The Turbulent California Insurance Market
The insurance marketplace is tightening up and it's happening fast. It’s happening especially fast for home / residential rentals and auto insurance companies. Carriers are pulling a full hard stop on issuing any new policies across the country, and carriers that have NOT put a moratorium on binding new coverage, are actually just leaving the market or they are selling to other carriers/merging. They simply can't operate profitably in this inflationary market. 

The cost of claims has risen exponentially in the past 2 years, thus resulting in the carriers having to raise premiums or pull out of some markets. Carriers have applied for rate increases, but have not been able to get them approved, so they simply shut down for new business. 

If you have an auto or home insurance policy, your rates have gone up, and if they haven’t, they will. This isn't personal, it’s not based on a claim you may or may have not had, it’s simply the cost of doing business. If you have not gotten a rate increase, be prepared for one at your next renewal.

Why is this happening you ask:
--The cost to rebuild your home is up dramatically due to the rising cost of materials and labor. Supply chain for materials continues to be an issue. We can all agree that everything has gone up in price. Carriers simply can’t survive paying these higher prices without charging more themselves. 
--The cost to repair your car is up dramatically due to the rising cost of auto parts and labor to fix your car. In addition, parts in vehicles now include some technology features. Replacing a side mirror or windshield used to be $500 - now it’s more than triple that.
--The cost of medical care continues to skyrocket. Bodily injury on auto accidents is off the charts. 
--Litigation is expensive and settlements are rising at an unprecedented rate. 
--Both the frequency and severity of auto accidents are WAY up post COVID along with the rising frequency of auto fatalities. 

There are some things you can do to help get through this current insurance market:

--Consider Higher Deductibles. This will help save some money on your policy. 
--Safe Driving Telematic Programs. Telematics can reward you by giving you a discount for good driving. 
--Discount Reviews - make sure you're getting everything you're entitled to. Every carrier has different discount opportunities. Make sure you go over those with your agent. 
--DO NOT let your policy cancel or lapse *for any reason*. Carriers are not reinstating coverage as easily as they once did. If it does cancel, they may require premium in full before reinstating. This is across the board for every line of coverage.
--Bundle your Auto and Home for more discounts and more stable pricing. Bundled/Packaged policies most always include better coverage and benefits and the cost savings is usually 10-15% (or more) on each policy. Many business risks can also bundle options.
--Consider tenure - jumping companies too often will hurt you in the long run. In addition, some carriers won’t take you as a new client if you have less than two years with a carrier. And more importantly, carriers are getting off of some risks if a claim happens in the new business term or for the number of claims in a 3-5 year window. Tenure matters with a carrier. 
--Follow the laws so you don’t get any tickets. Those tickets really add rate to your policy and stay on your record 3-5 years, depending on the carrier. 
--Absorb small claims when you're able, and save coverage for catastrophic losses. Talk with your agent and let them claims counsel you should a loss happen. Stop using your towing or roadside assistance as a maintenance policy. Frequency of claims REALLY matters. A lot.
--Buy your insurance from an experienced Independent Insurance Broker that has options and can help you navigate this crazy market WITHOUT SACRIFICING COVERAGE. Lowering coverages could ultimately cost you more money in a loss. 

Lastly, please remember that we are agents for the carriers. We don’t make the rules, we don’t have control over the rates and we don’t make the decision if your policy is cancelled by the carriers. We are here to help educate, make sure you have the best insurance for your situation, manage your account with the carrier, and claims counsel when needed. We are doing our best to manage carrier changes with client needs.
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Smart Home Security Systems: A Super Smart Idea
Using a smart home security system can help to give you the much-needed peace of mind that you, your home and your belongings are as safely protected as they could possibly be. It actually has an added benefit, though: a smart security system will add value to your home and lower your insurance premiums. Read on for a few examples of smart security systems you should consider installing.

Smart locks. Controlled via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth from an app on your phone, a smart door lock cannot be picked by trespassers, can notify you any time it is opened and gives you efficient levels of control—for example being able to give out virtual keys to visitors or family members.

Doorbell cameras. A video doorbell streams live to your phone and the recording can be saved, meaning that whether you’re home or not, you can see who’s at the door. A further bonus is that it can detect motion to activate, helping to deter criminals from stealing from your porch.

In-house motion sensor. A motion sensor inside your house will detect any movement in its path and can trigger a number of actions, from alerting you to intruders, to turning your lights on or off or controlling your smart speaker or TV. It’s affordable, can be installed pretty much anywhere and can even help save energy by setting it to turn off lights and gadgets when no one is around.


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Grape & Goat Cheese Stuffed Sweet Potato

4 sweet potatoes 2 cups seedless red grapes 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 4 ounces goat cheese Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg 2 tablespoons honey + extra for drizzling
Preheat oven to 425˚F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. With a fork, poke holes in sweet potatoes. Bake until tender, 45-50 minutes. Split the tops open. Let cool.

Raise oven temperature to 450˚F. Lay grapes on baking sheet, add oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast until grapes begin to burst, 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool.

When sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh with spoon, keeping potato intact. In large bowl, mash sweet potato flesh, 3 ounces goat cheese, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and honey. Scoop flesh back into potato skins. Warm up potatoes if needed, then top with remaining goat cheese. Add grapes, drizzle with honey and serve. Serves 4.

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