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CTRP Trauma Care 2015-08-27T16:00:30Z http://www.ctrp.org/feed/atom/ Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[The Age of Insurance Agent Marketing]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=652 2015-08-18T22:31:11Z 2015-08-27T16:00:30Z In the age of technology where everyone is now entrenched on the information highway, insurance agents need to fully realize that developing a social media strategy is perhaps the best avenue to take in creating a solid “Insurance Agent Marketing” strategy. They are faced with the unique challenge of simultaneously developing their own local brand identity while creating a stage for the insurance company’s brand and the promise for a better customer experience.

Social media is now a primary tool for getting the word out about the newest services, latest advances in products, and discounts and money-saving plans, while at the same time agents now have an even greater opportunity to make a name for themselves as a local expert within their communities.

Making good use of social media outlets

As an agent, it’s important to understand your place in the social landscape. It’s constantly changing and it’s therefore important to determine which channels are best suited for your firm. Different platforms attract your potential customers and it helps to know which ones they’re already using and which of those provide the best opportunity for you to deliver your message.

New platforms like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat are popping up on a regular basis, but some likely won’t be a good fit for your audience, so you’ll probably need to focus on more traditional platforms like Facebook and Twitter in order to engage your users. The main thing you need to concentrate on is providing value to your followers and fans.

Also don’t be afraid to look to outside sources, such as national publications or local outlets for help as part of your Insurance Agent Marketing plan. Consider sharing relevant news articles and graphics from these sources. Using social media as an outlet to share internally created content can work as well, and is a perfect channel in which to share it. Just make sure that the content you create is relevant and provides value for people from all walks of life.

It can be quite useful for sharing articles about legislative changes that affect your industry and explain how this will affect your customers. This helps to establish you as a valuable source of information and a credible expert in this area. Finally, remember that social media enables two-way communication and should be used as a customer service channel, just be aware that some information is okay to share publicly while some things should remain more private.

Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[Supply Chain Intermediaries Face Counterfeit Products]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=649 2015-08-18T22:23:23Z 2015-08-24T15:30:01Z Goods and services come and goods and services go, but how they get between point A and B is up to the companies that specialize in serving as a conduit for these things. Facilitating he process getting them from the all the various supply chain points of contact that you work with into the hands of waiting consumers can be a complicated dance involving timing and precision, and quality, comprehensive insurance for supply chain intermediaries is a must, given the nature of your business. After all, as the underlying structure of all commerce, you face a myriad of risks from a dizzying number of sources–and the more elaborate your supply chain, the greater more attractive your business is to those who would seek to compromise it, and thus the greater the vulnerability is that your system might be the subject of infiltration and exploitation by criminals. For example, counterfeiting is a major source of concern for your business, and as the criminals continually find increasingly sophisticated means of creating fake goods and finding ways to insert them into the pipeline, those who in between are obviously concerned about being caught unawares.

According to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, counterfeit trademark goods are defined as “goods, including packaging, bearing without authorization a trademark which is identical to the trademark validly registered in respect of such goods, or which cannot be distinguished in its essential aspects from such a trademark, and which thereby infringes the rights of the owner of the trademark in question under the law of the country of importation.”

To see a clear example of this, look no further than the evening news. A top story was seizure at the docks of a shipment of what appeared to be high-end designer purses at first glance. However, upon closer inspection, the goods were found to be nothing but fakes–good ones, yet certainly not produced by the manufacturer that retails the bags for more than $2,000 apiece. The entire shipment of several hundred purses was confiscated and later destroyed by officials. Do the math, and the losses were staggering. The question here is, who ultimately pays the price?

The answer: all of us, from the owner of the counterfeited brand to the consumer who unwittingly purchases the fake product to the companies that help move, use, or sell the goods. These items can be made with low-quality, sometimes toxic ingredients that can actually harm consumers, or at the very least cause them to lose faith in the brand, thinking that the quality has eroded, when in actuality, they never had the real thing in the first place. And if you find yourself mixed up in such a situation where goods that you were requested to move are seized, how does this impact your business?

To find out the answer, as well as how you can protect yourself from this and many other risks, call your professional insurance agent to learn more about insurance for supply chain intermediaries.

Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[Keep Your Ears Open: Practice Social Listening]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=646 2015-08-18T21:47:54Z 2015-08-21T13:30:23Z “I just heard that our agency is not going to offer policies anymore for homeowners whose houses are located within 1,000 feet of the ocean,” posted one woman to her social media account recently. “Anybody have any ideas?” The replies poured in almost immediately from friends and business associates, offering advice that ranged from phone numbers of brokers to recommendations for various direct insurers to contact. This was a fairly straightforward situation, but sometimes the lines aren’t so well drawn–and those who want to make the most of their insurance agency marketing plans have to turn up the volume on their listening skills to make an impact.

So-called productive listening is a proactive behavior and a lost art. It’s also one of the most under-utilized tools in your marketing wheelhouse. Far too frequently, agencies have let themselves get lulled into a false sense of complacency in terms of monitoring their social media streams as a means of connecting with their prospects and clients. Rather than simply watching the posts for someone to ask a question that requires a customer service response or making a negative comment that warrants a public reply or correction with evidence to the contrary, active social listening requires firms to take a proactive stance in staying poised to react to people who mention what amounts to the need for what you do–obliquely or directly–as those mentions are basically sales and marketing opportunities in disguise.

Make it personal

Engage your audience from the very beginning by building your company story and team pages online. People may rely on machines more than ever before, so perhaps that’s why they still crave a seemingly personal, customized connection whenever possible. They want to support something they have a personal connection with, not just the company and the product but their mission and their philosophy must jibe with the customer’s point of view. That’s why your “About Us” section has to be compelling and draw in people with engaging photos of your team that reflect your culture, your business personality, and make consumers feel like they fit in with want you represent.

When well performed, insurance agency marketing is somewhere between science and art. Make your efforts for your own firm sing by plugging in at every level, and making sure that when prospects come to view what you have to offer, you draw them in with an attractive, open door.

Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[Rental Cars and Cheap Auto Insurance in CT]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=643 2015-08-18T21:30:52Z 2015-08-19T07:45:02Z Connecticut is actually one of the best states for drivers in terms of driving safety.
A recent Auto Insurance Center study found that, despite the dangers of snow and ice that plague roads in winter, the top five safest states are all found in the Northeast. While Connecticut did not make the top five, with only 15.43 fatal crashes per 10,000 people (compared to 48.27 in the deadliest state, Mississippi), Connecticut drivers fare quite well.

One major difference between the north and south is the default speed limit on major highways. In the Northeast the speed limit is generally found to be 65 mph, while the south and west enforce 70-75 mph. It pays, at the very least, to carry cheap auto insurance in CT in the event you are involved in a traffic accident.

Is additional insurance required for rental cars?

Because insurance policies vary, it’s a good idea, before you rent a car, to make sure you have the required coverage in place. In many instances your personal auto policy will provide coverage for a rental car, but that coverage may be limited to the value of the car you own, rather than the one you’re renting.

It’s also important to remember that in the event of an accident, many rental companies will charge fees beyond repair costs. They may assess a loss-of-use fee for each day the car is unusable, as well as charge the individual responsible, because the value of the car has now decreased and not all insurance policies cover these fees.

If you happen to be traveling with expensive electronics or other valuable items, you may want to consider what coverage you’ll have in the event they are stolen. Your personal auto policy coverage likely won’t provide protection for this scenario, so you may want to investigate this first.

Check your credit card protection

Most credit cards are likely to provide some coverage, but often payment is limited to reimbursement of your personal auto policy deductible for any payments made for repairs. Generally, loss-of-use and other fees are not covered, but it’s important to check with your credit-card provider to determine their company policies for these situations. Remember, to receive any sort of benefit from your card, you must use that card to pay for your entire car rental. Speak to an agent about questions pertaining to acquiring cheap auto insurance in CT and also questions concerning coverage options and rental cars.

Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[The CGL Policy and a Commercial Insurance Agency]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=639 2015-08-05T19:57:45Z 2015-08-12T16:00:25Z Having a Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance policy provides very important protection for corporate policyholders, in that it broadly provides defense and indemnity coverage against certain claims. The commercial insurance agency will pay on behalf of the insured all sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay.

The key is in getting the right limits, covering people within the company who have exposures, and also ensuring that you have specific enhancements or purchase additional policies for liability exposures not covered under a standard commercial insurance policy.

The CGL policy covers liability exposures related to the premises and operational exposures, products produced by the entity, and completed operations exposure, as well as indirect/contingent exposure. Coverage protects a business against claims for bodily injury and property damage related to the ownership and maintenance of the business premises, or as the result of business operations conducted away from the business premises.

The CGL policy, provided by the agency, is triggered by incidents taking place during the policy period. When a policy is triggered, an insurer owes its policyholder two principal obligations: a duty to defend and a duty to indemnify.

The duty to defend

An insurer’s obligation or “duty” to defend is determined by comparing the allegations of the underlying complaint against the coverage provided under the policy. If just one single claim falls within the scope of the coverage, the insurer generally must defend the entire action. The insurer’s duty to defend arises even when the underlying lawsuit or claim is false, groundless, or believed to be fraudulent.

In some instances a policyholder may incur tens of millions of dollars in legal fees if embroiled in large-scale environmental claims or severe product liability claims, even in cases where the policyholder ultimately avoids liability, but fortunately these defense costs typically do not erode primary CGL policy limits.

On the other hand, the insurer’s duty to indemnify generally arises upon the policyholder’s legal obligation to pay damages following a judgment or settlement, and more narrowly turns on the actual facts of the third-party claim as developed in the underlying case. It may seem a bit complicated, which is why working with a commercial insurance agency familiar with the terms and agreements can only benefit companies in need of this coverage.

Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[Errors and Omissions Can Be Disastrous On Both Sides of the Equation]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=635 2015-08-05T19:43:32Z 2015-08-07T14:45:53Z It was one thing to be grieving, but another thing to be charged unfairly because of someone else’s mistake, thought Janet as she looked at the property tax bill that came in the mail that day. The home that had belonged to her family since the early 1960s, the home that she’d grown up in-that home was now Janet’s alone after her mother passed away after a long illness. Janet was happy to have the home remain in the family, yet saddened at the way it had come to her. The attorney she had hired to handle the mystifying mounds of paperwork that ensued after her mother’s death-dealing with everything from closing out bank accounts and certificates of deposit to changing the legal ownership of the various automobiles, the motor home, and the fishing boat that were in her mother’s name-seemed to know what he was doing; he had been referred to her by a church member, so Janet didn’t think it was necessary to do a lot of background checking on the attorney’s references. However, she would learn soon thereafter that not only should she have done reasonable due diligence in selecting an attorney to represent her, an expensive mistake that was made would end up involving her in the last thing she needed to occupy her mind-an errors & omissions insurance claim.

A simple mistake can cost thousands

Apparently the attorney had failed to file a single form with the state that would have enabled Janet to maintain the property tax amount on her home at the same rate charged to her mother, rather than a stepped-up rate based on today’s value. The difference made her property tax bill jump from hundreds of dollars a year to several thousand dollars a year, money that Janet simply didn’t have. She was on the phone for weeks with the tax office just to find out what had happened; when the tax investigator finally figured out that failing to file a single form was the cause of the huge increase, Janet was devastated; she’d misplaced the trust in her attorney to handle everything, and he dropped the ball.

Janet is working hard to get everything sorted out; the tax office says it’ll take months to more than a year as they’re so backed up, but in the meantime the entire amount must be paid or else the home could be seized for failure to pay property taxes. To do so, Janet has borrowed money at exorbitant interest rates as a last resort. She expects to be reimbursed by filing an errors & omissions lawsuit against her attorney, as his negligence in failing to file all the necessary paperwork got her in the jam she’s in. Later on, she learned that the attorney had several complaints against his business practices-information that she could have easily found out if she’d only checked with the local Better Business Bureau. Fortunately for both the attorney and Janet, the attorney had purchased an E&O policy for his one-person business, which will pay for court fees, legal defense, and even damages that will likely be payable to Janet as the plaintiff in the lawsuit. The lesson here on both sides: even in the grip of loss, make sure you check the performance record of someone you intend to hire-and if you are the one being hired, utilize a checklist or an assistant to confirm that each milestone in a multi-step process has been executed.

Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[Umbrella Coverage and Orlando Fl Commercial Insurance]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=632 2015-08-05T14:35:44Z 2015-08-05T15:45:07Z An Orlando FL commercial insurance policy can be designed specifically for your business. There are four main categories of coverage that most companies should not be without, which include property insurance, general liability insurance, commercial automobile insurance, and umbrella insurance.

Umbrella insurance works as an additional liability-type insurance coverage for instances where a claim exceeds your general liability insurance limits. When you start to shop for commercial insurance for your business, you should purchase enough umbrella liability insurance to increase the amount of protection for you and your business when extremely costly accidents happen. Umbrella policies provide an extra layer of business liability insurance that fills in both coverage and limit gaps in all underlying liability policies.

While standard business liability coverage will take care of you and your employees in most situations, when a serious situation does arise, and unfortunately this can occur to any type of business entity at anytime, umbrella liability insurance will help ensure that your business is properly protected. An umbrella policy is an inexpensive way to provide extra coverage against bodily injury and/or property damage.

Situations where umbrella insurance makes a difference

There are many situations where having an umbrella policy as part of your Orlando FL commercial insurance package can save the day. For example, let’s say that your current policy covers you for $1 million dollars. If a claim occurs, and you are successfully sued for $1.5 million, your business umbrella coverage can then pay the outstanding $500,000 in settlement fees – otherwise you would be liable for the balance owed, and it can be quite painful having it come out of your business profits.

How much commercial umbrella insurance coverage does your business need? A variety of factors go into determining the answer to this question, including the type of business you own and how much coverage you already have. If you have a $1-million general liability policy and a $500,000 commercial auto liability policy, your umbrella policy will fill in the $500,000 gap in the auto insurance limit.

Business umbrella insurance has its own policy language and generally will supersede the exclusions and conditions of the primary liability policies. Umbrellas are generally easier to coordinate with underlying liability policies and are also a highly effective risk management tool.

Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[Tips to Improve Insurance Websites]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=628 2015-07-15T20:19:05Z 2015-07-30T10:30:25Z What sets one insurance website apart from another? The answer is the ability to get visitors to return again and again, as well as refer others to the site. Insurance websites, aside from good content, need four things to make them the place to stop, and shop. How is this accomplished?

  1. EngagementYou want your website visitors to engage with you, whether online through quote and/or customer service forms, or by calling your office. Making this process less difficult will make your visitors feel appreciated and welcomed. Encourage any and all feedback, even the negative type. Knowing that you’re willing to listen goes a long way toward building trust with consumers, plus your agency will seem more genuine when you talk about great customer service and your customers will feel like they’re important to you. Make sure you respond and follow up in a timely manner. There’s nothing worse than encouraging engagement on your website and not responding when your customers reach out.
  2. Personality – Bring your personality online through your agency colors; include pictures of you and your team, and reach them through your blog. These are the things that make your agency stand out from the competition. Use words and content that fit your personality. For example, if your agency is casual, don’t use formal language and vice versa. If your website is just a copy of everyone else’s, consumers won’t get a chance to know the real you and they’ll quickly lose interest. People like to do business with people, and companies, they actually like, so don’t be afraid to let your personality show through.
  3. Resource – Becoming a resource can really make your website a favorite insurance destination. Unfortunately, you really can’t afford to give away or discount your products, so the best way to reward visitors is by offering free information. For instance, provide free reports that can be downloaded on your website that includes a list of related service providers like banks, mortgage brokers, carpet cleaners, and gardeners, as just a few suggestions.
  4. User-Friendly – Finally, one of the quickest ways to lose website traffic is to have a website that is hard to use. Bad navigation, graphics that don’t load or run slowly, broken links and missing or incorrect information are just a few ways websites can be hard to use and turn people away. Insurance websites don’t have to be inventive; they just have to be accessible.
Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[Legal Concerns and Dog Bite Quote Solutions]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=625 2015-07-15T20:12:16Z 2015-07-28T12:45:53Z Dog owners not only need to understand local laws pertaining to their responsibilities if someone becomes an unfortunate victim of their dog, they also need to get a Dog Bite Quote for insurance to help pay legal and medical costs. It can help greatly if they can prove the animal was provoked in any way. For example, if your dog bites a child in response to constant teasing and/or cruelty by that young person, the dog’s owner may be able to gain a better legal position by notifying the parents that he or she had actually observed the teasing or cruelty taking place.

This notification should be made both verbally and in writing by mail (certified mail is recommended), and the owner should also keep a record of any and all events. If the actions are serious enough (i.e. rocks tossed or thrown, hitting the dog with a stick, etc.), those incidents should be reported to the local authorities and/or animal control department as well as humane organizations. It will help in establishing a legal defense by documenting acts of animal cruelty, for which the law could mandate psychological treatment or possibly jail for the offender.

Ways to help your pet avoid aggressive behavior

There are several ways to stem the tide of bad behavior, especially for normally aggressive dogs:

  • Enrolling your dog in obedience classes
  • Neutering male dogs can significantly reduce dominance problems and some other forms of aggression
  • Make sure your dog gets lots of appropriate exercise
  • Keep dogs on a leash or physically fenced area when outside
  • Never leave young children alone with a dog, and
  • Teach children (and adults) how to behave around animals

Inform houseguests that they shouldn’t disturb your dog while sleeping or eating. Don’t tease, yell, or make sudden movements around dogs. Children (and adults) acting nervous around an animal often send off a message that most animals can pick up or sense.

If you are not confident around strangers, do not walk your dog near strangers. Also, demonstrate what it means to be a responsible dog owner. Being an irresponsible dog owner can lead to circumstances that can be detrimental to both you and your pet. If you need to purchase insurance we suggest you get a Dog Bite Quote as soon as possible.

Trauma Care Advisors <![CDATA[PEO Insurance Protect Those Who Help Others]]> http://www.ctrp.org/?p=622 2015-07-15T19:52:24Z 2015-07-24T17:30:10Z At first, it seemed like a match made in heaven-Tri-City Hardware and a new professional employment organization that opened up in the neighborhood. While the hardware store had been in business for more than 50 years and was firmly established and had even spawned two other locations, it was essentially a small family operation that realized that handling the human resources aspect of the business–what with background checks, drug screens and the like even before the final interview was even conducted-was more than they had the experience and knowledge to take care of efficiently and accurately, nor could they have any hope of affording the significant annual salary that such professionals would require. So, fearing a lawsuit, the store turned to the new firm that specialized in providing workers with expertise in certain fields-in this case, Staffing Solutions. As an expert in the field of human resources, employee benefits, risk management, and payroll administration, Staffing Solutions was a professional employment organization that could help Tri-City grow to the next level by providing human resources professionals, or so they thought. What actually happened was an incident that found Staffing Solutions and the hardware store for which it provided human resources professionals facing incidents that found the firm had purchased PEO insurance.

What the policy covers

This policy offers a variety of coverage for the employees that the insured firm (in this case, Staffing Solutions) places within the premises of its clients-in this case, Tri-City-including employment practices liability, health insurance, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, and a host of other employee benefits and other voluntary insurance protection. Thus, when one of the HR professionals was severely injured on the Tri-City premises, everyone concerned was relieved to know that Staffing Solutions’ policy would pay for the employee’s medical costs (she was hospitalized with a compound fracture in her left leg for weeks), as well as physical therapy and lost wages during the months she was unable to work.

Find out more from your agent

Contact a professional insurance agent to learn more about PEO insurance and how it can provide protection for your company as you provide direction for companies that need the skills and expertise of your employees.