Many of our insurance partners are offering customers premium refunds or policy credits in light of the “shelter-in-place” orders in Texas.  Because our Core Values include: Advocacy, we wanted to provide a breakdown of how each carrier is applying the credit/refund you will receive.

In the table below, you’ll find a list of carriers and how they will handle relief.

Carrier

Relief

Safeco

Amount: 15% refund of April and May’s premium payment. 

 

How: Refunds will be automatically returned to insured’s most recent method of payment.  Example: If paid-in-full, Safeco will mail out refund check. If you paid $150 each month for a total of $300 x 15% = $45 refund

When: Once Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), refunds will be sent.

More info: Customer’s don’t need to do anything to receive the refund.  See company press release here.


Progressive  

Amount: 20% premium credit for April and May’s premium payment.

 

How: Personal auto customers with an active policy on 4/30 will be credited 20% of their April premiums in May.  Customers with an active policy on 5/31, will be credited 20% of their May’s premium in June.

 

When: As noted above, pending TDI approval.

More info: Customer’s don’t need to do anything to receive the premium credit.  See company press release here.


Nationwide  

Amount: A one-time premium refund of $50 per personal auto policies active as of 3/31.

 

How: Refunds will be automatically returned to insured’s most recent method of payment.  If paid-in-full, Nationwide will mail out refund check.

 

When: Pending TDI approval.

More info: Customer’s don’t need to do anything to receive the refund.  See company press release here.


Kemper Personal Insurance  

Amount: 15% premium credit for April and May’s premium payment.

 

How: Personal auto customers with an active policy on 4/30 will be credited 15% of their April premiums in May.  Customers with an active policy on 5/31, will be credited 15% of their May’s premium in June.

 

When: As noted above, pending TDI approval.

More info: Customer’s don’t need to do anything to receive the premium credit.  See company press release here.


MetLife  

Amount: 20% premium credit for April and May’s premium payment.

 

How: Personal auto customers with an active policy on 4/30 will be credited 20% of their April premiums in May.  Customers with an active policy on 5/31, will be credited 20% of their May’s premium in June.

 

When: As noted above, pending TDI approval.

More info: Customer’s don’t need to do anything to receive the premium credit.  See company press release here.


Travelers  

Amount: 15% refund of April and May’s premium payment. 

 

How: Refunds will be automatically returned to insured’s most recent method of payment.  If paid-in-full, Travelers will mail out refund check. Example: If you paid $150 each month for a total of $300 x 15% = $45 refund

When: Once Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), refunds will be sent.

More info: Customer’s don’t need to do anything to receive the refund.  See company press release here.

 

If you don’t see your insurance provider listed above, reach out to us and we can help find you the information.

Most carriers are going to see a highly profitable year.  Some will keep that all to themselves and others will become very aggressive in their rates.

If you don’t already have a strong relationship with your insurance agent, give us a call, shoot us a text or DM on the socials.  Now is a great time to review your current auto coverage and pricing.

If you love your current agent, give them a call to discuss opportunities to improve your current situation.

There is some good news today for small business owners.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief & Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by the house and signed into law by the President.  In it, small business who are negatively impacted by the current state of affairs, can find some relief.

Here’s is a breakdown of how it can help you as a small business, get back to work, pay the bills, keep your team employed and curve some of the effects to your bottom line.

How it works:

  • First, you should know that some or all of the loan is forgivable if certain criteria are met.
  • No personal guarantee or collateral will be required.
  • You’ll be asked for a good faith certification that states the loan is necessary to support continuing your business operations.
  • You are going to use the money to pay rent/mortgage, utility bills, retain workers and maintain payroll.

Eligibility:

  • Small business with less than 500 employees or otherwise meets the SBA’s size standard
  • 501(c)3 with less than 500 employees
  • 501(c)(19) Veterans Organization that meets the SBA size standard
  • Sole proprietors, self-employed individuals, contractors, are eligible for the loan if you meet certain criteria.

You can borrow:

  • up to 2.5x your average monthly payroll cost, not to exceed $10 million
  • The payroll cost (for 1099 AND W2 employees) is considered to be: salary, wage, commission, cash tips, vacation leave, FMLA, sick leave, group health benefits, including insurance premiums, retirement benefit and local/state unemployment tax
  • What is EXCLUDED from payroll cost: Any employees salary over $100K/year pro-rated for the period 2/15 through 6/30, payroll taxes, income tax, any compensation for an employee whose principal residence is out the US

Requirements for Loan Forgiveness:

  • The amount eligible to be forgiven can be equal to the amount you spend in an 8-week period beginning on the date of the origination of the loan for the following:
    • payroll costs (as described above)
    • Interest on a Mortgage loan incurred ordinary to the business
    • Rent for business
    • Utilities (electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone or internet)
    • Tipped wages which includes additional wages paid to the employee
  • Your loan forgiveness can be reduced if you reduce the number of employees or reduce you payroll cost greater than 25%
  • If you’ve already laid off employees or furloughed employees, you can bring them back by 6/30 to avoid a reduction in loan forgiveness.

Get back to work:

  • Bring your employees back and let them help make your business better! This is a perfect opportunity to help to your team members shine!  There is obviously going to be more downtime than you’re used to seeing, so invest in your team and bring out their abilities to benefit the business as a whole.
    • Allow them the creative leeway to help advertise your business. You know that kid on your team who is or has the potential to be a social media influencer?  Get them to build a campaign for your business on social media, NOW.  So, when things return to normal, you can implement the plan.
    • Have a server who is tech savvy? Allow them to look at ways to improve your technology. Investigate new or innovative ways that allow you and your business to function better and become efficient.  Bring on new software that might improve your business long-term.
    • Have someone on your team who wants the chance to make in management? Start training them now.  Let them shadow you to learn what you do.  Give them something to be in charge of and send them off.
    • You never know where you’ll find your rising star. That kid that you invest in today, won’t forget what you did for them tomorrow.  You won’t regret it.

We hope this has been helpful for you and that it gives you just a little bit of hope for surviving this tough season.  We’re here with you and in it till then end.  Please share this info with anyone you might know who could benefit for it.

 

You can apply for the COVID-19 Relief Loan Program through LiftFund by clicking the link here.

Leal Insurance Services, LLC is a full-service, independent insurance agency offering: auto, home and business insurance.  We’re located in San Antonio, Texas serving all of Texas.  Our mission is to enhance the insurance experience for our clients through Listening, Education and Advocacy of Local community.  Request a quote here.

Please talk with your CPA or tax professional for tax implications.  This is for informational purposes only and is not intended to imply or express insurance coverage of any kind.

Source: https://www.uschamber.com/co/start/strategy/federal-small-business-stimulus-aid-programs-guide

I’m pretty confident that if you asked anyone who has ever owned a rental property you would get an overwhelming response that it’s not as lucrative or easy as they thought it would be. In fact, owning a rental property can be a major pain, and end up costing you a ton of money!

I certainly don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer”, and I know that if it’s done right it can be lucrative, but from an insurance agent’s perspective, I don’t see a lot of people doing it right.

So you’re probably thinking, “Well Chris, you are an insurance agent. What do you know about real estate or rental properties? Why should I take advice from you?”

I’m not a real estate agent, and I don’t own a rental property. However, several of my friends/family/clients/co-workers own rentals, and because I insure a bunch of their properties, I’ve had a first hand account of the process, and I’ve learned what to do, and what not to do.

Continue reading →

I was recently asked this question by one of our Leal Insurance Services clients, and thought I would share the answer here for our readers.

There are a lot of things that go into homeowners and auto insurance rates, one of them being credit. I’ve heard a lot of complaints from people who don’t like the fact that insurance companies use credit in their underwriting.

Some people have absolutely no idea that it’s used in the rate at all.

At the end of the day, there’s not much we can do about it though. Insurance companies have been using credit in their rates for decades, and that’s not likely to change.

By the way, insurance companies don’t pull your credit like a mortgage company or credit card company does. There is no negative impact on your credit as a result of an insurance company looking at it.

When I say “pull” what I mean is that the insurance company is doing what’s called a soft inquiry, which is not the same thing as having your credit pulled (hard inquiry).

When does credit play a role in insurance rates?
It’s important to understand that insurance companies don’t continuously check or monitor your credit. Usually, they only check it when you first get a quote and/or sign up with them in the very beginning.

This means that if your credit score increases (or decreases) your insurance company does not automatically know about it.

So, to my customers question of whether or not his increased credit score will lower his rates, the answer is not automatically.

What has to be done on our side as the agent is contact the carrier the insurance and ask them to do what’s commonly referred to as a “re-score”. This is when the insurance company can re-run the person’s credit (soft inquiry) to see if there is any positive bearing on the rate.

This isn’t something that the insurance company is going to let the agency do every single year, so it’s not worth even asking unless there has been a significant change in your credit score, and only you as the customer would know if that was the case.

If you’d like to get a better handle on your credit rating, it could be helpful to setup credit monitoring. We hope this was helpful! As always, leave us comment below if you have any questions.

Why do my auto insurance rates keep going up even though my car is getting older?  At Leal Insurance Services, many of our clients ask this question so I would like to address it from a couple of angles.

First things first, even though it’s called car/auto insurance, it covers more than just your car. It should technically be called “auto-owners” insurance, similarly to how home insurance is actually called “home owners insurance”.

It’s important to understand that there are a lot of variables that go into insurance premiums, and with auto insurance, it’s no different.

The insurance company is much more concerned with you crashing into someone and causing them (or yourself) bodily harm, or death, than they are about your car. A car is a material possession which can be replaced.

A human life is not.

When is the last time you looked at your auto insurance policy?
If you look at it you’ll notice there are a lot of different coverages on your auto policy.

Bodily injury
Property damage
Un-insured motorist
Under-insured motorist
Medical Payments
Loss of Income
Funeral Expense
Loss of use
Rental Reimbursement

These are all things that you are covered for on your auto policy. How many of them have to do with your car?

None.

How many of them have a price next to them on your policy?

All of them.

Your car isn’t the only thing you’re being charged for on your policy
That’s because auto insurance covers far more important things than your car as mentioned above.

Let me re-phrase that: your car insurance rate isn’t just based on your car.

You’re not the only one…
It’s also important to understand that you are not the only person your insurance company insures. You are one fish in an ocean of other fish, sharks, and sea creatures, all who have different characteristics and risk profiles.

Insurance is all about spreading costs over a large number (risk pool) of people, which each person paying their fare share. That risk pool is constantly changing, and is impacted by a ton of different things, including the overall economic climate.

This means that you are sharing in the cost of millions of other people, many of whom may have poor loss history and/or credit.

That’s what insurance is though — sharing in the cost.

The next time your auto insurance rates go up, take a look at the big picture. Make sure you’re looking at ALL of the coverages, and corresponding rates.

Hope this helps!  If you would like to know more about Car Insurance be sure to visit our page dedicated to it.