The General Liability Environment

The General Liability Environment

Legal, Medical and Emerging Trends Affecting Liability Losses

In the past few years, there are a number of legal and medical issues that, when combined, have driven liability costs even higher. We partnered with our friends at Liberty Mutual Insurance to explain some of the elements that are causing liability costs to rise as well as a few steps to keep you and your loved ones protected at the best value.


Escalating Verdicts—Cases going to trial result in higher paid costs. While headlines have focused on auto liability, we see this impacting general liability as well.

Litigation Funding—Outside investors are fronting legal fees, resulting in more cases going to trial, which can drive up claim severity.

Traumatic Brain Injury—Plaintiff attorneys are including TBI at the onset of claims, leading to more medical costs and life care plans. TBI claims have grown in recent years.


Medical Inflation—In recent years there has been a two percent increase in medical inflation, a 2.4 percent increase in prescription drug inflation and a 5.6 percent increase in hospital cost inflation.

Opioids—Average costs are higher when patients are dependent on opioids. New opioid treatments and other newer risks facing businesses today can create challenges for employers if not managed effectively.

Wellness—The aging population and overall decline of our health and well-being is putting pressure on costs. The increase in co-morbidities and preference for non-surgical and non-opioid treatments are driving use of physical medicine therapies.

Inability to Manage Medical—Unlike workers compensation claims, insurance carriers have little influence on how medical insurance is managed.

Emerging Trends

Violent Events—Active shooters and other crisis situations are causing organizations to re-assess their risk and readiness.

Technology—Data and technology are disrupting how we do things. From A.I. (artificial intelligence) and autonomous vehicles to data-driven environments, these advancements can help us be safer, but not without risk. Technology-sensor-loaded gear in the form of vests, glasses, gloves and more, may help improve workplace safety and productivity. But, it’s also in its infancy, so you should review information carefully and identify objectives and potential impacts before moving forward.

Sharing Economy—The lack of clarity in where coverages begin and end in the sharing economy is driving the need for custom insurance solutions.

What Can You Do?

Partner with an insurance carrier who understands your industry and your unique risks and can create a tailored solution specific to your business.

Get extra protection when you need it most. Make sure you have appropriate umbrella and excess liability coverage.

Disaster preparedness planning can help you identify vulnerabilities and dependencies in the event disaster strikes.

Expert claims management for the best possible outcome can impact your total cost of risk.

Risk control resources and a packed calendar of webinars and in-person training to help you identify and mitigate risk. Topics include contractual risk transfer, industry-specific risk improvement tools, product liability and more.

With an ever-evolving landscape, liability insurance can be difficult to navigate. Here at Penny Insurance Agency, your peace of mind is our priority. Give us a call today to connect with a Penny Insurance agent to discover your best liability coverage options.

You Lock Your Door, but Do You Lock Your Internet

You Lock Your Door, but Do You Lock Your Internet

You Lock Your Door, but Do You Lock Your Internet?
Cybercrime isn’t a laughing matter, even if the names of different malware—Heartbleed, WannaCry—sound like angsty teen band names. The U.S. Justice Department recently said that cybercrime is one of the greatest threats facing our country, having enormous implications for national security, economic prosperity and public safety.

Penny Insurance Agency partnered with Chubb Insurance to break down what needs to be done to protect your family, business and assets on the Web.

Affluence Increases Risk
High net-worth individuals are more exposed to cybercrime due to the complexity of their lives and the many ways they use online services. Statistically, successful individuals and families have 15 or more financial accounts. They often have multiple homes equipped with several computers and other devices connected to the Internet, including IoT-bound smart heating, cooling and security systems. And that doesn’t even include personal computers or devices.

Consider a few real-life examples:

Richard* owned a second home in Florida and discovered that its smart protection/control system had been hacked and that the home’s complex air conditioning system and alarms had been disabled. Because temperatures inside the house reached 95 degrees for days on end, Richard’s expansive and expensive wine collection was ruined. Through his insurance provider, he connected with a security firm to identify vulnerabilities and tighten his cyber security.

When Ahmed* received an email from one of his banks notifying him that an account was overdrawn, something seemed amiss. By his count, he should have had a balance in excess of $10,000. When he checked his records, Ahmed discovered that his secretary had made several wire transfers from his account mistakenly using an email address similar to his. The bank found the email contained the Ahmed’s Social Security number, as well as passport information. Identity theft services were engaged quickly to mitigate future damage to his personal identity.

Actionable Steps to Combat Risk
In each case noted above, the individual had proper coverage and services to mitigate future damage and their service providers alerted them to the risks. But not all cybercrime victims are so fortunate. Many families are inadequately protected from the potential financial damage that cybercrime can inflict, and many policies do little to help once a cybercrime has been committed.

In addition to reviewing policies and coverage, take action to eliminate unforeseen costs and headaches:

Protect yourself. Don’t expose yourself or your family to unnecessary risk. Complete background checks on employees, back-up data via cloud software or external devices and use anti-virus protection. Beware of connecting to the Internet in public places, avoid pop-ups, ads and unsolicited emails. Update passwords and computer software often and don’t overshare via social media or other means.

Be prepared. Prepare an incident response plan that designates the individual within your business who will take charge if a cyber-incident occurs. The plan should include experts prepared to provide legal advice as well as assist with assessing the extent of the incident.

Train your staff. Many cyber incidents may be preventable through employee training and preventive measures such as not opening emails or attachments from an unknown source. Don’t let your staff be the weakest link.

Act immediately. Should a cyber-incident occur, execute your response plan and promptly notify authorities in the event of breaches of personal information.

Helping our clients understand the importance of protecting against cybercrime
The rising tide and growing sophistication of cybercrime make successful clients more vulnerable than ever to identity theft, financial loss and more. Taking the proper precautions and maintaining safeguards can help protect successful clients, their families and their businesses from becoming cybercrime victims.

At Penny Insurance Agency, your peace of mind is our highest priority. Consult with a Penny Premier concierge today to assess your risk and discover your optimum protection services.

* U.S Department of Justice. crime

2018 Open Enrollment: What You Really Need to Know

2018 Open Enrollment: What You Really Need to Know

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—open enrollment! Now this might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about this time of year, but for us here at Penny Insurance Agency, open enrollment is a great opportunity to receive health insurance coverage.

Things are looking different for open enrollment than they did this time last year. Keeping up with policy changes can feel overwhelming, so we’re breaking down what’s been happening in health insurance to keep you in the know:

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010, health insurance policy owners were given the opportunity to keep their health insurance. They would be “grandfathered” in so that they would not be required to purchase an ACA plan, i.e. Obamacare, and they could keep their existing coverage.

Since then, many of these grandfathered insureds chose to keep their grandfathered plan because they were significantly less expensive than their potential Obamacare plans. Granted, the plans did not offer some of the same coverages that the ACA plans offered.

It is important to know that all ACA plans include maternity coverage, regardless of the gender or age of the insured. This is one of the reasons Obamacare plans are more expensive. Additionally, with the ACA plans, there are several preventive coverages—like shots or screenings—that are free as long as you are going to a physician your policy covers.

Nonetheless, grandfathered insureds chose to pay the deductible for a procedure like a colonoscopy rather than change to a higher premium, or they did not need maternity coverage.

Annual Enrollment for 2018 is different than previous years in that it requires all grandfathered plans to purchase ACA plans. These insureds received notification from their insurance companies that their grandfathered days were almost over and they were “mapped” into an ACA plan similar to the old plan.

So why are people upset? The plan for 2018 contains all the “essential health benefits” contained in Obamacare plans. As a result, these grandfathered insureds have premiums that have doubled or tripled – depending on the coverage, or lack thereof, of the pre-2010 plans.

Obamacare plans provide dental coverage for children younger than 18. Obviously not all adults who purchase an ACA plan have children who will use this coverage; nevertheless, the coverage is built in. This is another reason the premiums are higher. All Obamacare plans have 10 “essential health benefits which must be paid for whether the insured uses them or not.”

Here at Penny Insurance Agency, we make it our priority to provide you with the most up-to- date policy information and comprehensive coverage plans. We know determining the proper health insurance plan for you and your family may seem like a daunting task, but you do not have to tackle it alone—our experienced and knowledgeable agents will be with you throughout the process.

Contact us today if you’re interested in speaking with a Penny Insurance Agency representative. Your protection is our priority.

Personal Insurance in Your Retirement Planning

When you think of retirement, financial planning may be the first thing that pops in your mind, while insurance may not register high on your priority list. Whether you are already retired, newly retired or still in the planning phases, review the following areas to see how your personal insurance program should be structured.

Home Insurance

  • Full Replacement Cost Coverage: Your main home – along with any vacation or second homes – probably represent the largest components of your net worth. Many people assume they have full replacement cost coverage, when they only have basic replacement coverage. Basic replacement coverage only amounts to only 20-25% above coverage limit. By securing full replacement cost coverage, you would be able to completely rebuild in the event of loss. Full replacement, or guaranteed replacement, cost coverage often provides for other structures on your property like driveways, walkways, pools and detached garages.
  • Building Cost Upgrades: Many retirees live in homes that are more than 25 years old. Upgrades are often needed to bring homes up to code, and most policies only offer basic coverage, providing up to 10% of the total coverage amount to be put toward upgrade costs. Homeowners can add a special endorsement for building code upgrades to their coverage that allows for a specific percentage above the standard 10%.

Personal Property Insurance

  • Inventory Personal Property: As people age, they usually increase the quantity and quality of personal property. By taking an inventory of everything they own, you’ll be able to estimate how much it could cost to replace everything you own. Most home insurance policies set content coverage at 50-70% of the cost to replace the home structure, which leaves many homeowners under-insured for their personal property.
  • Valuables Policy: Most homeowners rely solely on their homeowners’ policy to insure their personal property, including their precious collections of jewelry, art, wine and other items. As we discussed above, the coverage often does not insure all personal property, especially these high value items. Securing a valuables policy will ensure proper coverage.

Miscellaneous Insurance

  • Purchase Umbrella Liability Insurance: Provides liability protection above standard coverage in your auto and homeowner insurance policies.
  • Protection for Board Members & Directors of Charitable Organization: Even volunteer board members and trustees can be sued personally for actions of charitable organizations. Not-for-profit director’s and officer’s coverage will guard against this threat.
  • Trust and Limited Liability Companies on Insurance Policies: Many people will place homes, collections and other assets into trusts to protect and maximize transfer of wealth to offspring. Families need to make sure all trusts and LLCs are named on insurance policies to ensure they are protected against liability lawsuits

At Penny Insurance, we are here to consult and advise on the best way to protect you and your loved ones during the golden years. Give us a call today, and we will work with you to plan for these and other eventualities.

Spring Cleaning Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

Spring Cleaning Tips to Keep Your Home Safe

The temperature outside is warming up, flowers are blooming and the grass is growing. It can only mean one thing – spring is finally here! It’s that time of year when most people like to take some time to clean out their homes and yards in order to start fresh for the summer. While you may be more focused on pulling weeds in your garden or sorting through your summer clothes, we’ve got a few spring cleaning tips that will help keep you, and your home, safe for another year.

Spring Cleaning

Clean Out Your Gutters

Gutters have a tendency to fill up over the winter. Falling leaves and debris from winter storms can build up and be left unchecked for months. After all, who wants to clean gutters in the dead of winter? Now that it’s warm outside, take some time to remove all the debris and ensure your gutters are clear. Clean gutters will protect your home from water damage during summer rain storms, and will also keep more bugs away, protecting from infestation. (more…)

Why We Love Our Local Hendersonville and Tryon Communitites

Why We Love Our Local Hendersonville and Tryon Communitites

Main StInsurance agents have the ability to work from anywhere in the country. Not only is insurance a universal need no matter where you live, but in this day and age many have found ways to telecommute and serve a large area from a distant office. At Penny Insurance Agency, however, we have found that not only do we enjoy serving our local community of Hendersonville, Tryon and the surrounding areas, but we also believe in the value of serving customers from an office that is right down the road from where they work, live and play.

In the world of smart phones and tablets, it’s not uncommon to hear other agencies advertise the ability to interact solely through mobile communication. However, we enjoy turning off the Facetime app on our phones and instead, sitting down with our clients in person to have actual face time. By meeting in person, our clients feel comfortable asking questions without feeling rushed. Our clients know that they can always just stop by our office in Hendersonville or Tryon to find an answer, that they don’t have to sit on hold for hours on end waiting for an operator with a script to finally pick up the phone. It may be an “old” way of doing things, but we think it works just fine. (more…)