Friday, April 27, 2018


What's on top of the house?

Why is your roof important?  Why does it matter what type of roof you have? How long should they last? 
Roofs! Who would think there would be so much to know? 

Let's start with the basics.

Common Roof Shapes

Gable: This is the most common, least expensive and easily built. It is recognized by it's Triangular shape. It is efficient for water/snow run off. The downside is they are prone to more damage during high wind storms. There are several styles of Gable roofs; Side, Crossed, Front and Dutch Gable.
Hip: This is very common also.  It is recognized by the slopes on all four sides of equal length that meet at the top like a slope. Hip is more stable than Gable and are also efficient for water/snow run off. The downside is they are more expensive and are prone to leaks if they are not built correctly. There are several styles of hip roof; Simple, Crossed and, Half Hipped.
Flat: Flat roofs have a very slight pitch for water run-off. They are generally used in industrial and commercial buildings, but they can be used in residential building also. (Although some carriers will not insure a flat roof.) They offer additional living space on the roof for patios or gardens also. 

Common Roof Types

Asphalt/Composite Shingle: These are the most common type of roof. Usually made of fiberglass and asphalt, they have a shorter lifespan than other choices. They claim to last up to 30 years, but in Texas, few composite roofs will last longer than 10 years without incurring significant weather damage.
Clay Tile: This is considered to be the most durable of roofing materials. There are many colors and shapes, giving the homeowner more options on the look of their roof. It stands up well to mold and rot and hurricane winds. The main disadvantages are the cost and the weight of the tiles. You may need to install additional support beams if you are adding a tile roof. But the length of life for tile roofs can offset that cost.
Metal Roof: This is another durable option for roofing. You can get up to 50 years of life, with very little maintenance. Now you can also get metal roofing that looks like shingle or clay tiles. They can be painted also, giving you many choices for the look of your roof. the main disadvantage is the upfront cost, but you would make it up in the lack of maintenance costs. 

There is much more to roofs than I have listed, but the basics are enough for now. Your roof age, shape and type make a difference in the cost of your insurance. Carriers can decide to not insure you because of your roof age, type, shape and/or condition. Why? Because it can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $30,000 to replace a residential roof, depending on the size, shape and materials. You have insurance so you do not have to pay that full amount. But the carrier does (minus your deductible), so they will inspect and discern if your roof is a risk they are willing to take on. 

"We had a pre-sale inspection and they said the roof was fine so your carrier is wrong." (We hear this often from upset clients.) A pre-sale inspection stating the roof is fine does not override a carrier's decision not to insure the roof. They will send their own inspector out to look at the house, including the roof.  Keep in mind, the carrier is the one who will pay out the cost to replace the roof, not you. They do have every right to decide if a roof is or is not in insurable condition. You can get upset, but it won't change their decision. Also keep in mind different carriers evaluate the condition of a home differently. One carrier may reject a roof while a different carrier will insure the same roof. 
(So don't get too upset- there is a fix!)

Texas has some of the most volatile weather in the US. We have hail, hurricanes and tornadoes, often multiple times per year. Hurricane Harvey paid out 670,000 claims last year to the amount of $4.5 billion. A large part of that payout was flooding, but another large part was for roof claims for wind damage. Then there was Hurricane Irma in Florida. Why would that affect Texas rates? Because many carriers write in multiple states. So if there are $10 billion paid out in claims, as there was for Irma, it will affect entire company, not just Texas branches. Over $5 billion was paid out in hail claims last year in Texas. Those high amounts in claims have carriers scrutinizing roofs even more closely this year. They simply are not going to pay to repair or replace a damaged roof unless the damage happened on their watch. Plus material costs are rising each year. If the materials cost more, the cost to replace/repair will cost more and insurance pricing will increase. This is the nature of the business. This is another reason why it is a great idea to go through an independent agency. If your pricing goes up, independent agents can re-shop your rates. 
Your roof can make a big difference in your rates, so take care when you look at when and how you replace or repair. Always use a licensed roofer. It is a good idea to get referrals from people you trust. Get multiple estimates and choose who you are comfortable with!

There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance at 877-987-8683  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dogs and Insurance

The Dog Days of Insurance

"What do you mean, they won't insure me because of my dog?" 
We hear that one often. It's my dog. I take care of him/her
What business is it of the carrier? 

Why does my insurance carrier care what type of dog I have?

Dog Bites

Dog bites are why your carrier cares and why they get to decide what breeds they will/will not insure. 

These statistics might surprise you:
* Over 18,000 people are bitten by dogs in the US each year.
* The average cost per claim is $37,051.
* There were 39 dog bite fatalities in the US in 2017.
* Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than 1/3 of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars in 2017,  $686 million.   (Insurance information Institute)

Some dog breeds are considers higher risk dogs, such as Pit bulls and Rottweilers. This doesn't mean all Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are aggressive, risky dogs. But statistics show they are more likely to be aggressive than other breeds. Most Home insurance carriers have a list of "Aggressive" breeds they will not insure. Some carriers will not insure the home at all if there is an ineligible dog breed living in the residence. Others will exclude Liability on the dog. So if the dog bites someone, the carrier will not cover any of the claim payout. Most of us don't believe our dog could bite someone. And chances are your dog won't bite anyone. But these are dogs and they are never fully rational or tame. So you need to plan accordingly. So do the carriers.

Personal Experience

Years ago, our next door neighbor had a Great Dane, Duke. Duke was an awesome dog. He got out one time and I went to pick him up for my neighbor. He walked straight up to me and laid his head on my shoulder. (Yes he was that tall and I am that short!) My point is, he was the sweetest dog. A gentle giant. One day their ten year old son was playing video games with a friend. The friend leaned down in front of Duke and Duke bit him. The child's head fit all the way in Duke's mouth. There were bite marks on his face and on the back of his head. The insurance carrier immediately put $100,000 in claims reserves in case the child needed surgery. The child didn't require surgery and the bites were taken care of with a few stitches and glue. Now the child is fine- no permanent damage, thank God. And we found out a little later than he had been taunting Duke by taking his chew toy away from him. The lesson here is that even the sweetest dog will defend himself (and his toys!). You never know what might set a dog off.  The Doctors said he had to be a very gentle dog who was not trying to hurt the child because a dog that size could have easily killed the child had he intended to hurt him.  It didn't cost our neighbors any money because they had the right coverage. But they had to get rid of Duke which broke all of our hearts. 

The Dog Owner is Responsible

As the home and dog owner, you are responsible. You can also be brought up on civil and criminal charges if your dog attacks someone and you are found to be liable.
If you look at the medical and court costs, the carrier can payout out thousands of dollars for a single claim. Be sure to let your insurance agent know about your dog. You want the dog listed on your policy so if there is ever a claim, you will be covered. Now if you have an "ineligible" dog breed, you may not be able to get liability coverage for your dog. But there are different options you should be able to discuss with your agent.

And that is why your carrier cares what type of dog you have.

There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 
* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance at 877-987-8683  

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Types of Home Insurance

Isn't Home Insurance All the Same?

Insurance can be confusing. Most of us know there are different types of coverage, but do you know there are different types of home insurance policies? I know I had no idea there were difference types of home insurance before we got into the insurance business. Home insurance should be home insurance. Why are there different types of policies? 
We can explain that!
Let’s look at the different types of policies.

HOA or Named Perils Policy

This is the most basic of home insurance policies. All coverage on this policy will be Actual Cash Value (ACV) only. This means the value of the damaged property will be paid out at the depreciated amount, based on the item’s age and the condition at the time of the claimed loss. So, for example, if your 5 year old TV is stolen, the Insurance carrier will only pay out what it would cost to buy that 5 year old TV. Most people don’t want to buy a 5 year old TV. HOA policies only cover specific hazards (specifically named perils) which generally include the following:

1. Fire or Lightning 
2. Wind/Hail (unless you are in certain counties where carriers will not cover wind/hail) 
3. Sudden and Accidental smoke damage (from a covered fire) 
4. Explosion 
5. Aircraft and Vehicles (unless caused by the insured or a resident of the home) 
6. Vandalism/Malicious Mischief 
7. Riot or Civil commotion 
8. Theft (on premises) 
These may vary between carriers, but they will be listed specifically on the policy. 

HOA+ or Broad Perils Policy

These policies are HOA policies with additional common perils:
1. Falling Objects, including trees or limbs.
2. Weight of ice and snow
3. Sudden and Accidental water discharge
4. Sudden and Accidental water/steam damage from water heating system

HO3 or Open Perils Policy

This is the most commonly used Home insurance policy in the US. It covers your dwelling (home building) on an open perils basis, meaning it covers all perils unless specifically excluded. Common exclusions include:
1.  War
2. Nuclear
3. Wear, tear, rust, mold
4. Intentional acts
5. Government actions

HO3 policies also include Replacement Cost coverage for your home. Replacement cost for your contents is sometimes included, depending on the carrier.  It can be endorsed onto the policy if the basic HO3 doesn’t include it. So if your 5 year old TV is stolen, if you have Replacement Cost on your contents, the TV will be valued at the cost of a new TV today.

HOB or Texas Open Peril Policy

This is very similar to the HO3 (the National form) but it includes additional water damage protection which must be endorsed onto the HO3. Most carriers will use the HO3 form, but the HOB is great coverage.

Home insurance policies will NOT cover Flood or Earth quake. They are a separate type of policy with different coverage options. If you live on the Gulf coast, chances are Wind/Hail coverage will not be included and you may have to go through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) for a separate Windstorm policy.

Please speak to your agent about which policy form is best for your circumstances. That is what you have an agent for! If your agent won’t answer your questions, please give Brockman Premier a try!

There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 

* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance at 877-987-8683  

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Technology and Insurance

Do We Want An Insurance App For That?

Technology is always changing. It seems to change just as I was getting used to how to do things! There are many differing viewpoints on whether this is a good or bad thing. But one thing is for sure; the one thing you know about technology is that it keeps changing. There's an app for just about everything. There are self driving cars (be careful with that one!) There are computers that calculate everything. There isn't much guess work in business these days. Technology has turned the business world upside down and the insurance industry has become a part of that shift. 


What used to be several people in a back office crunching numbers is now an algorithm that takes several hundred data points (like age, zip code and history to name a few) and determines what your personal rate is. Ironically, it isn't done by a person any more. 
The latest and newest companies are using AI technology, to do the quoting. Some will go so far as to have their AI have the conversation with you, ask the necessary questions, and send you the quote. Insurance now uses data analytics, a large pool of data, to determine how much of a risk you will be on a policy. And it can be done in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. And there is a new way to assess your driving in real time called Telematics devices. These devices look like a flash drive, plug directly into your car and will track late night driving, mileage, high speed driving and hard breaking, all of which are indicators of risky driving.  It is a tool meant to keep rates lower for the targeted risk pool. It is beneficial (discounts!) for those you drive safely. If you don’t drive safely, it’s not so beneficial. Many people are still wary of the devices. “I don’t want Big Brother watching me!” is a common comment. But you may want to get used to the idea of these devices. I believe they are here to stay (and track).


Today the advertising is geared towards getting you a quote you like quickly. You can compare online in a matter of minutes. Gone are the days of taking your agent's word for their policy being the best for you. 
Progressive Insurance came out with an ad where Flo claimed you had the right to Name Your Price. While you cannot just name your price, you do have so many choices out there, it makes good sense to not shop around. It can be done online, if you don’t want to talk to anyone. You can call and/or email if you want to deal with a rear person. The times of meeting at your agents office are coming to an end. Many agents don’t even have physical offices. Everything can be done by phone, fax or email (sometimes with a real person and sometimes with AI). It’s become very impersonal even though the policies are written based on more of your personal information than ever before. If your personal history is stable, this works in your favor. If you have a credit issues, adverse payment or driving history, this doesn’t work in your favor. But it is the way of the future, so again, you need to get used to the way things work now.


Many carriers have mobile apps now for processing claims. Many carriers will not require you to call in the claim. Just process it online, take it to a body shop, have them scan the invoice to the carrier, they pay and you are done.  Now that is only in the most basic of claim scenarios. If there are any questions about who is at fault, the mobile app may not be good at determining the fault. But for open and shut claims, technology can help streamline the process, close out the claim and take care of the customer very quickly.

Technology is meant to improve things. Insurance is no exception. I know it can be hard to change with the technological times, but it can make your insurance experience easier and quicker. Whether it makes it less expensive usually depends on how good a risk you are. 

There are three ways to request a quote for your insurance needs: 

* Visit our website
* Call Brockman Premier Insurance at 877-987-8683