more information, just email us at


Thursday, August 18, 2011

ISO's May 2011 update to the Homeowner Program

I've just begun the process of reviewing the changes brought about by ISO's 2011 revisions to its homeowner program.

So far, I like the fact that they changed the language about motorized vehicles used "solely" to service an insured's residence. The new language is much better for the insured.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CE Marathon Update

It is with regret that I cancelled our CE Marathon earlier today.  It was scheduled for the week of July 25, 2011 and, unfortunately, registration was not sufficient to hold the event.

At this time, we do not have any insurance CE seminars scheduled in Montana for the remainder of 2011. I'lll post updates about our seminar schedule as they change.

I appreciate the loyalty and support of my Missoula clients and welcome your communications at

- Linda

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Writing About Insurance

I've always been a writer. I never thought I'd spend more of my time writing about insurance than anything else.

But that's what I'm doing these days.

After spending 36 years working in the insurance industry, I've found myself doing the thing I enjoy most (writing) while focusing on something I know well and enjoy very much (insurance).

I presented a CE course  at the NAIW convention in Las Vegas last week. I developed and wrote the course and I was asked by NAIW to also provide them with the introduction the facilitator would read when introducing me. When I called myself a "self-proclaimed insurance junkie" I was being serious. The audience, however, laughed. (I guess that's because most people don't find insurance the least bit interesting, let alone fascinating.)

If you like insurance--really like it, why don't you write about it? Submit articles to insurance publications, start a blog, send out newsletters to your clients.

Let me tell you, there's plenty of room out there for people who know their stuff and can write. The world of insurance is extensive and none of us knows everything. Your perspective may be just what a number of other insurance professionals need to hear to facilitate a better understanding or appreciation of a particular type of insurance--or our industry in general.

Here are links to some insurance publications:
Then again, you can always try writing insurance courses--which is largely what I do. Many national, regional, and local insurance education and pre-licensing firms are looking for quality writers who know about insurance. Check them out!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What Should I Wear to the Bellagio?

I'm heading out to the 70th Annual NAIW convention--it'll be my first time visiting Las Vegas; it will not be my first time teaching insurance CE!

For a list of the convention's event list (including yours truly, presenter of a 2-hour insurance CE course on Rental Reimbursement coverage), click here.

I have one very important question to all you folks out there: what should I wear to dinner at the Bellagio?  A client is being kind enough to entertain me and I want to look my best.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2011 CE MARATHON SCHEDULE now available

As promised, our 2011 CE Marathon schedule now appears on our website at:, along with links to our online registration form and a downloadable PDF registration form.

We'll be offering 30 hours of insurance continuing education from July 25th to July 28th at the Best Western Grant Creek Inn in Missoula.

Monday, March 28, 2011

2011 CE Marathon

We are in the process of scheduling our CE Marathon in Missoula for 2011. We're in the process of making arrangements and expect to have them complete by mid-April.

Once we have the date/location finalized, we'll post info here and on our website at

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Faulkner's Taking the Mystery Out of Business lauded by the University of Montana's School of Business

Yes, Clueless is a dangerous place to be! That’s why regardless of whether someone is a budding entrepreneur, a new graduate just getting started, or an experienced professional, Linda’s book is a must read! For those who haven’t run a business or managed people, it might save their career or their business. For those who’ve already been at it for a while, it’s a gentle reminder of important concepts and good business practices. Her customer service stories and principles are outstanding illustrations of what to do and not do.

The way Linda writes makes reading her book enjoyable and memorable – which makes it very useful as well. Her examples help make it real for newbies so they don’t have to learn the hard way and gently reminds veteran business managers, as well. Linda’s book really is an arsenal of tools and resources to help managers and their businesses succeed. I can see myself referring back to the book regularly--I’ve been at this a while!

- Janel Queen, Director of Career Advanacement, School of Business, University of Montana

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hiatus for Seminars & Workshops - Otherwise, Business as Usual

Family matters require my attention for the next couple of months, so we're temporarily suspending our insurance CE seminars and career development workshops.

We will continue to offer online insurance CE courses and insurance pre-licensing courses, as well as our contract writing services.

Feel free to check in with me via e-mail with your questions and comments!

- Linda