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News You Can Use – October 2021

2 0 02 Oct 2021

Happy Halloween 

The roots of trick-or-treating go back more than 2,000 years to the Ancient Celts. They celebrated a pagan festival called Samhain on November 1 that marked the end of the harvest season.

The night before, they believed the dead returned as ghosts, so they left food and wine on their doorsteps to appease them.

In the 8th century, the Christian church replaced Samhain with All Saints Day, a.k.a., All Hallows. The night before — October 31 — came to be known as All Hallows Eve, which then, of course, became Halloween.

Enjoy fall colors on these scenic routes

Cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage make this an excellent time to take a road trip. Here are four routes in the Eastern U.S. that offer unique stretches of twists, turns, and breath-taking scenery.

Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina & Virginia

This 469-mile route links Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. This path has several attractions to stop at along the way so you can make it a leisurely two-to-three-day trip.

Skyline Drive Virginia

Skyline Drive is a National Scenic Byway running 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains through Shenandoah National Park. It offers a stretch of incredible scenery with 75 overlooks connecting travelers to major visitor centers, campgrounds, lodges, picnic areas, and trailheads.

Tail of the Dragon Tennessee

An American hot spot for thrill-seeking motorcyclists, Tail of the Dragon has an astonishing 318 curves in its 11-mile stretch along Route 129. The colors of fall only add to the breath-taking views of this road bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest. If you’re ready to challenge your skills, check it out!

Kancamagus Scenic Byway New Hampshire

This 34.5-mile section of Route 112 through the White Mountain National Forest is loaded with fabulous New England scenery. This stretch is considered one of the most scenic highways in the United States and offers a number of rest points so you can stop and enjoy the red, orange, and yellow hues of the fall season.

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Golumpki Casserole

Who has the time to make Golumpkis these days?! This recipe lets you enjoy those delicious Polish flavors without all the hassle. It’s easy, it’s healthy, it makes A LOT.

2 lbs. beef
6 cups shredded cabbage
2 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
1 cup water
2 cups cooked brown or white rice
1 small diced onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper

 

1. Brown ground beef. When almost completely cooked add chopped onion and garlic, stir occasionally.
2. Add Shredded cabbage to beef.  Cook until cabbage starts to soften.
3. In a large bowl mix beef and cabbage mixture, cooked rice, tomato soup, water and 1 can of diced tomatoes.
4. Pour into greased casserole dish. Top with second can of diced tomatoes.
5. Cook at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Intuitive Eating Principles continued…

 Last month I introduced the practice of eating intuitively instead of ongoing dieting. The first five principles were reviewed including rejecting diet mentality, honoring your hunger cues, making peace with food, challenging the food police and discovering the satisfaction factor. This month we will look at the last five principles to conclude your introduction to this popular strategy.

Feel your fullness: Removing distraction during meal time, slowing down, and recognizing when you are full will help your body trust that you are nourishing it properly. Mastering this principle will also make honoring your hunger cues and eating satisfying foods more natural.

Cope with emotions with kindness: Emotional eating is common but usually only a quick fix, eventually you will have to deal with the emotions. Learning other coping mechanisms to stress, boredom, sadness are vital to reducing the connection between emotion and emotional hunger.

Respect your body: people will spend months, years and even decades trying to get to their own idea of ideal weight. But what if genetically, physiologically that weight is not meant to be? Are you ready to give up years of happiness because you’ve been at war with your body? Self acceptance and self-respect are vital components of wellness… not just the number on the scale.

Move- feel the difference: Find a movement that brings you joy. It doesn’t have to mean hours at the gym. In fact, finding activities that make you happy is much more sustainable than an exercise regimen you dread.

Honor your health: Trying to follow restrictive diets or holding yourself to rigid health standards is neither practical or the “healthiest” way to live. Learning to enjoy food while nourishing your body with a wide variety of foods is the most sustainable and practical way to live.

Follow Nourish Yourself Dietetics on Facebook or @dietitian_stacia on Instagram for a more in-depth look at each intuitive eating principle.

*This article is intended to serve as an educational tool and is not medical advice or diagnosis.

Put that Candy Corn to use

Candy corn may not be your favorite, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put it to use. A great Halloween party game begins by emptying a few bags of candy corn onto the center of a card table. Each player will receive a pair of chopsticks and a bowl. They will have 60 seconds to transfer candy to their bowl. The goal of the game is to see who can transfer the most candy corn to the bowl using only chopsticks.

Play Candy Corn Bingo

 Bingo is a crowd-pleaser—no matter the age. But here’s where it gets Halloween-y:  swap traditional chips with candy corn as markers.  If you’re feeling creative, you can design Halloween bingo boards or use online downloads.

Every trick-or-treater should follow these rules:

    • Carry a flashlight.
    • Only visit homes or apartments of people you know.

 

  • Do not enter any homes without the permission of your parents.
  • Only visit those streets with which you are familiar.
  • Stay away from homes or doorways that are dark.
  • Keep to sidewalks and crosswalks.
  • Avoid cutting across lawns.

*For many preschoolers or elementary school children, a viable alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating is a private Halloween party. Join with neighbors, family, church, or school groups to plan a gathering that includes a costume parade, games, and of course, lots of treats to take home.

Falling Leaves, Football, Halloween, And A New Kitchen?

Many people believe spring or summer is the best time of year to get your dream kitchen.  Not so fast!  Those seasons may be the most popular time of year for a project such as this, but when you take a deeper dive into the world of home remodeling, you’ll find October and November are actually the best times to remodel. By taking advantage of the fall season, you can get your project done before the holidays (and save a ton of money.) A slower season means better values.  Thinking about a DIY home improvement project—maybe a new kitchen or bathroom makeover?  You’re not alone. The Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) says do-it-yourselfers complete two-thirds of home improvement projects — and spend less than those who depend solely on contractors. While saving money is satisfying, the sense of accomplishment DIYers feel is even better. But before you pick up a hammer or grab a paintbrush, you’ll need to do some homework. As you draw plans, budget, purchase materials, and secure permits, you also need to think about home insurance. That’s where we can help even before you start work. We can help you assess the unexpected risks of your project.

Here are five common renovation projects that may require additional insurance: Kitchen renovation, Bathroom makeover, Home office, Sunroom, Finished basement Read the entire blog on our website at www.thesouthcottagency.com

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13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY  14411
Phone 585 589-6236
information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am - 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com

 

Thank You So Much!

Everyone here at my office and myself would like to thank you for your continued trust and support in our agency!

We are so thankful for customers like you! For being such a great client, I want to give you a $20.00 gift card for referring us to your friends and family.

We reward you for each referral and have monthly drawings and a grand prize drawing for a tablet.

Important Crop Insurance Dates & Information

Wheat and forage acreage reports are due by November 15, 2021
Final wheat plant date is October 10th.
15-day late plant period is October 25th.
Prevented planting claim for wheat must be filed 72 hours after final day of planting, then actual
acreage of prevented planted acres must be declared on acreage report.

2021 crop insurance premiums have been billed.
Apples grapes, peaches, and cherries premium due by November 20, 2021.
Wheat premium due November 30, 2021
Onion premium is due February 1, 2022
All other crops are due March 15, 2022
!!! If you pay the premium after the termination date, you are ineligible to insure your crop in the next year!!!

When filing a claim…
File the claim as soon as you think you have damage.  The policy says to file within 72 hours of noticed damage.

Some crops require you to leave strips in the field for adjuster to inspect.
The latest you can file a claim is 60 days after the end of the insurance period.
For corn and soybeans it is December 10.  The last day of the insurance period is also defined as the last day of harvest.

 Revenue policies, when there is no production loss, have 45 days after the harvest price is released to make a claim.  The soybean price is released November 5th and the corn price is released by December 5th.
Sales closing dates for apples, grapes, peaches, and cherries are November 20, 2021.
Make sure the correct entity information, insured crops, insured counties, options, unit structure, and insurance level are all selected correctly.

The 2021 production report and 2022 acreage report for these crops are due by Jan. 1, 2022.

 As always, do not hesitate to call (585) 589-6236 if you have any questions.

 

Insurance Changes for Renovated Homes

1 0 01 Oct 2021

Insurance Changes for Renovated Homes

In general, standard homeowners insurance policies cover renovations. Still, it's a good idea to check with us before the project gets underway to make sure you will be adequately covered during and after the renovation. There are two key reasons why this is important:

  1. A renovation that increases the home's rebuilding costs could leave you underinsured.
  2. Your existing liability limits may not be sufficient if someone gets hurt during the renovation.

Here's an example. Assume your home has $200,000 in dwelling coverage. That's the amount your insurance company would pay toward rebuilding the house for a covered loss—after your deductible, of course. Now, say you do an extensive renovation to your kitchen that uses higher quality materials and adds square footage to your home. With the kitchen update, your rebuilding costs are now $240,000.

If you increase your coverage limits based on the new rebuilding costs, you would be adequately covered if something bad were to happen. However, if you don't update your policy, you could end up woefully underinsured. In this case, your policy would pay only $200,000 of the $240,000 rebuilding costs, and the rest would have to come out of your pocket.

Which Policy Changes Should I Make?

Before construction gets underway, ask us if you should update your existing policy. Depending on the details of your renovation, we may recommend that you:

Increase the amount of insurance you have to rebuild your home. The Insurance Information Institute (III) advises that you should be prepared to forward your records and receipts to your insurance company so they can accurately assess your insurance needs.  Take photos before, during, and after a renovation so you have a visual record of the project. And make sure you save copies of any contracts and receipts.

Increase your liability coverage limits during the renovation. Liability coverage helps protect you if someone who doesn't live with you is injured while helping out with the renovation. This is especially important for DIY jobs (contractors should have their own insurance). The III recommends increasing the amount of no-fault medical protection on your policy. That way, if someone does get injured, they can submit their medical bills directly to your insurance company. The III says this can lower your chances of getting sued.

Increase your liability coverage limits after the renovation. If your renovation includes an "attractive nuisance"—such as adding a swimming pool or hot tub—consider increasing your liability coverage permanently. The III suggests that an excess or umbrella policy is a cost-effective way to increase your overall liability protection.1

Increase your coverage for personal possessions. If you bought any expensive items as part of the renovation, you might need to bump up your personal property coverage limits. Say you build an addition to exhibit a collection of art or comic books—and then add to the collection. Any new, valuable items might need additional coverage in the form of a floater or endorsement.

Add "dwelling under renovation" coverage. Dwelling under renovation insurance protects the building materials at—or en route to—your property. After all, it's not unheard of for materials to get damaged at or stolen from job sites. The insurance also provides coverage for foundation collapse.3

Add vacant home insurance. Depending on the renovation, you might live elsewhere while your house is under construction. If you'll be away for more than 60 days, considering buying vacant home insurance coverage. That way, if damage occurs and goes unnoticed for a while, you will still be protected.4

Should My Building Contractor Have Insurance? According to the III, you should ask to see a copy of your contractor's insurance policies, including a commercial business/general liability policy, as well as workers' compensation (don't be afraid to snap a quick photo of these docs for your records).

Anyone you hire to work on your renovation must be adequately insured; otherwise, they could sue you if they get hurt on the job. If a prospective contractor can't (or won't) verify their insurance coverage, it's best to find one that will.

Will My Insurance Premiums Go Up If I Renovate My Home?

A home renovation could cause your home insurance premiums to rise, but it doesn't always.

Projects that increase the value of your home may lead to higher premiums. If you add a room to your house, for example—whether it's a new bedroom, second owner's suite, or family room—that increased living space will likely result in a bigger insurance bill. That's because the added square footage bumps up the home's rebuilding costs.

Similarly, renovations that install higher-end materials, such as marble in the bathroom or commercial-grade appliances in the kitchen, also increase your home's rebuilding costs—and, therefore, your premiums.

While many home renovations raise your premiums, certain improvements could have the opposite effect. Say you replace your roof with sturdier materials, or you install shatter-resistant windows and storm shutters. In these situations, your premiums could actually decrease because your home will be more resistant to storm damage. Likewise, you might get a discount if you install safety devices in the house (e.g., smoke detectors, dead-bolt locks, a burglar alarm) or if you update the heating, plumbing, or electrical systems.

Premium discounts of up to 20% may be available for certain types of improvements such as installing a sprinkler system and a fire or burglar alarm that notifies the fire department or police.

Here are five common renovation projects that may require additional insurance:

Kitchen Renovation

  • Depending on your level of experience, you may need the help of a plumber or electrician. Make sure the contractors you hire are bonded and insured. Do they carry liability insurance? Ask to see their certificate of coverage.
  • Check with us to see if you should increase your homeowners coverage. If your renovation substantially increases the value of your house, you could be underinsured if you haven’t raised your limits. Generally, you need enough insurance to replace 80% of your home’s value.
  • Will friends be helping you? Ask about raising your medical expenses coverage.

Bathroom Makeover

  • You may need a plumber to help you move a water line or drain. Bear in mind that water damage caused by your faulty workmanship won’t be covered by your homeowners policy. On the other hand, if you use a contractor, their business insurance should cover the damage to your home.
  • Will that expensive marble be sitting in your driveway after it’s delivered? Costly materials have a way of walking away from a job site. Check to see if your policy covers theft or damage to your building materials.

Home Office

  • Most homeowners policies only provide limited coverage (up to about $2,500) for office equipment. If you have items that exceed that amount, you’ll need additional coverage. We can recommend some options. If you’re doing work for your firm at home, make sure you’re covered by the company’s business and workers’ compensation policies.
  • If you’re self-employed, you may need a separate business policy, especially if clients visit your house.

Sunroom

  • Talk to us about adding a new room to your homeowner's policy. You may be able to get a discount if you install energy-efficient windows or heavy-duty locks on an exterior door.
  • Is the project insured against severe weather? Theft or vandalism? You may need a builders risk policy.

Finished Basement

You’re planning to create extra living space in the basement for your growing family. You’ve contracted to have a French drain and a sump pump installed to prevent water from leaking in. You’ve also decided to live in a friend’s house while you work on the project.

Considerations:

  • If your house is unoccupied during construction, you may need vacant home insurance.
  • Be sure to get a warranty on the French drain. Flooding isn’t covered by homeowners insurance. However, you can add water backup coverage to your policy to pay for damage if your sump pump fails.

The Bottom Line

No matter which type of renovations you make, your existing coverage limits may be too low to match your home's post-reno value and liability. We can guide you through the necessary changes.  It is our specialty!  However, we can’t advise you if we are unaware of the changes you are making.  Many homeowners assume their homeowners' policy is liquid and will cover anything on the premises.  That simply is not the case.  It is your responsibility to inform us of changes.

Article Sources

  1. Information Institute. "If You Are Planning to Remodel Your Home, Notify Your Insurance Company First.".
  2. Insurance Information Institute. "What is covered by standard homeowners insurance?"
  3. American Family Insurance. "Insuring Your Home While Remodeling It
  4. American Family Insurance. "Insurance for Vacant and Unoccupied Homes."

Worker’s Compensation

7 0 27 Sep 2021

Is It a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A few years back, we had an interesting incident happen on one of the apple farms we insure.  Like most farms in our area, they provided housing for their seasonal workers. One day an employee was sick and did not go to work.  He decided to take a shower and adjust the temperature on the hot water heater for a really hot shower.  Whatever he changed, ended up burning him badly.  At first, we filed a workers’ compensation claim to cover medical bills and loss of wages.  The compensation claim was denied stating he was an employee and staying on the farm but, at the time of the injury, he was not in the act of employment.  We subsequently filed a claim with the farm’s insurance carrier who provided the general farm liability coverage.  This policy also covered the medical expenses.

We are regularly receiving calls from clients with complicated stories about misfortune, damage and injury.  We hear of bad luck wreaking havoc on our otherwise ordinary lives.  Each incident is dependent on many factors.  Did this injury occur at your home, at work, or elsewhere?  Is there property damage?  Is this an injury requiring medical care?  Who is at fault and who is the victim?  Each claim requires significant investigation that can drag on for significant periods of time.  Claims occupy much our time, cause much worry and usually aren’t simple.

I got an interesting question yesterday that I was unable to answer. Hopefully, you’re still reading.  The call was from a client who fell and suffered an injury while on her lunch break. She works in one space in a large complex. On the day of the accident, she “punched out” for lunch and was walking elsewhere in the complex when she tripped on an uneven walking surface. When she presented the claim for her injuries, the building owner denied payment. Because she was injured during the work day, the owner argued that her employer’s Workers’ Compensation coverage should apply. This raised the question of whether an employee is covered by Workers’ Comp while on her lunch break.  The “Big I” was our resource when we researched the liability in this case and Workers’ Compensation in general.

The answer, as with so much in life, is, “It depends.” Specifically, it depends on the circumstances surrounding the injury and the what was customary for the job. A good illustration is a case decided by the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, Third Department. An electrician reported to work at 7:55 A.M., discussed the week’s work plans with his partner, loaded his truck with materials and supplies, and headed for a job site. On the way, he stopped at a drive-through restaurant for coffee and a muffin. When he reached into his back pocket for his wallet, he felt a pop in his back; he eventually underwent surgery to repair herniated disks. Unable to work for nine months, he submitted a claim for Workers’ Comp benefits. The insurer disputed the claim and the case went to a Workers’ Compensation Law judge, who sided with the claimant. The insurer appealed and the Workers’ Compensation Board reversed the judge’s decision, finding that the stop for coffee deviated from the claimant’s employment and the injury therefore did not arise out of that employment. The claimant then appealed to the Third Department.

The court cited a 1999 decision that stated, “Activities which are purely personal pursuits are not within the scope of employment and are not compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Law, with the test being whether the activities are both reasonable and sufficiently work related under the circumstances.” (Emphasis added) It also cited earlier decisions to the effect that momentary deviations from the work routine for a customary and accepted purpose, such as coffee breaks, do not render a claimant ineligible for benefits. Noting that the claimant’s undisputed testimony that his stop at the drive-through for coffee was a brief one on his direct route to the job site, and that he routinely did this because his office lacked a coffee maker, the court held that the stop was a “momentary and customary break which did not interrupt his employment and which can only be classified as reasonable and work-related under the circumstances…” It reinstated the claimant’s benefits.

What does that mean for our client? Without more details about the accident, it’s impossible to say. Did the accident happen in area where she walks every day? Did she have to walk through that area in order to go to lunch? Was this area near her office, or was she in a location on the opposite side of the complex? Ultimately, the Workers’ Compensation Board may have to weigh the facts and make a determination. There is no cut-and-dried answer. And that’s the lesson for employers, employees and insurance agents alike: Don’t assume that an injury is not compensable just because it appears that it wasn’t work-related. Report the incident to the Workers’ Compensation insurer and let the investigation proceed.

No-Fault vs. Workers’ Comp: Which One is Primary?

One question that comes up frequently concerns how New York No-Fault insurance coordinates with Workers’ Compensation insurance when both apply to the same accident. In other words, which policy pays first — the Workers’ Compensation or the Auto No Fault?

N.Y. Insurance Law Sect. 5102(b) defines first party benefits for No-Fault as:

…payments to reimburse a person for basic economic loss on account of personal injury arising out of the use or operation of a motor vehicle, less

(1) Twenty percent of lost earnings computed pursuant to…this section.

(2) Amounts recovered or recoverable on account of such injury under state or federal laws providing…workers’ compensation benefits…

Therefore, any amounts an injured person receives from Workers’ Compensation will be deducted from the No-Fault benefits. Workers’ Comp is primary and No-Fault is excess.

 N.Y. Workers’ Comp Coverage Endorsement on Homeowners Policy

Question from an IIABNY member: I have a personal lines customer who called saying he has a person come to his house every other week and do five hours’ worth of cleaning. He wanted to confirm there is liability coverage should she be hurt. I called the insurance carrier and the underwriter forwarded the attached Workers Comp endorsement, which to me is a bit confusing. Can you advise your understanding of this endorsement? I would assume if she were hurt on the premises and the insured was negligent (i.e., he allowed her to use a ladder that was defective and she fell), that his liability would respond. But what if she were hurt on the premises and he wasn’t negligent? Would the Workers Comp coverage kick in?

Answer: This endorsement provides so little coverage that the New York Insurance Department won’t even let insurers charge for it anymore (they used to be able to charge $3.) Essentially, it provides Workers’ Comp benefits to the insured’s employee (one with casual employment or regular employment of less than 40 hours per week) if that employee is subject to the New York Workers’ Comp Law. The question becomes, who fits the description of a covered person and also is subject to the Workers’ Comp Law? Almost no one:

 

Who Is Not Covered by The Workers’ Compensation Law?

The spouse and minor children (under 18 years old) of an employer who is a farmer as long as they are not under an express contract of hire (WCL §2 [4])

People, including minors, doing yard work or casual chores in and about a one-family, owner-occupied residence or the premises of a nonprofit, noncommercial organization (WCL §2 [4]). Casual means occasionally, without regularity, without foresight, plan or method. Coverage is required if the minor handles power-driven machinery, including a power lawnmower

Essentially, the endorsement provides benefits if a kid using a power mower or snowblower gets hurt while working on the insured’s property. If he’s using a shovel, he’s not eligible for benefits; if he’s fired up the Toro, he is. Otherwise, the endorsement doesn’t cover most domestic employees because those employees are not covered by the law (“coverage does not apply to an employee who is not required, under New York Workers’ Compensation Law, to be covered.”)

Another page on the Workers’ Comp Board’s Web site goes on to say:

Domestic workers include chauffeurs, nannies, home health aides, au pairs, nurses, baby-sitters, maids, cooks, housekeepers, laundry workers, butlers, companions, and gardeners working in a private household.

Domestic workers employed forty or more hours per week by the same employer (including full-time sitters or companions, and live-in maids) are required to be covered by a New York State workers’ compensation insurance policy.

Workers’ compensation insurance is NOT required IF the only people who work for the household are domestic workers in a private household who individually work less than 40 hours per week for that household and do not live on premises. However, a person who employs household help for less than 40 hours per week are encouraged to obtain a voluntary workers’ compensation insurance policy to protect both the employer and the employee.

Please note that a homeowner’s insurance policy’s workers’ compensation insurance rider does not cover any domestic employees for workers’ compensation benefits.

Therefore, this endorsement will not cover the person cleaning your insured’s home. He can either rely on his liability coverage or voluntarily buy a Workers Comp policy to provide coverage.

As always, call the office if you have a liability question @ (585) 589-6236.

 

News You Can Use – August 2021

13 0 07 Aug 2021

Happy August!

August is the only month without a

major holiday, so let’s celebrate

Middle Child Day on August 8th.

Oldest, Middle, Youngest: Who’s Most Successful?

All men may be created equal; but a look at their pay stubs will tell you that their incomes are not. Blame it on social class, education — even luck, but according to Dalton Conley, New York University professor of sociology and public policy, inequality begins at home. In his book ‘The Pecking Order: Which Siblings Succeed and Why,’ Conley says that 75 percent of the income inequality between individuals in the United States occurs between siblings in the same families. He points to the diverse fortunes of Bill and Roger Clinton, and Jimmy and Billy Carter as examples. Research shows that firstborns (and onlys) lead the pack in terms of educational attainment, occupational prestige, income and net worth.

 

Conversely middle children in large families tend to fare the worst. (Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!) “A child’s position in the family impacts his personality, his behavior, his learning and ultimately his earning power,” states Michael Grose, author of ‘Why First Born Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It.’ “Most people have an intuitive knowledge that birth order somehow has an impact on development, but they underestimate how far-reaching and just how significant that impact really is.” Conley concedes that birth order is significant in shaping individual success, but only for children of large families — four or more siblings — and in families where finances and parental time are constrained. (In wealthy families, like the Bushes and Kennedys, it has less effect.)

 

Here’s a look at what impact your birth-order may have on you:

 

Firstborns: More conscientious, ambitious and aggressive than their younger siblings, firstborns are over-represented at Harvard and Yale as well as disciplines requiring higher education such as medicine, engineering or law. Every astronaut to go into space has been either the oldest child in his or her family or the eldest boy. And throughout history — even when large families were the norm — more than half of all Nobel Prize winners and U.S. presidents have been first born. Famous eldest children include: Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, J.K. Rowling and Winston Churchill. And macho movie stars are First Born, too, including Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and all the actors who have played James Bond.

 

Middles: Middle children are more easygoing and peer-oriented. Since they can get lost in the shuffle of their own families, they learn to build bridges to other sources of support and therefore tend to have excellent people skills. Middle children often take on the role of mediator and peacemaker. Famous middle children include: Bill Gates, J.F.K., Madonna and Princess Diana.

 

Youngest: The youngest child tends to be the most creative and can be very charming — even manipulative. Because they often identify with the underdog, they tend to champion egalitarian causes. (Youngest siblings were the earliest backers of the Protestant Reformation and the Enlightenment.) Successful in journalism, advertising, sales and the arts, famous youngest children include Cameron Diaz, Jim Carrey, Drew Carey, Rosie O’Donnell, Eddie Murphy and Billy Crystal.

 

Only Children: Only children have similar characteristics to firstborns and are frequently burdened with high parental expectations. Research shows they are more confident, articulate and likely to use their imagination than other children. They also expect a lot from others, hate criticism, can be inflexible and are likely to be perfectionists. Well-known only children include Rudy Guiliani, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Alan Greenspan, Tiger Woods, tennis teen queen Maria Sharapova and Leonardo Da Vinci.

 

Twins: Because they hold equal status and are treated so similarly, twins turn out similarly in most cases. Consider advice columnists “Dear Abby” and “Ann Landers” (Abigail and Esther Friedman), and Harold and Bernard Shapiro, who became presidents of Princeton University and Canada’s McGill University respectively.

 

Interesting?


Is it an appetizer? A salad? A snack?

Yes, to all of the above. I’m giving credit to my MIL for bringing this delish dish into my life! This recipe is easily a great side dish to a summer dinner or serve it with crackers as a refreshing appetizer. You can get creative with the flavor of balsamic vinegar or even add a splash of flavored olive oil.

 

3 large tomatoes sliced and halved (or even quartered if serving with crackers)

Mozzarella cheese (I use the round or oval block, not pre-sliced)

A handful or fresh basil

Capers (optional- I use 2 large spoonful’s)

Red onion (not pictures but chop some up and thrown on top)

 

  1. Slice tomatoes and lay in bottom of dish that would be able to hold some liquid.
  2. Slice cheese thinly in similar size to your tomato slices. Lay on top or mix with tomatoes.
  3. Add capers, chopped red onion and minced or thinly sliced basil on top.
  4. Top with balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze (yum).
  5. Serve with crackers or as a salad. Enjoy!

Fiber, the forgotten nutrient

 

Stacia Whitney RD, CDN

Nourish Yourself Dietetics LLC

 

While some of you may disagree with this title, I would like to challenge you to calculate how much fiber you ate yesterday. It is true that most adults KNOW fiber is important but how much are you getting daily? How much should you be consuming? And what foods should you eat to increase your fiber?

 

While fiber is well known for its benefit on gastric motility there are several other very important advantages to consuming adequate fiber. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that originates in plants (i.e. grains, vegetables, fruits.) Fiber cannot be broken down in the digestive tract. There are two categories of fiber- insoluble and soluble. As the name alludes to, soluble fiber can dissolve in water and become gel-like whereas insoluble fiber is resistant to water. Insoluble fiber is attributed with helping decrease intestinal transit time, reducing instances of constipation, diverticular disease and colon cancer. Additionally, soluble fiber has been shown to help reduce blood cholesterol levels becoming an important dietary tool to help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. People with diabetes will also benefit greatly from adequate intake since fiber helps reduce spikes in blood glucose. Thankfully you do not need to keep track of both insoluble and soluble fiber intake, being aware of total dietary fiber is sufficient,

 

Where to start? It is important to note that a sudden and dramatic increase in fiber can cause gastric upset or even, ironically, constipation. It is recommended that you increase your fiber intake gradually while also increasing water intake to assure your body adjusts accordingly. Currently the recommended daily fiber intake for adults up to 50 years old is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Adults over 50 years old should aim for 21-30 grams daily. While you may think you are on track to reach this goal, it has been found that most adults only eat about 10-15 grams daily.

 

Although I do think reaching the daily recommended amount of fiber is important, don’t go crazy tracking every gram. While there are certain foods that are notably higher in fiber- pears, raspberries, barley, almonds, black beans, eating a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains will likely help you reach your fiber goal.

 

*This article provides nutrition education and is not intended as medical advice.


How Much Does It Cost to

Insure an Electric Car?

Insurance tends to cost more for electric cars than traditional cars. However, it has nothing to do with the vehicle’s safety. Instead, it’s because EVs are more expensive than gas-powered cars. More expensive cars typically cost more to repair.

 

In addition, insurance companies take into account the high cost of EV battery packs. If an accident causes damage to the pack, and it needs to be replaced, it’s one of the most expensive repairs insurance companies will have to cover.

 

On average, you’ll pay 23% more to insure an electric car than a gas car. Some insurance companies are more forgiving than others, and rates vary widely depending on many variables.

Our latest blog, 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy an Electric Car, can answer many of your questions and considerations before purchasing an electric car.  www.thesouthcottagency.com


What Is Cryptocurrency?Here’s What You Should Know

Cryptocurrencies let you buy goods and services, or trade them for profit. Here’s more about what cryptocurrency is, how to buy it and how to protect yourself.

 

What is cryptocurrency?

  Cryptocurrency is a form of payment that can be exchanged online for goods and services. Many companies have issued their own currencies, often called tokens, and these can be traded specifically for the good or service that the company provides. Think of themyou would arcade tokens or casino chips. You’ll need to exchange real currency for the cryptocurrency to access the good or service.

Cryptocurrencies work using a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is a decentralized technology spread across many computers that manages and records transactions. Part of the appeal of this technology is its security.

 

  1. How many cryptocurrencies are there? What are they worth?

More than 10,000 different cryptocurrencies are traded publicly, according to CoinMarketCap.com, a market research website. And cryptocurrencies continue to proliferate, raising money through initial coin offerings, or ICOs. The total value of all cryptocurrencies on May 27, 2021, was more than $1.7 trillion —from April high of $2.2 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap. The total value of all bitcoins, the most popular digital currency, was pegged at about $735 billion — down from April high of $1.2 trillion.


Just Keep Talking Referral Program

Chance #1 … Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card  and…

Chance #2……Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card 

Grand Prize     In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new Tablet!

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!


Crazy Foolish

A farmer walked into a hardware store and while purchasing some tools was asked by the proprietor if he would like to buy a bicycle.  “You won’t have to always keep a bicycle in feed,” said the storekeeper, “and you can ride around on your farm.  They are on sale and I can let you have one for eighty-nine dollars.”

“I’d rather put the eighty-nine dollars into a cow,” replied the dairy farmer.

“Well, you’d look crazy foolish riding around your farm on a cow now, wouldn’t you?” said the proprietor sarcastically.

The farmer responded, “No, I think I’d look more foolish milking a bicycle!”

 

 

 


Important Crop Insurance Information

  • You must notify the company and receive authorization to replant or destroy a crop.
  • Prevented planting claims require a loss notice and must be submitted in a timely manner.
  • When cropping for silage and a loss is suspected, the crop must be appraised first or adjuster approved check strips must be left in the field.
  • There can be no production from prior years left in storage unless an adjuster or another USDA Agency employee has measured it prior to the current year’s production being added.
  • If mycotoxins such as Aflatoxin are suspected, appropriate samples must be obtained by an Approved Insurance Provider (AIP) adjuster or approved, trained, disinterested third party before production is put in storage.
  • MPCI production losses must be submitted no later than 15 days after the end of the insurance period for the crop.
  • Revenue loss notices must be submitted no later than 45 days after the harvest price is released for the crop.
  • Elevator moisture shrink may be different from MPCI moisture shrink.  Corn is 15%.  Soybeans are 13%.
  • Policies with Optional Units or more than one Basic Unit must keep production records separate by unit.
  • Crop-Hail losses need to be reported on a storm-by-storm basis.  Losses will not be adjusted until approximately 10 days after the storm date.  As always, call the office if you have questions concerning your claim.  Phone (585) 589-6236.

 

How to Insure an Electric Car & More

105 0 20 Jul 2021

 

1.Does the Car Have Enough Range?

Many of today’s EVs offer over 200 miles of range on a charge, though there are still some that have much less. Tesla is currently the only automaker that offers EVs with over 300 miles of range. The Tesla Model S currently holds the record, with up to an EPA-rated 402 miles per charge.

With 200 miles of range, most people aren’t going to experience range anxiety during their daily commutes. Keep in mind that range varies regardless of the EPA’s estimates. Many factors impact a car’s range, such as your speed, your driving habits, the weather, and the car’s climate control. It’s wise to anticipate having less range than the car’s EPA estimate, just to be safe. If you travel over 200 miles on a daily basis, you may want to steer clear of most EVs.

2. Can I Charge My Electric Vehicle at Home?

One of the most convenient aspects of EV ownership is charging at home. At the end of the day, you simply plug the car in. When you wake in the morning, it’s ready to go.

With that said, there are several important considerations. You can charge your EV using a standard 110-volt wall outlet (Level 1 charging), but it’s going to take some time. Level 1 charging adds about 4 miles of range per hour. If you don’t use many miles of range each day, this may work for you. However, if you deplete a full 250 miles of range, it will take several days to recharge this way.

Most EV owners hire an electrician to install a 240-volt outlet in their garage. This allows for Level 2 charging, which can add 25 miles of range per charging hour.

3. How Much Does Electricity Cost?

Just like gasoline, the price of electricity varies depending on where you live. The average price of electricity in the U.S. is 13.28 cents per kilowatt-hour. In Louisiana, you’ll pay 9.5 cents, compared to 19.79 cents in California. Regardless of where you live or where you charge your EV, electricity will still cost you much less than gas for a competitor in the same segment. According to the EPA, fuel costs for a BMW 3 Series are over three times more expensive than charging a Tesla Model 3. However, there are details you should know in order to save the most money.

Charging at home is typically cheaper than public charging, though some public charging units are free. Electricity prices can vary based on the time of day. It’s usually much less expensive to charge overnight or on the weekend than it is to charge at peak times, such as weekday afternoons and evenings. Your local utility company can break it all down for you. Some utility providers even offer special plans to accommodate EV owners.

4. Are There Public Charging Stations Nearby?

While home charging is the most convenient way to juice up your electric car, you’ll probably need to charge on the road at some point. Some public charging stations are Level 2, but many offer DC fast charging, which allows you to charge your car rapidly. Some EVs can be charged to 80% in less than 30 minutes at a fast-charging station. However, there are many factors involved.

Make sure you find out if the EV you’re planning on picking up is capable of fast-charging, as well as how many miles you can expect to add in a given time. In addition, you should locate the charging stations in your area and on your typical routes, and then determine what type of charging they support.

There are many resources available, including PlugShare.com and PlugInAmerica.org. Charging networks, such as EVgo, ChargePoint, and Electrify America also have their own interactive maps. Tesla owners have exclusive access to the Supercharger network, which includes fast-charging stations strategically located nationwide.

5. Can I Take My EV on Road Trips?

Any electric car is capable of road-tripping. Whether it’s convenient or viable comes down to your route and your car’s range. There shouldn’t be an issue mapping out your trip and making sure there’s a charging station every three hours or so – especially if you’re traveling on major highways. However, you may have to diverge from the usual route to make sure you can DC fast-charge at each stop. Otherwise, your travel time will be extended significantly.

Many EV owners also own a gas car that they use for family road trips. If you don’t go on long road trips often, you shouldn’t worry too much. You could always rent a car for the annual family road trip and still save money using your EV as your daily driver.

6. What Electric Vehicle Incentives are Available?

The federal U.S. government offers electric car buyers a $7,500 tax credit. The full amount only applies to new, fully electric cars. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are also eligible for the credit, though it reduces based on the size of the car’s battery. Longer range PHEVs like the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid qualify for the full tax credit, but the Toyota Prius Prime and Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid are only eligible for about $4,500.

Not all EVs qualify for the tax credit. The incentive phases out in increments after an automaker sells 200,000 electric vehicles. For example, Tesla and GM EVs are no longer eligible. It’s also important to note that not everyone’s tax situation will allow them to take advantage of the credit. Before buying an EV, be sure to talk to a tax professional to make sure you’ll get the credit. You can’t get the credit if you lease an EV, but the dealership can get it and apply it to the lease discounts. However, that’s not always the case. If you plan to lease, find out if the tax credit is applied or if the dealership is planning to pocket the credit.

7. Should I Buy a New or Used Electric Car?

Electric cars are expensive, so buying used will save you money. Interestingly, all new EVs are pricier than new gas-powered cars, but many used EVs are much cheaper than most used gas cars. This is because most EVs depreciate more rapidly than traditional cars due to the tax incentives and limited demand. However, this isn’t true of Tesla’s vehicles, which tend to hold their value better than most cars. Many used electric cars also have low mileage due to being relatively new and having range limitations.

Buying new guarantees your car will have a full warranty, the longest electric range currently available, and up-to-date tech and safety features. While batteries don’t degrade quickly, buying new still gives you the peace of mind that your battery is in tip-top condition. Finally, the federal EV tax credit and other electric car incentives aren’t available on the purchase of used EVs.

8. Is it Better to Buy or Lease an EV?

If you’re in the market for a new EV, you’ll have to decide whether to buy or lease. EV leasing is much more popular than buying since electric cars are so expensive. While buying a car, especially with a low interest rate, is generally a sounder financial decision, it’s not a good idea if you can barely afford the monthly payment.

In the end, you have to ask yourself how long you plan to keep your electric car. Will you eventually pay off the loan? If you plan to sell it, realize that EV resale value may work against you. However, leasing means having a monthly car payment for a long period of time. Also, exceeding the car’s mileage restrictions or damaging the car may end up costing you when it’s time to turn it in.

9. What Do I Need to Know About EV Maintenance?

Overall, electric cars require less maintenance than gas-powered cars. There are virtually no fluids to change, and the friction brakes last longer since regenerative braking assists with stopping the car. An EV’s battery and motor have the potential to last longer than the life of the car. In the rare event that an EV’s battery needs replacing, it can cost anywhere between $5,000 and $16,000, and that doesn’t include labor. For comparison, replacing the engine in a gas car can cost between $5,000 and $10,000 depending on the size of the engine and the hours of labor.

Fortunately, federal regulations require that automakers cover an electric vehicle’s battery for eight years or 100,000 miles. Keep in mind warranties can be packed with exceptions and exclusions, so make sure you understand exactly what’s covered.

10. How Much Does It Cost to Insure an Electric Car?

Insurance tends to cost more for electric cars than traditional cars. However, it has nothing to do with the vehicle’s safety. Instead, it’s because EVs are more expensive than gas-powered cars. More expensive cars typically cost more to repair. In addition, insurance companies take into account the high cost of EV battery packs. If an accident causes damage to the pack, and it needs to be replaced, it’s one of the most expensive repairs insurance companies will have to cover.

On average, you’ll pay 23% more to insure an electric car than a gas car. Some insurance companies are more forgiving than others, and rates vary widely depending on many variables.

News You Can Use – July 2021

78 0 10 Jul 2021

When you host the 4th of July barbecue or invite your friends’ kids over to play in the yard, you could be responsible if someone gets hurt. Ensure you have premises liability insurance and consider protecting yourself and your assets with a Personal Umbrella Policy!

What is a Personal Umbrella?

A personal umbrella provides affordable coverage beyond your basic policies, such

as your homeowners, renters, auto, or watercraft policies. It helps protect your assets (your home, for example) and future earnings and pays for defense costs in the event that you are sued.

Do I need it?

Yes…. Because everyone makes mistakes that can lead to a lawsuit. Even if you’re not at fault, a Personal Umbrella policy can cover defense costs.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your family, please call the office at 585 589-6236 and visit our website for our detailed blog www.thesouthcottagency.com

 

 


TACO MAC AND CHEESE

 

▢ 2.5 c pasta of your choice, I used elbow.

▢ 1.5 lbs. ground beef (turkey or chicken would also work)

▢ 2 c chicken or veg broth

▢ 1 1/4 cup water

▢ 1 cup of diced red bell pepper

▢ 1/2 yellow onion

▢ 1 taco seasoning packet

▢ 1 can of diced green chilis (mild medium or hot depending on preference)

▢ 2 c shredded cheese (cheddar, Mexican blend or any kind you prefer)

 

Toppings:

1. Brown beef in the bottom of the large soup pot, when halfway done add red peppers and onions.
2. When fully browned add a can of chilis, 1/4 c water, and taco seasoning, stir until well covered. Cook until seasoning darkens and thickens.

3. Add broth and water and cook until almost boiling. Mix in pasta and let cook for 15 minutes or all water is absorbed.
4. Fold in 2 cups of cheese until melted. Serve with desired toppings.


JUST KEEP TALKING

REFERRAL PROGRAM

Chance #1

Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us, we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card and…

 

Chance #2

Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive $50.00 Gift Card.

 

Grand Prize    

In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries, and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

As always, call t

he office if you have questions  at

(585) 589-6236

 


Deadlines for Crop Insurance

Acreage reports must be signed by July 15th for corn, soybeans, potatoes, and oats.

Acreage reports must be signed by August 15th for cabbage, processing beans, processing sweet corn, and fresh market beans.

Acreage reports must include:

  1. Planted acres and plant dates
  2. Prevented planted acres by crop
  3. Common land units, farm #’s, track #’s, field #’s

 

Please call the office (585)589-6236 as soon as you are ready or as soon as your acreage report is done at the Farm Service office.

Premiums will be issued after the acreage report is filed and will be due by September 1st.  Interest will be added as of October 1st and every month thereafter.


Take your kids to a farm so they don’t think food comes from a box.”

-Willie Nelson

Knowledge is power.. and empowering!

We are only a few generations removed from a time when everyone grew, raised, harvested, canned their own food. People had food in their backyards and the concept of traveling to a store to buy packaged food would have been bizarre. We are raising or are part of a generation that has no idea where the food we consume is coming from.

Learning where your food comes from (how far it has to travel to get to you) and especially how it is processed is the first step in taking back some control of our food system. There are numerous ways to help build a stronger local (or at home) food supply. I’ll share a few of my favorite tangible tips:

Learn what is in season in your area. Are you frustrated at the quality of supermarket tomatoes in December? Well, that’s because they are not in season in New York, therefore, are being shipped hundreds of miles. Before shipping food across the country was the norm, people ate only what was in season! That means big beautiful red juicy tomatoes were only served late summer to fall. Buying in-season allows for greater support to local farms. A very easy way to learn the seasons of produce is to attend a farmers’ market or farm stand.

Grow what you can. Having food in your backyard is not only rewarding it is practical! While even a tomato and cucumber plant is a great start, imagine if you planted a garden and raised even one meat animal for your freezer. I’ll tell you what, a cyber-attack on the world’s largest meat processing plant gets a whole lot less scary when you have your own food at home. Top that off by freezing or canning extra vegetables from the garden.

 

Right now, in New York, we are entering the season of plentiful garden produce. Some of you may even be enjoying some goodies from the garden already. I encourage you to go out and explore farmers’ markets, farm stands, or even check out the labels at the gr ocery store, which are now more than ever advertising their local goods.

 

Resources: check out seasonalfoodguide.org to check product availability any time of the year.

 

Stacia Whitney RD, CDN
Follow Nourish Yourself Dietetics LLC on Facebook and Instagram

 

 


 

Recently, one of our agents waited for her vehicle to be serviced at a local car dealership.  The service manager entered the waiting room with bad news for one of the other customers.  Apparently, mice had chewed some of the wirings in her car and the repair would be costly.  He continued, “Fear not, your homeowner’s policy will cover the cost.” Our agent felt obligated to intercede on behalf of the car owner and simply stated that homeowner’s policies do not cover rodent damage to your vehicle.  This led to a rather heated debate.  The dealership was forced to research rodent damage only to find they were wrong and they are not alone in their confusion.

Your auto insurance generally will cover rodent damage if you have comprehensive coverage.

Home insurance is much more complicated than vermin damage to your vehicle. 

We receive many calls asking if there is coverage for removing vermin from their home and fixing the damage done by vermin.  Typical inquiries include:

  • Will my insurance cover the removal of bats in my attic?
  • Will it pay for the removal of toxic guano left by the bats?
  • Will it pay to remove bees in my ceiling and walls?
  • Do I have coverage to pay for the removal of skunks that have nested under my garage and sprayed the structure?
  • I’ve discovered chewed electrical wiring in the attic.  Is it covered?

 

Rats, mice, and even cute chipmunks and squirrels are all rodents and can create extensive damage in a home. In most cases, the physical damage caused by these little guys isn’t covered – nor is the cost of their removal if you choose to call in a pest control specialist to handle a rogue squirrel in the attic or a family of mice living in the pantry walls.

For insurance purposes: Animals considered vermin: rats, mice, squirrels, beavers, porcupines, chipmunks, guinea pigs, prairie dogs, marmots, woodchucks, cockroaches, flies, lice, bedbugs

Animals not vermin: skunks, bats, possums, raccoons, rabbits

Most policies exclude all excrement caused by animals including scat, pee, and secretions.

We have posted a more detailed blog on our webpage www.thesouthcottagency.com

 


Protect That Skin You’re In!

 

July may be UV Safety Month, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about UV safety the other 11 months of the year. Sun safety needs to be considered every day—even if it is cloudy outside.

As the saying goes—your skin is your largest organ, you better take care of it. Doing so is fairly simple; and you can probably recite the following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) but, indulge me while I reiterate:

Seek Shade. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce your skin damage and skin cancer risk, especially if you are outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Cover-Up. Wear clothing to protect any exposed skin, even in the shade. This means a hat with a brim all the way around, sunglasses with UVA/UVB (broad spectrum) protection, and clothing made of a tightly woven fabric.

Lather Up. This is the most important, even if you’re in the shade and covered up, you should put sunscreen on before you head outside. Not just any sunscreen, but a broad spectrum protection product with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15. Make sure it’s not expired.

 


When are the Dog Days of Summer?

 

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Dog Days of summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning on July 3rd and ending August 11, which coincide with the rising of Sirius, the Dog Star.  This is just after the summer solstice and indicates that heat will be arriving soon.

 What is heatstroke in pets?

Heatstroke, also known as overheating or heat exhaustion, occurs when your pet’s body temperature rises above the normal range of 100 to 102.2 degrees. Dogs and cats have few sweat glands and cannot cool off by sweating like humans, so they overheat more easily. Pets mainly cool off by panting, as moisture evaporation from the oral cavity helps lower body temperature. Heatstroke most commonly occurs when pets are left outside on hot days, but also can develop if:

 

  • There is high humidity, even if the temperature is lower
  • Your pet doesn’t take breaks from playing to cool off
  • Your pet doesn’t have adequate access to water in warm temperatures
  • Your pet is left in a closed-up house on a hot day with no ventilation or air conditioning
  • Your pet is left inside a car, even if it does not seem hot outside.

Heatstroke is a dangerous health condition that can cause death if warning signs are not recognized immediately.

What are heatstroke signs in pets?

  • Excessive panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, with or without blood
  • Weakness
  • Incoordination or stumbling
  • Sudden collapse
  • Seizures

Act immediately if your pet displays any of these signs. Once your pet begins to overheat, heatstroke progresses quickly.

 

 


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

 

News You Can Use

46 0 15 Jun 2021


Hashbrown Breakfast Bake

Nourish Yourself Dietetics LLC

Easy, great for any meal, makes a lot, great way to get veggies in. That’s my kind of meal!

10 eggs
1 20 oz bag of hash-browns
1 lbs of breakfast sausage
1 bag of baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 c whole milk
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper if desired

1. preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 9×13 pan.
2. Brown sausage and break into small pieces. Sauté onions and peppers, when soft add spinach over veggies and cover until spinach is cooked. Mix with sausage.
3. Spread hash browns evenly on the bottom of the dish. Spread meat and veggie mix over hash-browns.
4. Mix 10 eggs well then add milk and cheese together in a large bowl and pour over ingredients in the dish. Bake for approximately 1 hour, until the center, is cooked.
*substitute any veggies you like! Cut-up ham steak or cooked bacon would also be very good substitutes for sausage.

 

13630 Ridge Road

Albion, NY  14411

Phone 585 589-6236

information@thesouthcottagency.com

Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm

www.thesouthcottagency.com

 

Chance #1 … Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card and…

 

Chance #2……Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize     In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

 


Crop Insurance News

 

Prevented Planting  

 

Both corn and soybeans have a prevented planting provision in their crop insurance policy.  Any acreage not planted due to excess moisture before June 10th may qualify for a prevented planting indemnity.  Both corn and soybeans have a late plant period out to July 5th.  The provisions require you to report a prevented planting claim 72 hours from your last plant date and no later than July 5th.  You then report your actual planted acres and actually prevented acres by July 15th.  The highest payment for corn is 60% of your actual acre liability.  For soybeans, it is 65% of your actual acre liability.  All acreage reports must be done using maps and common land units, farm serial numbers, and tract and field numbers.

We will be touching base with you by phone or in-person after June 10th.  If you have questions do not hesitate to call the office @ 585 589-6236.  May’s blog goes into more detail on the claim process. www.thesouthcottagency.com


Just Keep Talking Referral Program

Chance #1 … Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card  and…

 

Chance #2……Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize     In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new tablet

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

 

Call Us!


Crop Insurance News

 

Prevented Planting  

Both corn and soybeans have a prevented planting provision in their crop insurance policy.  Any acreage not planted due to excess moisture before June 10th, may qualify for a prevented planting indemnity.  Both corn and soybeans have a late plant period out to July 5th.  The provisions require you to report a prevented planting claim 72 hours from your last plant date and no later than July 5th.  You then report your actual planted acres and actual prevented acres by July 15th.  The highest payment for corn is 60% of your actual acre liability.  For soybeans it is 65% of your actual acre liability.  All acreage reports must be done using maps and common land units, farm serial numbers and tract and field numbers.

We will be touching base with you by phone or in person after June 10th.  If you have questions do not hesitate to call the office @ 585 589-6236.  May’s blog goes into more detail on the claim process. www.thesouthcottagency.com


There are special Limits of Liability no matter how much coverage C, personal property coverage, you have on your homeowner’s policy. 

 

Most policies look something like this:

$200 on money, book notes, bullion, gold, silver, medals, prescriptions.

$1,500 on securities, accounts, deeds, letters of credit, evidence of debt, bank notes, passports, tickets, stamps

$1,500 on watercraft of all types including their trailers, furnishing equipment

$1,500 for loss or theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semi-precious stones

$2,500 for loss of firearms and related equipment

$2,500 for loss or theft of silverware, goldware and trophies

$2,500 for property used for business purposes

$1,500 for electronic apparatus and accessories while upon or in a motor vehicle

$1,500 for electronic apparatus used primarily for business

 

Properties Not Covered: Animals, birds, fish, Motor vehicles including snowmobiles, ATVs, RTVs, and mini-bikes

 

Items that you can increase coverage with a personal property floater for additional premium:

Jewelry, watches, furs

Firearms

Money & Securities

Silverware

Electronics

Items that need a separate policy:

Large boats

ATVs & RTVs

Motorcycles & Snowmobiles

Remember, we do not know what personal property you purchase or its value unless you tell us.  We cannot provide you with adequate coverage during a loss if we are not informed.  Call us @ 585 589-6236.


Mike Sills is our monthly $50.00 gift card winner!


Discover Boating

If you are struggling with the pre-launch boat preparation, here are some great tips to help get that ride out as soon as possible.

Inspect the fuel system for any leaks or damage. Ensure the engine, exhaust and ventilation systems are all functioning properly. (You may want to run the motor out of the water first.) Also, it’s recommended to change the oil before your first run of the year.

Check the belts, cables and hoses. They can become brittle and may crack or swell during the winter.

Inspect electrical connections for cleanliness or tightness. Charge your battery and have it tested to ensure it can hold a charge. Electrical systems should be regularly inspected by a qualified technician.

Check all fluid levels; change the engine oil, oil filter, and drive lubricants, if these tasks were not done prior to winterizing your boat.

Inspect propellers for dings, pitting, cracks and distortion. Be sure to clean the hull, deck and topsides and make sure the drain plug is securely in place before every launch.

Check your safety gear! Make sure your life jackets are in good condition and that there are enough on board for all potential passengers. Be sure on-board fire extinguishers are the correct class and are fully charged.

A couple of hours before your summer launch could save you huge headaches later. After researching this topic, I picked up a couple of my own tips. A lot of boat owners say to have extra plugs on hand, just in case. Also, brushing up on a boater’s safety class is always a good idea and if you need an insurance policy,  we write boat insurance.

 

If you love boating but get seasickness as I do,  this may help.

Seasickness is defined as motion sickness that happens on the water. The inner ear becomes unbalanced due to the rocking motion of a boat or ship and can have side effects like a cold sweat, upset stomach, fatigue, and/or nausea, and vomiting.

6 Methods to Cure Sea Sickness

Situate yourself in the middle of the boat. The middle of the boat has the most stability and will not feel as topsy-turvy as the back, front and sides may feel. If your boat doesn’t have a place to sit in the middle, the front is the next best spot.

Steer the boat. Even better than sitting in the middle or front, having control of your surroundings will help control your nausea because you will be able to anticipate those major turns and wave maneuvers.

Find something stable to fix your eyes on. Finding something stable like the horizon to fix your eyes on will help restore some equilibrium since your brain will recognize the stillness and calm your inner ear.

Talk to yourself. Although you may look silly, “verbal placebos” have been effective in preventing seasickness. Telling yourself that you are not seasick has been proven to help, as well as learning breathing techniques to calm your stomach.

Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea, so look for foods and drinks with ginger in it to keep your nausea at bay. Ginger-ale and ginger cookies may be of help.

  1. Use over-the-counter medication. Sometimes, no matter what you try, all other preventative measures don’t seem to work just right. Talk to your doctor about preventing nausea from motion sickness with medications like Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) or the Scopolamine Transdermal Patch, which will curb nausea and get you back out on the water.

Happy Father’s Day!

 

Sonora Dodd was one of the first people who had the idea of a “Father’s Day.” She thought of the idea while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Sonora wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, who was a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.

 

After Sonora became an adult, she realized the selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man.

 

Even before Dodd, however, the idea of observing a day in honor of fathers was promoted. Dr. Robert Webb conducted what is believed as the first Father’s Day service at the Central Church of Fairmont, West Virginia in 1908. It was Dodd’s efforts, however, that eventually led to a national observance. President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924, supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. Then in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day.

 

Spend Time with Loved Ones…

 

Why should the winter holiday season be the only time to enjoy your friends and loved ones? While it’s still early in the year, plan to set aside time for someone close to you, or someone you’d like to know better.

 

  • Make a list of friends you’ve lost touch with over the years. Scribble a note in your planner to call one of them every other month just to catch up.
  • Plan private time with your significant other. Send the kids to sleep over at a friend’s house so that you can be together in the comfort of your own home.
  • Make a date with each of your kids to go out where he or she chooses. Use the opportunity to have fun together, just the two of you, without mentioning schoolwork or a messy room.
  • Use a special event, like a new exhibition at a museum or a craft fair, to invite a friend for a “walk and talk” afternoon.
  • Keep postcards and stamps handy, so that you can drop the people you love a note whenever you think of it.

 

We hope you will enjoy our latest newsletter feature, Nourish Yourself Dietetics LLC

 

You will receive nutrition counseling with our daughter, Stacia Southcott Whitney, a registered dietitian whose services include, weight management nutrition, medical nutrition therapy, lifestyle changes, disordered eating and more.  Her monthly newsletter contribution will cover a wide variety of timely nutrition issues.

 

Let’s talk eggs and egg laying chickens. So, if you’ve been following me for a minute you would know I love eggs and egg laying chickens and I think eggs are a super healthy and awesome food to have in your meal repertoire. We’ve talked about how the cholesterol you eat has been shown to have little to no effect on your health. This means you CAN eat eggs when you wish!

 

So, what’s the difference between conventional (caged) eggs, free range eggs, organic eggs, pastured eggs? It can be a lot to decide between when standing in the grocery aisle or farmers market.

 

Organic eggs- the feed, and environment that the chicken lives in has no pesticides, inorganic chemicals, antibiotics. The farm can be certified as organic or can just be maintaining the same guidelines.

 

Caged eggs- typical grocery store egg. Chickens live in cages on large industrial farms for egg production.

 

The next two categories can get a little complicated as there are very little standardized guidelines to keep all farms the same. Large scale chicken egg operations can get away with labeling their eggs free range simply by allowing them access to sunlight for a few minutes. However, in smaller scale, family farms the definitions can be interpreted as:

 

Free range eggs- chickens are allowed to wander outside in various environments, they have safe shelter and access to food and water ad lib.

 

Pasture raised eggs: chickens are on pasture (grass) and often moved to fresh areas of pasture as needed to provide access to grazing and eating insects. Water, food and shelter are provided.

 

There are however very little nutritional differences between the types. One study showed slightly higher levels of beta carotene, some antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids in free range and pasture chickens. Likely due to their diet being more diverse than a grain only diet (I.e., grass and insects). The greatest benefit belongs to the chickens who live less stressful and more natural lifestyles when able to roam, be on pasture and eat bugs.

You can follow  Nourish Yourself Dietetics LLC on Facebook or Instagram: @dietitian_stacia


     Home Pool Safety It’s that time of the year – school is almost out, temperatures are warming up and pools are open for the summer. If you own a pool, you’re probably aware of the maintenance and care that’s involved. But have you considered taking that extra step to make sure it’s safe for your kids?

According to the American Red Cross, more than 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools each year. That’s pretty scary to think about. And if you’re a parent, that’s your worst nightmare. Luckily, there’s ways you can prevent a tragedy from happening in your backyard by following these guidelines from the American Red Cross:

  • Secure your pool when it’s not in use with a 4-feet high fence or barrier. Also, remember to remove any ladders or steps used for access.
  • Make sure children are being supervised at all times. Do not allow anyone to swim alone, and have inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. This will leave your water clean and clear, and minimize the risk of rashes or more serious diseases.
  • Establish safe practices, such as “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers” and “swim with a buddy.”
  • Make sure everyone in the home knows how to respond to emergencies by having the appropriate safety equipment and taking first aid and CPR courses.

 

 Another safety feature you can install is a pool alarm. It sits at the  edge of your pool, and when someone falls in, a pressure wave will cause the alarm to go off. It’s a device that’s sure to keep you at ease if you’re away from home, or when you’re  sleeping.

And most importantly, have a fun – and safe summer!

The Vermin Quandary

42 0 09 Jun 2021

The Vermin Quandary

Recently, one of our agents waited for her vehicle to be serviced at a local car dealership.  The service manager entered the waiting room with bad news for one of the other customers.  Apparently, mice had chewed some of the wirings in her car and the repair would be costly.  He continued, “Fear not, your homeowner’s policy will cover the cost.” Our agent felt obligated to intercede on behalf of the car owner and simply stated that homeowner’s policies do not cover rodent damage to your vehicle.  This led to a rather heated debate.  The dealership was forced to research rodent damage only to find they were wrong and they are not alone in their confusion.

Rodents are prevalent in our area and often hide away in cars, RV’s, and boats.  They offer ideal protected nesting spots with an abundance of chewing material.  Electrical wiring and upholstery are commonly damaged. Your auto insurance generally will cover rodent damage if you have comprehensive coverage.  Comprehensive coverage (also known as “Other than Collision”) pays for things like hail damage, falling debris, and vandalism.   However, some insurance companies exclude rodent damage in the comprehensive coverage.  It is particular to each insurance company.  If you are afforded the coverage, you are still required to pay your deductible.

Unfortunately, homeowners’ insurance does not cover rodent damage to your vehicle even if your vehicle is parked inside an attached garage.

Home insurance is much more complicated than vermin damage to your vehicle. 

The definition of Vermin is below.

Vermin is defined by Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary as 1) any of a number of small animals with filthy, destructive, troublesome habits as flies, lice, bedbugs, mice, rats, and weasels; 2) any bird or animal that kills game; 3) (a) a person who is vile, worthless, or objectionable; (b) such persons collectively.

For insurance purposes:

  • Animals considered vermin: rats, mice, squirrels, beavers, porcupines, chipmunks, guinea pigs, prairie dogs, marmots, woodchucks, cockroaches, flies, lice, bedbugs
  • Animals not vermin: skunks, bats, possums, raccoons, rabbits (unless you live in Australia)

We receive many calls asking if there is coverage for removing vermin from their home and fixing the damage done by vermin.  Typical inquiries include:

 

Will my insurance cover the removal of bats in my attic?

Will it pay for the removal of toxic guano left by the bats?

Will it pay to remove bees in my ceiling and walls?

Do I have coverage to pay for the removal of skunks that have nested under my garage and sprayed the structure?

I’ve discovered chewed electrical wiring in the attic.  Is it covered?

 

Recently a client called after finding their seasonal home had been infested with mice over the past winter.  The damage was extensive – two sofas and a chair were nesting sites and excrement covered the camp.  In this case, the claim was denied!

Uninvited house guests can be a tricky situation no matter which species they belong to – but if the houseguests are insects or animals, the coverage on your home insurance policy can be tricky as well. Termites and other wood-boring insects might think your house is absolutely delicious or might view your home as a warm and wonderful place to build a nest. Animals have also been known to enter people’s homes, either for a short visit or to build a home of their own.

Let’s look at what’s covered, what’s not covered, and some of the concepts that determine coverage eligibility.

Coverage for termites and other insects

Termites are the biggest threat to homes when it comes to “vermin”, a broad category of pests that can cause extensive damage and are difficult to control. In many cases, damage due to vermin is not covered by a standard home insurance policy. In fact, damage due to termites is often specifically excluded from coverage. Very few species are mentioned by name in a home insurance policy but termites make the list.  Insurers view termites and similar infestations as a maintenance issue, which makes policing for termites or similar types of vermin the homeowner’s responsibility.

Coverage for rodents, raccoons, squirrels, and other animals

Once we begin discussing pests that are larger than insects, some sorting into groups needs to take place to better understand your coverage. Rodents, like termites, are often specifically excluded from coverage on a standard home insurance policy, so let’s discuss rodents first.

Rats, mice, and even cute chipmunks and squirrels are all rodents and can create extensive damage in a home. In most cases, the physical damage caused by these little guys isn’t covered – nor is the cost of their removal if you choose to call in a pest control specialist to handle a rogue squirrel in the attic or a family of mice living in the pantry walls.

There are some isolated exceptions where an insurer may provide coverage for damage from rodents. For example, if a mouse chews through wires in your home, causing a fire, the fire damage is likely to be covered – however, there may still be some challenges. If you knew about the mouse, squirrel, chipmunk, etc., and didn’t take measures to remove the pests from your home, the insurer may deny coverage, deeming the damage to be due to a “lack of maintenance”.

Not all animals are rodents

Raccoons aren’t rodents, nor are bats, deer, bears, or some other types of animals that sometimes invite themselves into homes. Coverage may be limited in some cases, but coverage for these “non-rodent” guests is less limited than in the case of rodents or vermin. Many courts don’t consider raccoons or bats to be vermin, which are often excluded from coverage, but your insurer may feel differently and a claim due to damage from raccoons or bats may not be covered. Some policies also specifically exclude coverage for damage caused by raccoons and bats. In other cases, a bat infestation, for example, damage to structural items like attic insulation may be covered but the insurer may not cover the removal of the bat “guano” or the bats themselves, meaning there is only partial coverage.

Wild animals

More rural areas sometimes have larger visitors, like deer or even bears. If one of these animals enters your home and starts breaking things, coverage is mixed, meaning some of the damage may be covered while other items may not be covered. The distinction is due to the different coverage types in a standard home insurance policy and which risks are covered by each type of coverage.

“Coverage A” is coverage for the dwelling. This is the house and its attached structures. An eight-point buck running amok in your home can cause damage to the structure including damage to windows, doors, drywall, and similar vulnerable areas. On a standard (HO-3) home insurance policy, the dwelling is covered for all perils – except those that are specifically excluded. It’s unlikely that eight-point bucks are specifically excluded from your policy, so damage to the structure should be covered. “Coverage B”, other structures, usually covers the same risks as coverage A, so rogue-animal damage to other structures such as detached garages would be covered as well.

“Coverage C” is where you’re more likely to have exposure to a loss due to a rogue animal. Coverage C is coverage for personal property, your electronics, furnishings, etc. On most policies, coverage is limited to specifically named perils. You can bet that eight-point bucks aren’t on the list so if the deer breaks things other than the building structure, there probably won’t be covered. If the rogue deer knocked over a candle and started a fire, however, fire is a covered peril.

Most policies exclude all excrement caused by animals including scat, pee, and secretions.

 

Understanding sudden and accidental damage

There are certain phrases that appear commonly in most home insurance policies. “Sudden and accidental” is among the common phrases and is relevant to any discussion of damage caused by insects or animals. Home insurance isn’t intended to be a maintenance policy. The earliest home insurance policies only covered fires. That’s all. Newer policies are much broader in coverages but still focus coverage on the sudden damage that occurs accidentally.

Many of the ways in which vermin can damage a home aren’t sudden at all. A lightning strike is sudden (and it’s covered!) but a colony of insects or a family of mice living in your home will usually require quite a bit of time to cause significant damage. There should be some signs during that time and the best solution is to remedy the problem before any significant damage occurs.

Crop Insurance CLAIMS: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

43 0 15 May 2021

The sole purpose of purchasing any type of insurance is to be paid for a loss. The sole purpose of Federal crop insurance is to be a safety net for crop losses due to weather-related events. What we really are insuring is our loss of revenue or income to the farm due to the loss of production of our crops. The sole purpose of this concept of a safety net is to provide enough income to get us into the next year. To help us cover our fixed costs so that we do not go into bankruptcy. It is not meant to provide us with enough money to buy a new truck or tractor or pay for our vacation.

When we understand that the highest coverage option for many Federal crop insurance programs is either 75% or 85%, leaving a 35% or 25% loss or what Federal crop insurance refers to as your deductible, can be and is still a significant loss.

Paying claims is where the rubber meets the road. The claim process procedures, like other aspects of Federal crop insurance, are full of regulations and rules. Some of these regulations and rules can make the time of payment from the time of loss seem like an eternity. Knowing the regulations and your duties and responsibilities will speed up the claim process ensuring a fair and full claim payment.

First, let us look at what is a covered claim. What is an insured cause of loss? Insured causes of loss (and any limitations) are stated in each crop’s policy provisions.

  1. Adverse weather conditions.
  2. Fire, due to natural causes.
  3. Earthquake.
  4. Insects, but not damaged due to insufficient or improper pest control measures.
  5. Plant disease, but not damaged due to insufficient disease control measures.
  6. Volcanic eruption.
  7. Wildlife, unless control measures have not been taken.
  8. Failure of irrigation water supply, if caused by an insured peril that occurs during the insurance.
  9. Other insured causes of loss due to natural disasters may be determined by the secretary of agriculture.

In the common crop insurance policy, you will find a section titled, “duties in the event of damage, loss, abandonment, destruction, or alternative use of crop or acreage”. Here you will find your duties and responsibilities to filing a crop insurance claim. Let us look at some of our duties and responsibilities and the problems that are caused by your failure to adhere to these policy procedures.

  1. A) In the case of damage or loss of production or remedy to any insured crop, you must protect the crop from further damage by providing sufficient care.

This is true in all insurance policies. If you suffer a fire in your home, you have the responsibility of protecting the undamaged portion of the house and your personal items. We may be required to board up broken doors or windows. We may be required to move unharmed items to a safe place. We cannot just abandon the home and walk away. Similarly, you must continue to care for the crop after a loss by maintaining acceptable farming practices such as fertilization, weed control, insect disease control. There could be a situation where the damage to your crop was so severe, like extreme drought, where it is not economical to further care for the crop. You cannot abandon care for the crop without permission from the insurance carrier. Continual and constant communication with your adjuster is key.

  1. B) When there is damage or loss of production you must give the insurance carrier notice within 72 hours of your initial discovery of the damage or loss of production. This is very important. We cannot wait until the crop season is over, fully harvest the crop, and then at some future date figure out that the actual production was lower than your insurance guarantee and then file a claim. An insurance provider may accept a late claim notice. They will have you sign a waiver stating they have the right to deny the claim due to late notice of loss.

It does state that you have 72 hours from your initial discovery. Let us say that we are insuring fruit such as apples or peaches and have a freeze in February, March, April, or even May.  You realize there is a potential for damaged production of your fruit due to the low temperatures. However, you may not actually see any damage until the fruit blossom or the fruit set. You do not necessarily have to file a notice of loss within 72 hours of the day of the freeze. We will not see the actual damage until the fruit blossom or the fruit set. So, filing a notice of loss after the fruit blossom or fruit set versus right after the low temperatures will not cause a claim notice to be considered late and therefore denied.

  1. C) Representative samples are portions of the insured crop that must remain in the field for examination and review by the insurance provider’s adjuster when making a crop appraisal, as specified in the crop provisions. In certain instances, the insurance provider may allow you to harvest the crop and require only that a sample of the crop be left in the field. The samples must be left intact until the insurance provider inspects them or until 15 days after completion of the harvest, whichever is earlier. The samples must be 10 feet wide and run the entire length of the field. A real big no-no is to leave samples in the headlands. The time to retain representative samples may be extended if it is necessary to accurately determine the loss.
  2. D) You must obtain consent from the insurance provider before you put the insured crop to alternate use. Boy, this is a big one! The most common situation where this rule raises its ugly head is with the corn crop. Simply, someone signs up for grain corn insurance coverage and plants his corn, and reports it as grain corn. Due to adverse weather, either it is way too dry or way too wet, the corn never matures correctly. The grower decides he’s going to chop his corn for silage. That is an example of the crop being put to alternate use. You must file a notice of loss. The insurance provider will then do an appraisal before you harvest the silage, determine what products to count is on a grain basis and compare that to your acreage guarantee. When production to count is less than your guarantee you will receive a loss payment. However, if notice of loss is reported after harvesting the corn as silage then the rule states that you automatically met your acre guarantee and no loss payment will be made, no matter what actual production you end up with.

Also, you must receive consent from the insurance provider when you put the reported acreage to another use. An example is when a grower plants wheat in the fall. The grower reports his wheat acreage by November 15 of that year. Some of the planted wheat emerges thin. This grower decides to destroy the weak wheat plantings and re-plants the ground to a different crop. You must file a notice of loss and get permission to destroy the reported crop acreage before you actually destroy the acreage.

Let’s look at an example, a grower plants 800 acres of wheat by the correct plant date, reports the acreage correctly by the acreage report date. The next spring 100 acres emerges weakly. He decides to destroy it but does not file a notice of loss or receive consent to destroy it. What is the outcome?

  • The grower’s premium bill will be based on the actually reported acres. In this example 800 acres. Not the harvested acreage of 700.
  • When he finally harvests the wheat the production of the 700 acres will be divided by the reported acres of 800 resulting in a reduction of APH for the next year.

 

49,000 bu. actually harvested divided by 700 acres that were left = 70 bu./acre.

49,000 bu. actually harvested divided by 800 acres reported = 61 bu./acre.

This is the amount that would be used for APH purposes.

 

  1. E) Submit a timely claim or notice of loss.

We’ve already looked at the 72-hour rule. There are other dates and time limits to be aware of. You must submit a claim no later than 60 days after the date the insurance period ends. The end of the insurance period is different for each crop in the state and is found in the special provisions for each crop.

Corn for grain       December 10       

Corn for silage     October 20

Soybeans             December 10

Fall Wheat            August 31

Apples                  November 5

Peaches               September 30     

Grapes                  November 20

Cabbage               November 25

 

For more information on crop insurance claims, call the office at 585 589-6236, for a copy of my book.

 

News You Can Use – May 2021

76 0 01 May 2021

Happy Memorial Day

FLAG ETIQUETTE  Ideally, an American flag on your house should hang from a staff that angles out from the front wall, a windowsill, or balcony. Please do not allow the flag to touch the ground, floor, water, or anything else beneath it.

It’s also appropriate to hang the flag from a horizontal staff. Whether the flag hangs from an angled or horizontal staff, be sure the union or canton (the rectangle with the stars) is at the peak. (Hanging the flag with the union down signals extreme distress.)

When our President declares the flag to be flown at half-staff, it is acceptable to hang the flag from a horizontal staff with the union down, though your neighbors may not understand why you’re doing this. When the flag is displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be at the top and to your left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be hung so that the union is left when you see it from the street.

The American flag is meant to be a flag; don’t use it for any other purpose. For example, please don’t use it as drapery, ceiling decoration, or as a bedspread. And never use it as a receptacle for carrying or holding anything.

Though it is customary to fly the flag from sunrise to sunset, the U.S. Code says that “when a patriotic effect is desired,” you can display it around the clock. If you do, you should illuminate it with light.  When displayed from a car, the flagstaff should be fixed or clamped firmly to the vehicle, ideally on the right side. The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back. The same holds for a flag displayed on a float in a parade. Don’t carry the flag flat or horizontally. And, because it is not meant to be apparel, do not wear a United States flag.  If you wear a lapel flag, pin it on the left side, near your heart.

Why bother with flag etiquette when you’re excited about flying the Stars and Stripes? Consider this – for more than two hundred years, our country’s military, firefighters, police, and other service personnel have practiced these measures faithfully, treating our flag with the highest esteem. This is one way we can show respect and meet the high standard they have set.

Wishing you a beautiful Memorial Day weekend.  In honor of all the veterans and the active service members … Thank you for all you do.


FRESH GREEN PEA SALAD

▢ 1 pound Fresh Green Peas

▢ 1 ⅓ Cups Mayonnaise

▢ 2 Teaspoons Granulated Sugar

▢ ½ Teaspoon Salt

▢ ½ Teaspoon Pepper

▢ 1 Small Red Onion, Chopped

▢ 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

▢ 1 Cup cooked crumbled Bacon or cubed ham

 

In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sugar, salt, and pepper with the red onion, cheese, and bacon or ham.

Add the peas to the salad and stir well, but gently to combine.

Chill the salad, covered, for at least one hour before serving.


 

JUST KEEP TALKING

REFERRAL PROGRAM

Chance #1

Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us, we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card and…

 

Chance #2

Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card.

 

Grand Prize    

In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries, and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

As always, call the office if you have questions  at

(585) 589-6236

 


CROP INSURANCE DEADLINES

CROP                                                  Plant Date                       Sign Acreage Report

Onions                                                       May 10                                         May 15

Oats                                                           May 10                                         July 15

Corn / Soybeans                                    June 10                                        July 15

Potatoes                                                  June 10                                        July 15

Cabbage                                                  July 20                                        August 15

Processing Beans                                 July 25                                         August 15

Fresh Market Sweet Corn                  June 30                                        July 15

Fresh Market Beans                           July 25                                          August 15


 

Crop Insurance News — Prevented Planting  

 

Both corn and soybeans have a prevented planting provision in their crop insurance policy.  Any acreage not planted due to excess moisture before June 10th may qualify for a prevented planting indemnity.  Both corn and soybeans have a late plant period out to July 5th.  The provisions require you to report a prevented planting claim 72 hours from your last plant date and no later than July 5th.  You then report your actual planted acres and actually prevented acres by July 15th.  The highest payment for corn is 60% of your actual acre liability.  For soybeans, it is 65% of your actual acre liability.  All acreage reports must be done using maps and common land units, farm serial numbers, and track and field numbers.

We will be touching base with you by phone or in-person after June 10th.


 

“Time is money” Savings for Memorial Day driving

It’s amazing how much money you can save if you have the time.  The phrase can be used in many different contexts, but for this article, I am using it because if I have less time, I spend more money. It’s a vicious cycle.

Memorial Day driving (or any trip) is going to cost some amount of money, whatever you decide to do. Taking the time (and finding the time) to plan a couple of extra steps will save you big money in the long run.

Pack water, pop, and snacks. It’s amazing how many times we stop on a road trip – stop to get water or coffee, stop to get a bag of chips, stop to stretch our legs (and get a candy bar). If you pack beverages and snacks in a cooler, it saves you money and time.

Pack a lunch or dinner. Another costly expense is stopping or driving through to eat lunch or dinner. On a long trip, I always think that it’s a great idea to stop at a sit-down restaurant and have myself a nice 20 dollar meal. After the appetizer, family meal, and desserts, we walk out of there with about $60.00 fewer dollars for our weekend.

Check your vehicle before heading out for the weekend. Check your oil, tire pressure, and other routine maintenance for the long drive ahead.

Don’t plan…or do. If you plan to stretch out under the stars at a National park or campground, that’s a money saver in itself. I personally don’t camp, but I do look for online bargains at hotels along the way.  Driving around looking for a deal will waste time and gas.

Save GAS! This seems to be a big one in the present times. Roll with the windows down (ac sucks up the gas), coast to a stop, and don’t speed.


WHAT TYPES OF WATER DAMAGE ARE NOT COVERED?

It’s important to know that most homeowner’s policies contain exclusions when it comes to water damage.  We at The Southcott Agency Inc. often remind you of water risks because we understand your home is one of your greatest investments.

WHAT TYPES OF WATER DAMAGE ARE NOT COVERED?

Damage from Unresolved Maintenance Issues  While your homeowners’ insurance will probably help cover the cost of replacing or repairing a damaged floor if your dishwasher suddenly goes on the fritz, coverage generally will not kick in if the damage results from an unresolved maintenance issue, such as continuous leaking near a faucet or other plumbing fixture.

Replacing or Repairing the Source of the Water Damage  Most homeowners’ insurance policies will not cover the source of the water damage. So, while your policy may cover the cost of tearing out and replacing that damaged floor, you shouldn’t expect it to cover the cost of replacing your broken dishwasher or washing machine.

Water Backup from an Outside Sewer or Drain  You will not typically be covered by a traditional homeowner policy if water backs into your home through an outside sewer or drain. You may, however, be able to purchase additional sewer or water backup coverage that may help cover damage from that type of event.

Flood  No type of flood damage, no matter the water source, is covered by standard homeowners policies. Flooding, for example, can occur from storms, over-saturated ground, overflowing or surging bodies of water such as rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans. You may be able to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.


 

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.”

-Cardinal Mermillod


Spring has sprung, and with the change of season, our thoughts turn spring cleaning and much-needed home improvement projects. Before you embark on seasonal chores or outdoor revelry, take inventory of potential springtime hazards for your furry friends.

 

Screen Yourself
Many pet parents welcome the breezy days of spring by opening their windows. Unfortunately, they also unknowingly put their pets at risk—especially cats, who are apt to jump or fall through unscreened windows.

 

Buckle Up!
While most dogs love to feel the wind on their furry faces, allowing them to ride in the beds of pick-up trucks or stick their heads out of moving-car windows is dangerous!  Pets riding in cars should always be secured in a crate or wearing a seatbelt harness designed especially for them.

 

Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is a time-honored tradition in many households, but be sure to keep all cleaners and chemicals out of your pets’ way! Almost all cleaning products, even all-natural ones, contain chemicals that may be harmful to pets.

 

Home Improvement 101
Products such as paints, mineral spirits, and solvents can be toxic to your pets and cause severe irritation or chemical burns. Carefully read all labels to see if the product is safe to use around your furry friends.

 

Let Your Garden Grow—With Care
Pet parents, take care—fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides keep our plants and lawns healthy and green, but their ingredients may be dangerous if your pet ingests them. Always store these products in out-of-the-way places. Many popular springtime plants—including rhododendron and azaleas—are also highly toxic to pets and can prove fatal if eaten.

 

Pesky Little Critters
April showers bring May flowers—and an onslaught of bugs! Make sure your pet is on year-round heartworm preventive medication, as well as a flea and tick control program.

 

Out and About
Warmer weather means more trips to the park, longer walks, and more chances for your pet to wander off! Ensure your dog or cat has a microchip for identification and wears a tag imprinted with your home address, cell phone, and any other relevant contact information.


 

 


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

 

How Mold Affects Your Home Insurance?

92 0 30 Apr 2021

 

 

 

Does your house have a mold problem? Mold can affect your health, and it affects your home insurance policy and rates, too. Learn more as you maintain your home insurance coverage at an affordable price.

 

Which Molds are Bad?

On any given day, you could find one or more of five common molds in your home. They are Stachybotrys, Cladosporium, Penicillium, Fusarium, and Aspergillus. While Aspergillums are the least toxic, Stachybotrys is the most toxic. It’s been linked to hay fever, pulmonary edema, liver damage, brain damage, and death, especially in people with compromised immune systems, infants, and the elderly.

 

How do I Know if My House Has Mold?

Because it’s potentially deadly, you need to know if your house has mold. Do a visual inspection and look for black, gray, brown, or blue anywhere there’s moisture or wetness, including in your bathroom, basement, or laundry room. Remember, though, that you can’t always see mold. It may be hiding behind drywall or under flooring.

Dry rot and musty odors are two signs of mold. Health problems like chronic nasal stuffiness, cough, wheezing, sore throat, upper respiratory infections, or skin and eye irritations are also signs of mold. Investigate immediately if you think your house is affected because early treatment could help you get a handle on the problem.

 

Can I Get Home Insurance if my House Has Mold?

Most home insurance policies cover “sudden and accidental” damage. So, if your bathroom pipes burst while you’re out of town and cause moldy floors, you could file a claim and get the mold removed.

However, if debris accumulation on your roof causes mold growth, you probably cannot file a home insurance claim to repair your roof. That’s because this type of mold growth is considered by most insurance companies to be a home maintenance issue and thus not covered by your policy.  Leaking water and moisture build-up that leads to mold growth over a period of time will also be excluded.  By addressing it right away, you have a better chance of removing it before it causes damage and affects your home insurance.

Small areas of mold growth can be cleaned and treated with bleach or another mold cleanser. Remember to wear a respirator and protective clothing as you perform this task to protect yourself from an allergic reaction.

If your building requires more extensive remediation methods, hire a professional to access the mold, determine the extent of the damage and create a removal plan. Depending on the growth, treatment could require renovations like drywall or sub-flooring replacement. In this case, hire a reliable professional to remove the mold and treat the area properly.

 

The Inside Story

The bad news: Exposure to indoor mold can trigger serious allergic reactions and even infections

The good news: Taking precautions against this risk can help prevent health problems, limiting your exposure.

The potential for indoor exposure to mold has increased in recent years because of the way we live. To conserve energy, buildings are being built more tightly — and the tighter the structure, the greater the exposure to indoor mold. Using synthetic building materials literally seals buildings and reduces air movement, creating a higher moisture content that nurtures mold growth.

Poorly designed or maintained heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems contribute to indoor mold exposure; Air filters and air filtration devices provide a comfortable habitat for mold, especially in high humidity conditions. HVAC systems can re-circulate air that contains mold spores and toxins if there are no effective filter systems to trap them. Failure to maintain and clean systems lead to unchecked mold growth and circulation indoors. Humidity worsens the problem; mold thrives in humid conditions.

Human factors contribute to mold exposure, including the fact that we spend so much time indoors, and many of us have compromised immune systems from diseases and medications. What’s more, new and harmful mold organisms are circulating constantly.

Although there’s no practical way to eliminate all indoor molds and mold spores, to stop indoor mold growth and reduce the presence of mold, we’d recommend taking these steps:

  1. Clean small-scale molds ASAP, using a 10% solution of chlorine bleach; always wear the proper Personal Protection Equipment (which includes gloves, eye protection, and a mask to protect against airborne spores) and dry surfaces completely after cleaning.
  2. Fix leaks quickly; moisture from leaks provides an ideal environment for mold growth.
  3. Seal surfaces with a substance such as paint to which fungicide has been added.

Large-scale mold problems require the use of professional cleaning services that employ such treatments as oxidizers, fungicides, bactericides, and shielding compounds, which seal the antimicrobial agents within the treated surface.

 

PROTECTING A HOME FROM MOLD

It’s important to have a plan and routine in order to protect a home from mold. This involves constantly looking for watermarks on ceilings or walls, signs of mold growth, and musty smells. If mold is caught early enough, it can be removed with a simple cleaning solution of bleach and water.

However, preventing mold from growing again requires that the source of moisture be eliminated. The area where the mold started growing must also be dried properly. In some cases, the surface or area might simply need to be replaced. After cleaning the mold and attacking the source, be sure to place all rags, clothing, materials, paper, and other debris affected in a plastic bag to be thrown in the garbage.

Mold is similar to insect infestations and rots in the respect that it is usually not covered under a Homeowners insurance policy. Standard policies afford coverage for sudden or accidental disasters. However, they don’t offer coverage for cleaning or maintaining a home. If the mold is a direct result of a burst pipe or other covered peril, the insurance company may cover the cost to eliminate the mold.

Since mold is also dangerous, it’s important to tackle the problem immediately if it arises. Mold can cause family members in the home to become sick. Symptoms are usually similar to allergic reactions or hay fever. The best way to avoid all of these problems is to take steps to prevent mold. The following steps can be taken to prevent mold from growing.

 

Reduce Humidity Level.

It’s best to keep the humidity level between 30% and 60% by utilizing dehumidifiers and air conditioners. Be sure to place exhaust fans in all bathrooms and kitchens. If carpet is desired, avoid installing it in bathrooms or kitchens. It’s best to have carpet only in rooms that aren’t exposed to moisture on a regular basis. Another important thing to remember is to avoid letting water pool and collect under house plants.

 

Check & Replace Hoses.

Be sure to regularly inspect pipes, fittings, and hoses. It’s best to replace hoses to appliances that use water every five years. At about $5 or $10 per piece, the cost of replacing hoses is much less expensive than dealing with a major mold problem.

 

Use Mold-Reducing Products.

Clean all bathrooms in the home with bleach and water regularly. There are also several other cleaning products available that are designed to kill mold. It’s a good idea to add mold inhibitors to paint before applying it to the walls or doors.

 

Exercise Caution after Water Damage.

If at any time a large amount of water comes into contact with the home’s interior, it’s important to ensure that carpets, upholstery, and any other surfaces that hold water are dried thoroughly and promptly. Everything should completely dry within 24 to 48 hours following the initial water contact. Items that can’t be dried should be discarded. If there is standing water, remove it promptly. In addition to promoting mold growth, standing water is a prime breeding ground for microorganisms. After all, areas have been dried, wash and disinfect well. This includes the surfaces of appliances, closets, walls, shelves, floors, heating systems, and cooling systems.

 

Check the Roof & Gutters.

Another way to prevent mold is to check the roof and gutters frequently. Clear the gutters of any debris. If there are any leaks in the roof, have them repaired immediately to avoid water seeping into the home.

Although mold is problematic, it can be prevented with proper care.

 

News You Can Use – April 2021

102 0 15 Apr 2021

Happy Easter

The Easter season is masked with several legends and folklore about the lily and its religious significance. Easter Lily is the traditional flower of Easter and is highly regarded as a joyful symbol of elegance, beauty, spirituality, hope, and life.

In Christendom, the lily has come to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus because of its delicacy of form and its snow-white color.  But have you ever wondered about the history and significance of this symbolic Easter flower, which adds elegance, grace, and fragrance to millions of homes and churches during the springtime?

This rests clearly on a legend that the blood of Jesus, as it fell from the cross, was by a miracle transformed into flowers that filled heaven and earth. The popular Easter lily we use today to celebrate the holiday is referred to as ‘the white-robed apostles of hope.

These beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers were brought to the United States in 1875 from Japan by an American tourist. The flower retells the resurrection story with its life cycle. These snow-white flowers symbolize new life and hope.


Non-Candy Easter Basket Ideas

Toddlers – Sensory Balls, Board Books, Bubbles, Bath Toys, Finger Paint, Plush Toys

Ages 3-5 – Playdough, Magnifying glass, Hair Bows, Book, Sidewalk Chalk, Crayons

Ages 5-7 – Toy Figures, Slime, Dolls, Craft Kits, Microscope, Sports Equipment

Ages 7-10 – Mad Libs, Art Sets, Books, Craft Kits, Legos, Chapstick

Preteen – Poster, Lip Gloss, Hat, Stress Ball, Fun Pens, Sports Bottles

Teen – Blanket, Gift Card, Cool Room Light, Movie Tickets


Fruity Play Dough

2 ¼ cup flour

1 cup salt

2 T. unsweetened powdered drink mix

4 T. cooking oil

1 cup water

Mix ingredients until well blended.  Store in an air-tight container.



 


Do You Need A Personal Umbrella Policy?

 

Did you know personal umbrella policies cover a whole lot of odds and ends like libel, slander, false arrests, and Barbie?  Popular motorized Barbie Jeeps present an insurance challenge.  Let’s walk through a possible situation where you would need umbrella insurance. These motorized toys may be covered if you run over someone on your own property, but if you take that toy to the park where your child hits someone or something, you’re out of luck! If your go-cart crosses over to your neighbor’s yard and damages their fence, you need an umbrella policy.

The reason is that these toys qualify as motorized recreational vehicles which fall under exclusions in most homeowners’ policies. Other motorized vehicles like ATVs and golf carts require additional coverage.  Remember, we do not know when you purchase an ATV or golf cart.  We can only provide you with the correct coverage when you inform us.

It may seem unlikely that this could ever happen to you, but cases like this can and do happen all the time.  Umbrella insurance is a necessity for people with homes and property to protect.  You don’t want to hand over things you’ve worked so hard to get.  If you have an umbrella policy, you won’t have to do that.  To find out more about why you need a personal umbrella policy, read Mike’s blog at  www.thesouthcottagency.com or call the office at (585) 589-6236.


It’s chore time! Stepping back into the garden after a long, harsh winter can be overwhelming, but it is also a time of relief. Even with a winter chill still in the air, there are plenty of tasks to start handling.

I am a big believer that gardening should add joy -not stress- to your life. Here are some tasks to get you reacquainted with your outdoor space. Can be tackled bit by bit as you have time (or delegated to members of your household who need an outdoor activity). Spring is a fabulous time to assess damage from the winter, fill in holes in the landscape, tend to your lawn, perform essential pruning, clean flower beds, plant from bare-root or container-grown plants, feed everything, begin composting, be kind to the birds, add a layer of much, and tune up your watering system.

Sounds like a lot, but if you move through this list and check things off one-by-one, your garden will be your favorite place to put your feet up and relax. few words to the wise – walking on or digging in soil when it is still too frozen and wet may compact it, and plant roots need light-permeable soil to live their best lives. So, if the ground is still too hard or fully saturated with water, be patient.



Make Use of the Talents you Have!

A water bearer in India had two large pots hung on each end of a pole that he carried across his neck to the stream every day for water. One of the pots had a crack in it. The other pot always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream, but the cracked pot always leaked, arriving at the house only half full. Ashamed of its imperfection, the pot with the crack spoke to the water bearer one day. “I want to apologize to you.” “Why?” asked the bearer. “I can deliver only half my load because of this crack in my side. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.” The water bearer said, “As we return from the stream today, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.” After leaving the stream that day, the pot with the crack took notice of the beautiful wildflowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still had leaked out half its load, and once again felt itself a failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day as we walk back from the stream, you water them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my table. Without you being just the way you are, I would not have this beauty to grace my house.” The lesson: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We’re all pots with cracks. But when we learn how to accept who we are and harness the talents we already possess, nothing goes to waste.


 


 

Reduce Mold and Protect Your Health This Spring

Mold growth in your building can cause health concerns and compromise your building’s integrity. Because mold grows quickly in damp conditions and thrives on wood, insulation, carpet, paper, and other organic surfaces where moisture and oxygen are present, it’s especially during the spring season. Prevent health concerns like asthma, respiratory infections, breathing difficulties, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and skin irritations when you reduce mold in several ways.

Inspect your Building for Mold Growth

Mold thrives in damp, dark, and humid areas, including basements, crawl spaces, bathrooms, carpeted areas, and storage spaces. Look for visible mold growth that may be green, black, or brown, and note any spotty or fuzzy stains, another sign of mold.

Repair Leaks

Repair pipes, wall cracks, or unsealed windows so that the area remains dry and mold-free.

Install Dehumidifiers

Damp areas and condensation could cause mold to grow, so install dehumidifiers where necessary. These appliances reduce moisture and keep the area dry and free of dangerous mold.

Clean the HVAC System

Treat Mold Properly

Small areas of mold growth can be cleaned and treated with bleach or another mold cleanser. Remember to wear a respirator and protective clothing as you perform this task to protect yourself from an allergic reaction.

If your building requires more extensive remediation methods, hire a professional to access the mold, determine the extent of the damage creates a removal plan. Depending on the growth, treatment could require renovations like drywall or sub-flooring replacement. In this case, hire a reliable professional to remove the mold and treat the area properly.

File an Insurance Claim

Mold removal is an added coverage on your property insurance policy.  If you are interested in adding this coverage to your policy before an incident, call the office today.  You can find more information about mold hazards and prevention at our website www.thesouthcottagency.com in our blog section.


3 Chances,3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

Chance #1 … Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card and…

 

Chance #2……Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize     In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new tablet!

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

Just Keep Talking Referral Program

The Easter Bunny will love these Eggs and so will you!

or call the office at (585)589-6236.


       

April Calendar Notes

 

April 1   is April Fools’ Day & Holy Thursday

April 2   is Good Friday & Autism Awareness Day

& National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

April 4   is Easter

April 5   is Gold Star Spouses Day

April 10 is National Sibling Day

April 15 is Tax Day

April 19 is Patriots’ Day

April 22 is Earth Day

April 29 is International Dance Day

April 30 is Honesty Day

Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO)

66 0 15 Mar 2021

In the 2019 Farm Bill a new crop insurance coverage option was developed and implemented. This coverage option is now available for the first time, starting with the 2021 crop insurance year.

This new coverage is called “Enhanced Coverage Option” or as we all know, Federal Crop Insurance loves to use acronyms, ECO.

This new coverage option allows us to measure our coverage from whatever level we have chosen on our underlying M.P.C.I policy (Multiple Peril Crop Insurance) up to 95%. Remember on our underlying M.P.C.I policy we can choose to insure our A.P.H (Actual Production History) anywhere from 50% to 85% in increments of 5%. E.C.O operates differently from what we are used to with our M.P.C.I, A.P.H base policy. M.P.C.I policy is based on our own individual farm and our own individual production/yields. E.C.O is referred to as an area-based coverage. For most of us in W.N.Y, the area is the county we farm in. Each individual county is an area. I have been told that in some states such as North and South Carolina an area could include 2,3 or 4 counties. So, the coverage is based on the county as a whole. The insurance responds to the county as a whole not based on the performance or experience of our own individual farm.

This E.C.O coverage option has 2 moving parts that will determine if we qualify for an indemnity payment. The 2 moving parts are, Expected County Yield vs. Actual Harvest Yield and Projected Price vs. Harvest Price.

Let’s look at the operation of this new coverage, what sets our insurance level of coverage and what events would trigger an indemnity payment.

Our level of coverage starts with expected county yield multiplied by projected price (for either corn or soybeans) multiplied by 95% E.C.O coverage level.

The Federal Government through the United States Agricultural Department, the Farm Service Agency, and Risk Management Agency determines each year what they expect each crop will produce for that year for each county.

The projected price is determined by the average trading days in February on a futures contract for corn and soybeans. A December futures contract is used for corn and a November futures contract is used for soybeans.

Let’s look at an example using corn as our crop and Orleans county for the crop year 2020 (Remember, E.C.O was not available in 2020, this is only an example).

Expected county yield 162 BU/A X 3.88 BU (average trading days in February 2020 on a December futures contract) x 95% E.C.O level of coverage = $597.00/A income coverage.

What determines if we receive an indemnity payment is when the actual harvest production for that county x the harvest price for corn is less than $597.00. The harvest price is the average trading days in November on that same December futures contract.

In any given year will not know the actual harvest yield/acre for a given county until all farms have reported that year’s product through the FSA office or to their crop insurance agent. That means the final calculation to determine if an indemnity will be paid won’t happen until late spring or early summer of the following year.

We can make a calculation to see how low our actual harvest production would have to be in Orleans County for 2020 to review an indemnity payment.

We take our level of coverage, $597.00/Acre, and divided it by the harvest price, those average trading in November. We know that the 2020 harvest price for corn came in at $3.99/bushel

$597.00/Acre ÷ $3.99/bushel = 149.6 bushel/acre. So, if the Orleans county actual harvested production for corn for 2020 comes in lower than 149.6 bushels/Acre an indemnity payment would be paid under the enhanced coverage option.

Let’s backtest this coverage concept by looking at a few past years and compare these two moving parts:

 

A.    Expected County Yield vs Actual harvested production

B.     Projected Price vs Harvest Price.

 

1.    2018 Corn in Orleans County:

 

Expected Yield        x     Projected Price

162 Bushel/Acre     x     $3.96/Bushel      =      $642.00

95% E.C.O coverage level

                                                   ____________________

Actual Harvest Yield   x   Harvest Price             $610.00 Income coverage

160 Bushel/Acre       x     $3.68/Bushel     =      $589.00 Actual Income

                                                                                   $21.00 / Acre Indemnity Payment

 

2.     2016 Corn in Orleans County

 

Expected Yield     x   Projected Price

162 Bushel/Acre  x   $3.86 / Bushel          =      $625.00

           95% ECO Coverage level

          _____________________

Actual Harvest Yield   x  Harvest Price             $594.00 Income Coverage

139 Bushel/Acre             $3.49/Bushel       =     $485.00 Actual Income

                                                                                   $109.00 /Acre Indemnity Payment

 

3.     2016 Corn in Niagara County

 

Expected Yield     x    Projected Price

153 Bushel/Acre  x    $3.86/bushel            =      $590.00

                                           95%  E.C.O Coverage Level

______________________

Actual Harvest Yield  x  Harvest Price                $561.00 Income Coverage

130 Bushel/Acre      x     $3.49/Bushel                $454.00 Actual Income

  $107.00 /Acre Indemnity Payment

 

4.     2016 Corn in Monroe County

 

Expected Yield     x    Projected Price

161.5 Bushel/Acre  x    $3.86/Bushel        =       $623.00

 95% E.C.O Coverage Level

______________________

Actual Harvest Yield   x    Harvest Price             $592.00 Income Coverage

118 Bushel/Acre         x     $3.49/Bushel             $412.00 Actual Income

           $180.00 /Acre Indemnity Payment

 

Now lets us look at how E.C.O works with our soybean crop. We are going to look at three different counties and three different years. You will notice that the formula and the math are always the same. The projected price starts with those same average trading days in February. However, it is on a November futures contract. That means the harvest price for soybeans is based on the average trading days in October.

 

5.    2020 Soybeans in Orleans County

Expected Yield   x   Projected Price

48 Bushel/Acre   x   $9.17/Bushel              =      $440.00

 95%    E.C.O Coverage Level

________________________

Harvest Yield    x    Harvest Price                        $419.00 / Acre Income Protection

?            x     $10.55/Bushel

 

Just like our 2020 Corn example, we do not yet know what the actual harvest yield will be for 2020 soybeans. We can make the same calculation to determine how low the actual harvest has to come in to have an indemnity payment paid.

$419.00/Acre income protection ÷ $10.55/Bushel (the average trading days in October on a November soybean contract) = 39.7 Bushel/Acre

 

6.     2018 Soybeans in Niagara County

 

Expected Yield   x    Projected Price

42 Bushel/Acre   x   $10.16/Bushel             =      $467.00

  95% E.C.O Coverage Level

_____________________

Harvest Yield      x     Harvest Price                      $405.00/Acre Income Protection

49 Bushel/Acre  x    $8.60/Bushel                       $421.00 Actual Income

No Indemnity Payment

 

7.     2016 Soybeans in Monroe County

 

Expected Yield     x   Projected Price

46 Bushel/Acre    x    $8.85/Bushel            =    $407.00

95%

__________________

Harvest Yield      x      Harvest Price                  $389.00/Acre Income Protection

41 Bushel/Acre          $9.75/Bushel                   $399.00 Actual Income

No Indemnity Payment

 

It is interesting to look at our last two examples, 2018 soybeans in Niagara County and 2016 soybeans in Monroe County, that no indemnity payment would have been made. However, for two different reasons. There would not have been an indemnity payment in 2018 soybeans in Niagara County because the actual harvest yield was higher than the original expected yield. Even though the harvest price fell by $1.56/Bushel the actual harvest was up by 7 Bushel/Acre. So, the actual harvest yield x Harvest price was higher than our income protection level. The opposite happened in 2016 with soybeans in Monroe County. The actual harvest yield was down from the original expected yield, at the same time the harvest price was up by .90¢/Bushel. So, the actual harvest yield x harvest price was higher than our income/Acre protection.

 

Looking at these two examples for these two different years for the same crop is a great example of the relationship between the two moving parts that are important to understanding the working elements of the enhanced coverage options.

 

1.      Expected yield for a crop/county vs Actual harvest production of that crop.

2.      Projected price for a crop vs harvest price of that same crop

 

Enhanced Coverage Option now allows us to build a risk management strategy for our farm to protect farm income. Realizing that our projected prices for corn and soybeans for2021 will be relatively high compared to the last 5 to 6 years. We need to carefully consider if this is the year to add E.C.O to our crop insurance program

If you would like our help in understanding E.C.O or in determining if this strategy is for your farm, call us at 585-589-6236.

 

News You Can Use – March 2021

87 0 01 Mar 2021

Formal messages, or valentines, appeared in the 1500s, and by the late 1700s, commercially printed cards were being used. The first commercial valentines in the United States were printed in the mid-1800s. Valentines commonly depict Cupid, the Roman god of love, along with hearts, traditionally the seat of emotion. Because it was thought that the avian mating season begins in mid-February, birds also became a symbol of the day. Traditional gifts include candy and flowers, particularly red roses, a symbol of beauty and love.

The day is popular in the United States as well as in Britain, Canada, and Australia, and it is also celebrated in other countries, including Argentina, France, Mexico, and South Korea. In the Philippines, it is the most common wedding anniversary, and mass weddings of hundreds of couples are not uncommon on that date. The holiday has expanded to expressions of affection among relatives and friends.

 


Valentine Humor

“What do you write in a slug’s Valentine’s Day card?”

“Be my Valen-slime!”

“What did the paper clip say to the magnet?”

“I find you very attractive.”

“What did the stamp say to the envelope on Valentine’s   Day?”

“I’m stuck on you!”

            “Why didn’t the skeleton want to send any Valentine’s     Day cards?”

“His heart wasn’t in it.”

“What do you call two birds in love?”

“Tweethearts!”

“How can you tell when a squirrel is in love?”

“It goes nuts!”

            “I once fell in love with someone who only knew 4 vowels.” 

“They didn’t know I existed.”

“How did the telephone propose to his girlfriend?”

“He gave her a ring!”

 


 

 


JUST KEEP TALKING

REFERRAL PROGRAM

 

Chance #1

Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card and…

 

Chance #2

Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize    

In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

As always, call the office if you have questions  at

(585) 589-6236

 


 


10 Tips on How to Get Your Car Unstuck

 

Don’t spin the wheels. When you are stuck and your tires are just spinning, stop. Unless you are on solid ground (concrete or asphalt), stomping the pedal and spinning the wheels is just going to make it worse.

Apply proper power. Use your throttle sparingly and in the right way. If too much power is overpowering the tires and snow, use the part throttle. You would be surprised how less power might just get you out.

Shift to low. Make sure your automatic transmission is shifted into the lowest gear.

Turn off the traction control. This one might seem counter-intuitive, but when you are stuck and need power to the wheels, any slipping will cut the power right when you need it. Push the traction control button to turn it off.

Rock it, baby. The classic “unstuck” move is called rocking. This is a maneuver that uses the engine to roll the vehicle forward, put it in reverse, roll it backward, and then shift to drive and roll forward. Doing this several times builds momentum for the vehicle, often getting it out of the rut it is stuck in. Once you are over the hump and rolling in one direction, power out of the mess until you are on solid ground.

Use traction devices. Rocks (quarter size and smaller), sand, even small branches, and sticks can give you the grip you need to get out. It is a good idea to carry a bucket or bag of sand, pebbles, kitty litter, etc. when you live in snow-prone areas.

Go straight ahead. Make sure your tires are pointed straight. There is considerably more stress on the tires when they are turned.

Let some air out. When you just can’t get the grip, try letting some air out of the tires. This makes a wider contact patch and can give you the necessary grip to get out. Just don’t forget to reinflate.

Life’s a snow garden, can ya dig it? Sometimes, you just have to get down and dig. Carrying a camp shovel will make this easier, but a stick, wood board, or even a plastic cup can get the snow and mud out of the way. The idea here is to dig a long ramp from the tire to the flat ground instead of a deep sudden rut that you likely find yourself in. Additionally, there may be a large mass of snow under the chassis, making it difficult to move. You need to try to remove as much of this as possible.

If you can’t get your car unstuck with these tips, call a tow truck for assistance. Make sure your tailpipe is clear of snow so that the exhaust fumes don’t back up into the cab of the vehicle. This is now the time to break out your winter emergency car kit, sit tight and wait for the cavalry. Stay safe!

 


How to Tell if You Need New Tires?

 

With this easy test, a penny can buy you peace of mind when it comes to your tires and safety.

Place a penny head first into several tread grooves across the tire. If you always see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are shallow and worn. If this is the case, your tires need to be replaced.

If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining. This means you probably don’t need new tires.

 


 

 

 


Cold Weather Running Tips

The key to running in the cold is the right gear. These cold weather running tips help you navigate your winter route safely and effectively.

FIRST, LIGHTEN UP

Boost your visibility factor with reflective running gear. Many running jackets, shoes, and tights come lined with reflective fabric, but for maximum safety, you can always sport a reflective running vest. Headlamps and wearable lights are another great way to maximize a dusk training session.

THEN, LAYER UP

Start with your base layers. Compression pieces offer minimal bulk for easy layering, but long-sleeve T-shirts and non-compression leggings can make for effective layering pieces too. Even though it’s cold you’re going to sweat. Running clothes with moisture-wicking technology is key to helping you stay dry and comfortable.

Discover even more tips on how to dress for winter running success.

Your personal level of comfort is key — and it may take a few tries to figure out what layers keep you feeling your best.

THINK ABOUT DETAILS

Running hats and headbands help maintain critical head warmth as you stride. Pair your headgear with a scarf or neck gaiter — keeping your neck and head warm during your run is critical. Running gloves and mittens are a simple way to customize your level of warmth — if you get too hot you can simply tuck them into your pockets. Plus, many of the latest winter gloves are touchscreen compatible, so you can still operate your phone or GPS watch. And don’t forget your running socks. High-cut socks can offer extra coverage from the cold. For extra thermal protection, try a wool pair.

FIND THE RIGHT SHOE

Some running shoes come with weatherized protection. Water-resistant uppers and closed-weave mesh both help keep moisture at bay, while specialized tread patterns are made to combat slippery winter surfaces.

 

 


Set Your Priorities!

 

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks – rocks about 2″ in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. So, the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. The students laughed. The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

Now, said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. “Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal. “Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

 

 


February is commonly associated with love because of Valentine’s Day.  This

celebration of romantic love originated from Saint Valentine celebrations and the feast of

Saint Valentine.

 

Other “love” related February holidays include:

Women’s Heart Health Week (1 – 7)

Dump Your Significant Jerk Week (always the week before Valentine’s)

National Marriage Week (7 – 14)

 

Top 5 Romantic Movies of All-Time

1. Notebook

2. Pretty Woman

3. Gone With The Wind

4. The Wedding Singer

5. Dirty Dancing

News You Can Use – January 2021

233 0 22 Jan 2021

 

 


 

JUST KEEP TALKING

REFERRAL PROGRAM

 

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

 

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

As always, call the office if you have questions  at

(585) 589-6236

 

 


Top questions to ask about snowmobile insurance

With the crisp winter air, it won’t be long before you’re able to take your snowmobile out on the trail, if you haven’t already. Before you do, you may want to ask your insurance agency some questions about snowmobile insurance coverage. The Southcott Agency Inc. has some suggestions to help you get started.

1. Is my optional equipment covered?

You’ll want to know if your windshields, new seats or running boards are covered under your current policy, if they aren’t included as standard by the manufacturer.  A good policy will give you a set amount of coverage for optional equipment included with your comprehensive coverage, with the ability to purchase more.

2. Is my safety apparel covered?

Helmets, gloves, boots and any other clothing designed to minimize injury are generally considered safety apparel.  Be sure to discuss what this coverage includes with your agent. Typically damage to safety apparel is covered, but theft is not. As is the case with most insurances, individual companies have optional coverages, exclusions and language specific to them. 

3. What kind of higher limits are available for Liability coverage?

Liability coverage is important in case you are found responsible for someone else’s injury while driving your snowmobile.  Considering attorney fees and other costs associated with litigation can increase quickly, having the option for higher limits is a plus.  Based on their financial situation, most people try to match their snowmobile liability limits to the liability limits they have on their automobile.  The amount of liability coverage is critical if you have a personal umbrella policy.  Personal Umbrella policies usually require matching liability limits on underlying vehicle policies.

4. What discounts are available?

Discounts will help you save money on the premium you pay for your policy.  You may qualify for a multi-policy discount if you insure more than just your snowmobile with the same company. Specifically, for snowmobiles, you may be able to get discounts for taking safety courses, belonging to a snowmobile club, or having multiple vehicles.

You can find more information about snowmobile insurance in Mike’s blog on our website: www.thesouthcottagency.com

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 


 


 

 


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

We Insure Snowmobiles

179 0 16 Dec 2020

Top questions to ask about snowmobile insurance

With the crisp winter air, it won’t be long before you’re able to take your snowmobile out on the trail, if you haven’t already. Before you do, you may want to ask your insurance agency some questions about snowmobile insurance coverage. The Southcott Agency Inc. has some suggestions to help you get started.

1. Is my optional equipment covered?

You’ll want to know if your windshields, new seats or running boards are covered under your current policy, if they aren’t included as standard by the manufacturer.  A good policy will give you a set amount of coverage for optional equipment included with your comprehensive coverage, with the ability to purchase more.

2. Is my safety apparel covered?

Helmets, gloves, boots and any other clothing designed to minimize injury are generally considered safety apparel.  Be sure to discuss what this coverage includes with your agent. Typically damage to safety apparel is covered, but theft is not. As is the case with most insurances, individual companies have optional coverages, exclusions and language specific to them.

3. What kind of higher limits are available for Liability coverage?

Liability coverage is important in case you are found responsible for someone else’s injury while driving your snowmobile.  Considering attorney fees and other costs associated with litigation can increase quickly, having the option for higher limits is a plus.  Based on their financial situation, most people try to match their snowmobile liability limits to the liability limits they have on their automobile.  The amount of liability coverage is critical if you have a personal umbrella policy.  Personal Umbrella policies usually require matching liability limits on underlying vehicle policies.

4. What discounts are available?

Discounts will help you save money on the premium you pay for your policy.  You may qualify for a multi-policy discount if you insure more than just your snowmobile with the same company. Specifically, for snowmobiles, you may be able to get discounts for taking safety courses, belonging to a snowmobile club, or having multiple vehicles.

5. What payment plans are available?

Whether you want to pay in full or in installments, having the flexibility to choose is a good option to have. Insurance companies offer many different plans such as one-pay, four-pay or ten-pay options.

 

At the Southcott Agency, we have several insurance Companies that cover snowmobiles. 

 

Gather the Information on this checklist before calling for a Quote
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • CC’s
  • Vin#
  • Special Equipment
  • Driver’s License #
  • Year’s of snowmobile driving experience

 

Note: Discount may be available if you have taken a safety course or belong to a snowmobile club.

 

Snowmobile stories: Staying safe in the snow

There’s something uniquely exhilarating about snowmobiling. The excitement of speeding through snowy landscapes makes the freezing cold winter weather barely noticeable. All that matters is the powerful machine that roars beneath you and the wildly fierce rush of adrenaline within you.

When I was a kid, I craved this experience. A friend of mine had a small youth snowmobile, but at the time it seemed like a monster of a machine. We would take turns going on joy rides, exploring nearby trails and doing loops around his house. Eventually he would grow tired of riding and head in to warm up and watch movies, but I would refuse to quit. I felt as if I had found the source of ultimate thrills, so I would often continue to ride until it was time to go home.

One day in the beginning of winter I went to my friend’s house, eager to go on the first snowmobile ride of the year. It had been a while since I had last ridden there so I couldn’t quite remember all of the ins and outs of the riding area, but that didn’t stop me. When it was my turn to ride, I jumped onto the snowmobile and darted into the night. I was having a blast, but it didn’t last long.

On my way to the first trail, I completely forgot to avoid a seven-foot drop-off that would have been easier to notice were it not for the deep snow. I barreled over the ledge and for a brief moment I was airborne before crashing into the snowbank below. Thankfully, I wasn’t injured. I got up and looked around to ensure my friend hadn’t seen my embarrassing crash. I sighed with relief when I realized he hadn’t and I vowed to myself to never make the same mistake again.

This experience taught me the importance of snowmobile safety. To help make sure you don’t make the same mistakes I did, here are five ways you can stay safe and warm during your snowmobiling adventures:

1 – Be familiar with the area.

Before riding, take some time to learn about your location. Identify potential hazards like frozen lakes, fallen trees, rocks, and other objects hidden beneath the snow.

2 – Maximize visibility.

Heavy snowfall can greatly decrease visibility, especially at night. Wear glasses or goggles and make sure that your headlights are functioning. Remember that the headlights of other riders can be blinding, so always drive cautiously at night.

3 – Dress to stay warm and dry.

A helmet, mask, jacket, gloves, boots and tall socks are necessary for spending hours outside. Be strategic and find gear that is water and wind proof, and avoid cotton and other clothing materials that retain moisture.

4 – Carry a repair kit and other gear.

Be prepared for the unexpected with a kit that contains spark plugs, tow rope and other tools. A cell phone and first aid kit are also essential, and a flashlight, map, and extra pairs of socks and gloves may come in handy.

5 – Go out with other riders.

Don’t be a lone wolf. You’re always safer sharing the experience with other experienced riders. Before heading out, it’s always important to let friends or family know where you are going, how long you expect to be out, and anything else you’re planning.

Don’t let carelessness and unpreparedness ruin your fun this winter. Putting these tips into practice will help you to be prepared, prevent accidents, and make the most of your snowmobiling experience!

 

Ready, set, snowmobile trip time!

Add a little snow and an awesome machine and you have the wonderful world of snowmobiling. Snowmobiling is a popular pastime.  Most weekends you see snowmobiles on trailers riding down the freeway or snowmobiles on snowy paths on the way to a weekend or week-long trip. Whether you are going for the day, or making a vacation out of it, preparation is essential. Anytime you venture out into the cold, some risks are involved. Severe weather, unexpected hazards, injuries, or simply losing the trail … these things can happen quickly and it’s best to be prepared. So, what do you need for a successful and fun snowmobile trip?

Anytime you venture out into the cold, some risks are involved. Severe weather, unexpected hazards, injuries, or simply losing the trail…

  • Map and compass
  • General first-aid kit
  • GPS and cellphone
  • Survival kit
  • Signal flares
  • Waterproof matches
  • Hand axe
  • Flashlight
  • Tarpaulin
  • High-energy snacks such as candy bars
  • Food and water for emergencies including enough for one extra day for each day of your trip
  • Most importantly – Before You Leave … Tell someone where you plan to travel and when you will be back.

News You Can Use – December 2020

364 0 01 Dec 2020

JUST KEEP TALKING

REFERRAL PROGRAM

 

♦♦♦ WIN A NEW iPAD ♦♦♦

 

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

 

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

As always, call the office if you have questions  at

(585) 589-6236

 


○○○ Christmas Humor ○○○

 

God’s Not Deaf


Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents’ house the week before Christmas.

At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers. The younger one began praying at the top of his lungs:      

 

“I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE…”
“I PRAY FOR A NEW NINTENDO…”

 

His older brother leaned over, nudged him and said, “Why are you shouting? God isn’t deaf.” to which the little brother replied, “No, but Grandma is!”

 

Cryptic Christmas Card

A man sent his friend a cryptic Christmas card.

It said: A B C D E F G H I J K M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z.

The recipient puzzled over it for weeks, finally gave up and wrote asking for an explanation.

In July he received the explanation on a postcard: “No L.”

 

True story

The nativity play was going as planned and Joseph and Mary were going from house to house knocking on the doors and asking if there was any room for them.

As they continued to get “no room” answers, a little voice called from the back “YOU SHOULD HAVE BOOKED AHEAD!” bringing the house down.

 


Important Crop Insurance Dates and Deadlines

December 10, 2020 – end of insurance period for corn and soybeans. You have 15 days from the end of the insurance period to file a claim due to low production.  You have 25 days from the end of the insurance period to file a claim due to loss of income if you have revenue protection coverage.  Call the office if you need to know your trigger yield to qualify for a claim.

January 15, 2021 – production report for 2020 apple, peach, cherry, and grape production and acreage report for 2021 pears, apple, peach, cherry, and grape production.  Make updates to acreage and any acreage cut down and any newly planted acreage.

We can take this report before year end when you have your information ready or if you are vacationing in January.  Please call for an appointment at 585 589-6236.

 


Baked BLT Dip

 

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound crispy cooked & crumbled bacon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 8 0unces softened cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup chopped, seeded tomato
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion

 

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients.
  • Place in greased shallow pan and bake at 425 degrees F for 25—30 minutes.

 


Artichoke & Crab Dip

 

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces chopped crabmeat or imitation crab
  • 2 cans drained & chopped artichoke hearts
  • 2 ½ cups mayo
  • 2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs               
  • 1 t. minced garlic or garlic salt
  • Salt & Pepper

 

Instructions

  • Mix ingredients thoroughly.
  • Bake at 325 degrees F in a greased shallow baking dish for 25 to 30 min. 

 


Spicy Corn Dip

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cans sweet corn drained
  • 1 8-ounce Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup mayo
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 t. minced garlic or garlic salt
  • ½ cup sliced black olives drained

 

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients.
  • Place in greased shallow pan and bake at 425 degrees F for 25—30 minutes.

 

 

13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY  14411
Phone 585 589-6236
information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com

13 Things Your Dog Can Teach You

 

1

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

 

2

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

 

3

Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.

 

4

Take naps and stretch before rising.

 

5

Run, romp, and play daily.

 

6

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

 

7

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

 

8

No matter how often you’re scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout – run right back out and make friends.

 

9

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

 

10

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

 

11

Be loyal.

 

12

Never pretend to be something you are not.

 

13

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

 


 

Our  $50.00 gift card winner for November is

– Oded Kalir –

Thank you for your Referral!

 

 

 


Water Exclusions!

 

Most homeowner’s, farmowner’s, and property insurance policies have water exclusion language similar to the following:

 

WATER –

We do not pay for loss caused by flood, surface water, waves, tidal waves, tsunamis, tides, tidal water, and overflow of any body of water or spray from above.

 

We do not pay for loss caused by water that backs up through sewers, drains, overflows, or discharges from sump pumps of related equipment.

 

We do not pay for loss caused by water below the surface of the ground.  This includes but is not limited to water that exerts pressure, seeps, leaks, or flows through a building, sidewalk, driveway, patio, foundation, swimming pool, or other structure.

 

We are always dealing with large amounts of surface water that can damage your property.  Electrical outages can effect your sump pumps causing water to fill your basement.  Be prepared to protect your property from hazards. (***This is only an example of policy language.  Please refer to your own policy for complete water exclusions.)

 


Holiday Lighting Safety Tips

 

  • Check your light sets for cracked insulation, frayed wires or damaged sockets. Any of these could cause short circuits.

 

  • Don’t overload your string sets. Check the instructions on the package to find out how many light sets can be connected to each other.

 

  • Avoid overloading circuits. Most home circuits can take 15 amps, or 1,800 watts.

 

  • Cover each outdoor plug and connector joint with plastic wrap to protect it from rain; seal it with electrical tape.

 

  • If you use staples instead of tape to secure lights, be sure that they’re insulated staples.

 

  • Make sure decorations pose no danger to children or pets. Don’t leave cords dangling or strung loosely on the floor or stairs.

 


Should You Worry About Christmas Tree Bugs?

 

Don’t panic! The types of bugs inhabiting your jolly Christmas tree are mostly harmless and won’t destroy your home.

 

Most Christmas tree insects don’t live off the tree, only in it. Your home’s environment isn’t suitable to them so they will dry out and die before ever venturing out.

 

Most Christmas trees aren’t brimming with bugs. Occasionally, you’ll hear a Christmas horror story about praying mantis eggs that hatched inside orthousands of tiny black aphids invading a home.

 

Most Christmas tree farms take precautions on making sure their trees have a minimal number of pests. Some spray pesticides on the trees, put them through a mechanical shaker and then spray the trees down to get rid of any bugs that might have been living on it.

 

What Bugs Live in a Real Christmas Tree?

Thetypes of bugs living in your Christmas treediffer depending on the type of tree and location. The major insects include: adelgids, aphids, bark beetles, mites, praying mantises, scale insects, spiders, moths, sawflies, weevils, bark lice and webworms.

 

How to Get Rid of Insects on Your Christmas Tree?

The best way to avoid Christmas tree critters from ruining your holiday is to take these preventative actions.  Inspect the tree branches and trunk for any signs of eggs or bugs. Give the tree a good shake before bringing inside. 

 

Let the tree sit in your garage for at least 24 hours before decorating. This will allow you to see if there are any other bugs venturing out from the tree and to help the tree settle. During this time, spray with neem oil or powder with diatomaceous earthto kill Christmas tree bugs in any stages from eggs to adults.  Living Christmas trees are important to holiday traditions. Don’t let a few bugs scare you into not enjoying a freshly-cut evergreen.

 


What  is “Roadside Assistance” on your personal auto policy?

 

As winter approaches, we handle more and more personal auto problems like deer hits, accidents and breakdowns for our clients.  Individual insurance companies offer a range of helpful options at a cost to the policy holder. When the policy lists “Towing” as a purchased option, most companies cover a dollar amount reimbursed to the towing company for taking your vehicle to a garage or your home. 

 

For example: your towing expense with one of our companies can be reimbursed up to $100.00 for a charge of $18.00/yr.

 

They provide this coverage for a roadside breakdown or an accident.  Others only have towing coverage if needed after a claim.

 

Some of our companies offer a more complete service listed as “Roadside Assistance” that may also cover flat tires, running out of fuel, battery jump, and door unlocking. 

 

This particular option on your auto policy varies greatly amongst companies.  If you have questions about your coverage please call the office at (585)589-6236.

 


5 Christmas Fun Facts

 

1 – Holiday retailers use music to attract potential shoppers

 

2 – The busiest shopping day of the year is not Black Friday, but the Saturday before Christmas.

 

3 – Researchers have proven that a “50% off” sign leads to increased sales, even if the shoppers don’t know the original price.

 

4 – All the items in the classic holiday carol, “The 12 Days of Christmas,” would have cost $170,298.03 in 2019. Surprisingly, the swans were the most expensive!

 

5 – In National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation”, Clark Griswald’s disappointing Jelly of the Month Club Christmas Bonus is worth about $177.00 today.

 


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

Save Money on your Homeowners Insurance!

277 0 15 Nov 2020

I want to let you in on the knowledge I have accumulated as an insurance professional because I have found time and again my willingness to provide an honest assessment of your needs has been critical in building my business.  You can undoubtedly find cheap insurance on-line!  But, I won’t avoid the facts. There really is more to homeowner’s insurance than saving money.

Can you imagine losing part of your roof in a wind storm and receiving a claim check that is a fraction of the cost to repair the damage.  Our office believes in explaining the different ways to value your home and give you the ability to make an informed decision about the value of your property.  If you own a substantial property, (acreage, barns, and equipment) the need to have the right coverage becomes even more important.  It is a fact that our office specializes in coverage for farms, however, all farms include a home and out buildings so the same principles apply.

A good starting point and foundation for building an insurance program for our farms and families is to understand our homeowner and farmowner policies. Generally, the farmowners policy has four parts, or four sections of coverage protection.

  • A section for our homes, personal property, and other dwellings.
  • A section for farm barns and other structures.
  • A section for our farm personal property, machinery and equipment, supplies and other inventory.
  • A section for our liability protection both personal as well as for our farms.

 

We are going to look at the first three property coverage sections of our insurance policy for what is covered and what is not covered. The last section of our  policy is the liability section. We will discuss liability protection now, but will address it in another blog dealing with umbrella coverage.

Before we examine each individual property section let us look at two insurance topics common to all three sections, perils and valuation.

 

A. Perils are the causes of loss or the things that could cause physical damage to our property. Generally, there are three groups of perils or causes of loss that you can choose for insurance coverage.

 

BASIC

BROAD

SPECIAL

fire All basic perils plus Includes all risk of physical damage to covered eligible property
lightning Falling objects Unless specifically excluded by policy language
windstorm Weight of ice, sleet and snow Or certain exceptions
hail Accidental discharge, liquids, steam from plumbing
explosion Sudden and accidental damage from electrical current
riot or civil commotion Sudden and accidental tearing apart & bulging
Aircraft damage Freezing of plumbing
Damage from vehicles collapse
smoke
Sink hole collapse
Volcanic action
vandalism
theft

 

Yes, not everything in life is covered by insurance. All insurance policies are going to have exclusions and exceptions. Make sure you read your policy for a full understanding. Here are a few common exclusions and exceptions, but by no means a complete list.

 

  • Civil Authority – If a government agency comes along and says “hey, you have to move that barn, we are going to build a new highway.” not an insurance claim.

 

  • Earth movement – earthquakes, landslides are not covered. Also, shifting of Earth around your basement that causes the basement wall to crack not covered.

 

  • Intentional acts or neglect, wear & tear -you just cannot neglect your property and expect long-term damage and deterioration to be covered by insurance.

 

  • Ordinance or law – we do not cover or pay for loss or the increased cost which results from the enforcement of the code, ordinance or law.

 

  • Water damage – this includes water from flood, surface water, waves, water backed up from drains, sewers, sump, and water below the ground surface.

 

 

B. Valuation: It is what insurance companies pay for the claim or loss to certain covered property. Here are four value definitions commonly used and found in policies.

 

Replacement cost:

This pays the actual amount to replace or repair the damaged property at the time of loss with materials of like kind and quality without a deduction for depreciation.

Most insurance companies use a formula taking into account the age of a home or building, types of materials used in construction, quality of materials used in construction, the area you live in based on ZIP Code, as well as any other special or unique features. They will determine a replacement cost per square foot and then multiply it by the total size of the home or building and that will equal the home or buildings full replacement cost.

Example: after an examination of the home or building and completion of a replacement cost estimator it is determined that the per square foot replacement cost equals $150. The home that we are looking at is a 1800 sq.ft. one and a half story split-level home.

$150 / sq.ft.  replacement cost X 1800 sq.ft. = $270,000 replacement cost.

To have replacement cost coverage on this home in your insurance policy will require you to ensure a percentage of this final calculation. The insurance company requirement could be 80%, 90% or a full hundred percent of this final calculation. The best way to know what your replacement cost value on your home is, is to have a qualified building contractor calculate the exact cost to replace your home or a farm building in the event of a total loss due to damage by fire.

 

Actual Cash Value:

This pays the cost to replace or repair the covered property with a calculation to reflect depreciation.

Let us use the same home from our previous example. We have our home’s replacement cost estimated at $270,000. We choose to ensure it at an actual Cash value for $140,000. We then experience a windstorm that damages a good portion of the roof. We get an estimate from a contractor to fix the roof and the estimate is for $40,000. The roof is 12 years old. The insurance company uses a 3% per year depreciation factor. The calculation would look like this:

$ 40,000 estimate for repair to roof damaged by wind

-$14,400 depreciation factor, 3% per year X 12 years old

$ 25,600 actual cash value settlement of claim before policy deductible.    

 

Functional Replacement Cost:

This is special policy language most commonly used in the section for farm barns and other structures.

It allows us to insure a barn and have coverage when we do not want to have 100% of the true replacement cost but actual cash value with depreciation is not enough.

Think of an older post and beam barn that is still in good shape and still in use for storage of equipment or supplies or even horses or livestock. The true replacement cost value on a barn of post and beam construction is so is so high no one would insure it for that value. Now it is in good shape and we want to replace it without a large deduction for depreciation due to its age. We can take the needed square footage x the replacement cost of a more modern pole barn = functional replacement cost.

 

Utility value:

Again this might be used on older barns and structures. It is used when the actual cash value of the barn with depreciation is higher than the value of the barn’s use.

When using utility value we are most concerned with getting something from our insurance coverage for a total loss. On a partial loss, as in our wind damaged roof example we would receive little compared to its repair cost. Also, utility value insurance rates will be higher than actual cash value insurance rates. A good comparison of coverage value versus premium cost between utility value and actual cash value will help us make the right decision.

News You Can Use – November 2020

353 0 01 Nov 2020

After Thanksgiving Turkey Soup

 

  • Left-over cooked turkey carcass
  • 5 quarts water
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1 c. minced onion
  • 2 T. minced garlic
  • 7 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t. thyme
  • 2 c. chopped carrots
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. chopped parsley
  • 1 c. fresh, frozen or canned peas (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 c. (8 ounces) fine egg noodles

 

 

13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY  14411
Phone 585 589-6236
information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com

 


Just Keep Talking

Referral Program

 

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

 

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

As always, call the office if you have questions  at

(585) 589-6236

 


Here are some excellent tips from our Claims Team for Harvest Time:

With harvest quickly approaching, I’d like to offer some friendly reminders. These reminders will assist us in processing any harvest claims efficiently and effectively and help reduce any possible issues.

Carryover grain MUST be measured by us or a USDA representative PRIOR to the start of this year’s harvest. RMA procedures do not allow for exceptions to this rule! Carryover production that has not been measured will be counted toward the current year’s production. If a measurement is needed, please submit a bin inspection.

Grain must be sold as insured.

Please provide us with your current phone numbers for easy contact

Provide notes on the NOL when submitting a claim detailing the info regarding the loss

Please track production on a unit basis

Claims for production losses should be submitted within 15 days of the EOIP (harvest complete) and revenue losses should be submitted within 45 days of the price release.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me at any time! Thank you for your continued partnership with The Southcott Agency Inc.

Wheat and forage acreage reports are due by November 15th

Final wheat plant date is October 10th. 15-day late plant period is October 25th. Prevented planting claim for wheat must be filed 72 hours after final day of planting, then actual acreage of prevented planted acres must be declared on acreage report.

 

2020 crop insurance premiums have been billed.  The first of every month, interest is added.

***Interest on all crops postponed until December 1st due to the impact of Covid 19.

  • Apples grapes, peaches, and cherries premium due by November 20th.
  • Wheat premium due November 30th.
  • Onion premium is due February 1st.
  • All other crops are due March 15th.
  • !!! If you pay the premium after the termination date, you are ineligible to insure your crop in the next year!!!

 

When filing a claim…

File the claim as soon as you think you have damage.  The policy says to file within 72 hours of noticed damage.

Some crops require you to leave strips in the field for adjuster to inspect.

The latest you can file a claim is 60 days after the end of the insurance period (for corn and soybeans it is December 10th). 

The end of the insurance is also the last day of the harvest.

Revenue policies, when there is no production loss, have 45 days after the harvest price is released to make a claim.  The soybean price is released November 5th and the corn price is released by December 5th.

 

Sales Closing for apples, grapes, peaches, and cherries is November 20th

Make sure the correct entity information, insured crops, insured counties, options, unit structure, and insurance level are all selected correctly.  2020 Production  Report & 2021 Acreage Report are due by January 15, 2021.

 

As always, do not hesitate to call  (585 589-6236) if you have any questions.

 


November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, bringing attention to the dementia disease and its prevalence amongst the U.S. population

Tips for fighting Alzheimer’s Disease: Exercise, nutrition and mental stimulation are part of a healthy lifestyle and a possible way of managing this devastating disease.

 

Stay Active: Go for a walk, Take a dance class, Go swimming

 Enjoy a Healthy Diet: Fresh fruits, Green leafy vegetables, Whole grains, Fish, nuts, seeds, and oils high in omega 3 fatty acids

Exercise your mind: Read newspapers and books, work on puzzles, learn a new hobby

 

Brightfocus.org/stopAD

November 2020

 


November is full of special days to celebrate!

 

November 11: Veteran’s Day

On Veterans Day, Americans honor the country’s brave military service members. Take some time to teach children about the importance of the day and thank veterans for their service. Also, consider donating to one of the many charitable organizations that serve veterans.

 

 

November 26: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, food, and giving thanks. Whether the star of the dinner table is the, the, the,the, today’s a day to treat yourself while recognizing the good things in life.

 

Amazing Facts About the Turkey

The modern domesticated turkey descends from the wild turkey.

Turkeys are known to exhibit over 20 distinct vocalizations including a distinctive gobble, produced by males, which can be heard a mile away.

Individual turkeys have unique voices. This is how turkeys recognize each other.

Wild turkeys are able to fly at up to 55 mph, however only for relatively short distances. Most domestic turkeys however are unable to fly due to being selectively bred to be larger than they would be in wild circumstances.

The area of bare skin on a turkey’s throat and head vary in color depending onlevel of excitement and stress. When excited, a male turkey’s head turns blue, when ready to fight, it turns red.

The long fleshy object over a male’s beak is called a snood.

Turkeys have 5000 to 6000 feathers.

 

 

November 3: Sandwich Day

 

Is the sandwich a perfect food?  Mike thinks his daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich makes his lunch perfect!  Sarah would say a Rueben with coleslaw (not sauerkraut) is a winner.  Heather’s favorite is capicola with provolone and onion and I enjoy an egg salad and lettuce on white bread. Sandwich Day is the perfect day to have your favorite!

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 15: National Clean Out Your Fridge Day

To free up some space for Thanksgiving cooking, use this day as a reason to clean out your fridge.

 

 

November 23: Fibonacci Day


Leonardo Fibonacci was a famous mathematician, and this day is celebrated as Fibonacci Day. When the November date is written in the month/day format (11/23), it forms a Fibonacci sequence: 1, 1, 2, 3. This famous sequence is a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two numbers before it. Impress someone with this information, and try to count as far into the sequence as you can doing mental math.

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 28: Small Business Saturday

(Saturday after Thanksgiving)

 

 

 

After the Black Friday crowds at big box stores die down, it’s time for small businesses to shine on Small Business Saturday. Head out to support your neighborhood shops today. Besides retail stores, don’t forget about locally owned restaurants and other businesses, too.

 

 

 

   


Go Back…

 

We know long, slow, cooking tenderizes lean, tough cuts of meat and makes for wonderful soups with that long-cooked goodness.  Go back to your mother’s old recipe file.  Many older, and authentic recipes which have been handed down from generation to generation were born of the necessity to conserve tight financial resources in tough times. A good number of recipes from the Great Depression still survive as family favorites today.

Numerous dishes with ethnic roots make frugal use of meats, substituting and supplementing quality proteins such as eggs, grains and beans in order to stretch the meat budget. These long-time favorite recipes are big on flavor and easy on the pocketbook and thus have remained popular with cooks and their families over the years.

Then came the era of canned soup. When canned soup was introduced to the market, it was a novel and economical way to put food on the table in record time. At only 10 cents a can when introduced, canned soup became an affordable staple found in every pantry, ready to dress-up casseroles, gravies and stews. At today’s price which sometimes approaches $3.00 and up, it will pay now, more than ever, to acquire the knack of creating homemade soup and broth.

  • Add first 9 ingredients to 8-quart pot or Dutch oven.  Heat to boiling, then cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Remove carcass and let cool. Add parsley and peas. Continue to simmer. Remove meat from carcass and return pieces to soup.
  • Melt butter in small pan and add flour. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until flour is browned. Stir into soup. 
  • Add egg noodles and simmer until noodles are cooked and flavors have blended.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

The Mountain Story

A son and his father were walking in the mountains. Suddenly, the son falls, hurts himself, and screams: “AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” To his surprise, he hears the voice repeating somewhere in the mountain: “AAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Curious, he yells, “Who are you?” He receives the answer, “Who are you?” Angered at the response, he says, “Coward.” He looks to his father and asks, “What’s going on?” The father smiles and says, “My son, pay attention.” And then he shouts to the mountain, “I admire you!” The voice answers, “I admire you!” Again, the man shouts, “You are a champion!” The voice answers, “You are a champion!” The boy is surprised, but does not understand. Then the father explains, “People call this an ECHO, but really this is LIFE. It gives back everything you say or do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions. If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence. This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life; life will give you back everything you have given to it.”

 


Save money on your home insurance!

I want to let you in on the knowledge I have accumulated as an insurance professional because I have found time and again my willingness to provide an honest assessment of your needs has been critical in building my business.  You can undoubtedly find cheap insurance on-line!  But I won’t avoid the facts. There really is more to homeowner’s insurance than saving money.  Can you imagine losing part of your roof in a wind storm and receiving a claim check that is a fraction of the cost to repair the damage.  Our office believes in explaining the different ways to value your home and give you the ability to make an informed decision about the value of your property.  Valuation: It is what insurance companies pay for the claim or loss to certain covered property.  Here are two value definitions commonly used and found in homeowners policies.   

            

Replacement cost: This pays the actual amount to replace or repair the damaged property at the time of loss with materials of like kind and quality without a deduction for depreciation.

Most insurance companies use a formula taking into account the age of a home or building, types of materials used in construction, quality of materials used in construction, the area you live in based on ZIP Code, as well as any other special or unique features. They will determine a replacement cost per square foot and then multiply it by the total size of the home or building and that will equal the home or building’s full replacement cost.

A simplified example: after wind storm caused $40,000 of roof damage, your claim check would be $40,000 minus your deductible.

 

Actual Cash Value:

This pays the cost to replace or repair the covered property with a calculation to reflect depreciation.

Let us use the same home from our previous example. We have our home’s replacement cost estimated at $270,000. You choose to ensure it at an actual Cash value for $140,000. You then experience a windstorm that damages a good portion of the roof. The estimate from a contractor to fix the roof is for $40,000. The roof is 12 years old. The insurance company uses a 3% per year depreciation factor. The calculation would look like this:

 $ 40,000 estimate for repair to roof damaged by wind

-$ 14,400 depreciation factor, (3% per year X 12 years old roof = 36%)

$ 25,600 actual cash value settlement of claim before policy deductible

 

In this case,  your out-of-pocket expense will be about $14,000!  The question to ask yourself is, “In the case of a loss, will the premium savings be worth it?)  Please tell your family and friends that all of us at The Southcott Agency Inc. have your best interest in  mind when we write a policy.  And remember, every time you refer  us, we will send you a $20.00 gift card.

 

Find out more on Mike’s blog www.thesouthcottagency.com

 


Important Crop Insurance Information

 

Are you Plowing Snow this Winter?

I know we’ll have snow.  The question is are you plowing other people’s driveways?  If you are being paid to plow for others, your pick-up needs different insurance.  It should be covered on a commercial auto policy to avoid having any claims denied.  Say you have been plowing your neighbor’s driveway for $40.00 per visit.  This seems like a great deal for you until during a snow gust, you accidently clip their garage with the plow.  The homeowner is paying you to plow and will expect your insurance to cover the damage.  However, your personal auto insurance company can deny the claim!  You need to tell us how you are using your vehicle so we can be sure you’ll have the right coverage.

 


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

Cyber security Update

216 0 15 Oct 2020

Why you Need Cyber-security Insurance

On Wednesday, April 18th, 1906 at 5:12am the famous San Francisco earthquake hit. Over the next three days eighty percent of the city was destroyed and over three thousand people lost their lives.

Believe it or not, it was not the shaking earth that caused a majority of the property damage and death. No, surprisingly most of the damage and death over the next few days was caused by broken gas lines and the resulting major horrific fires.

What does that have to do with cyber-security or cyber liability? What are the secondary consequential costs to a cyber-security breach? What are the cyber issues that are equivalent to those broken gas lines?

Let us look at some recently published statistics:

  • Sixty percent of all the cyber-attacks worldwide are directed at small to mid-size businesses according to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance.
  • One out of five small to mid-size businesses will fall to cyber-attacks despite substantial investment in computer security. (Better Business Bureau)
  • One half of all small to mid-size businesses that experience a major security breach will go out of business in six months. (U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance)
  • The average cost of a cyber-security data breach is more than $650,000. (Ponemon Institute)
  • This damage occurred while American companies spent 85 million dollars on cyber-security software in 2017 and the cost of cyber-security breaches were in the trillions. (IDC Cybersecurity Ventures)

Your current farm owner’s policy or business owner’s policy does not have coverage for cyberattacks. It won’t cover lost money from down time or shut down of your business. It won’t cover any stolen money or reimburse the ransom. It won’t pay any liability that you could be responsible for if the computer pirates harm a vendor or customer of yours.

There are two types of coverage available;

A. Cyber liability

  • Professional errors and the risks of doing business on the internet or working with a network system.
  • Data privacy wrongful acts (i.e., someone hacking in and stealing personal information).
  • Network security wrongful acts (i.e., inadvertently transmitting a virus to another business).
  • Content and media wrongful acts (i.e., illegally using/obtaining images or posting information on a webpage).
  • Internet protocol wrongful acts (i.e., using a given address for reasons outside of business purposes).

B. Cyber—terrorism/extortion

  • Personal information warfare involves computer-based attacks on data about individuals. It may involve such things as disclosing or corrupting confidential personal information, such as those in medical or credit files.
  • Corporate information warfare may involve industrial espionage or disseminating misinformation about competitors over the internet.
  • Global information warfare is aimed at a country’s critical computer systems. The goal is to disrupt the country by disabling infrastructure systems, such as energy, communication or transportation.

I now cover my insurance business with a Cyber Insurance Policy. The policy provides the following coverages:

  • Privacy liability, including employees $1,000,000.
  • Privacy regulatory claims coverage $1,000,000.
  • Security breach recovery coverage $1,000,000.
  • Security liability $1,000,000.
  • Multimedia liability $1,000,000.
  • Cyber extortion $1,000,000.
  • Business income & digital asset restoration $1,000,000.
  • PCI, DSS Assessment* $1,000,000. (*These are written demands received by your acquiring bank, or a credit card association for monetary fines, penalties, reimbursements or fraud recoveries)

Of course, all insurance policies will have exclusions, limits and exceptions. These is a part of every insurance policy to clearly define what is covered and will be paid for and what is not covered and won’t be paid for. The following are examples of cyber liability exclusions, but is not a complete list. (Please read your policy for a complete list.)

  • Employment practices
  • Strikes
  • Failures or malfunction of satellite systems, telephone systems, wireless communications
  • Fire, wind, hail, lightning, smoke, explosion (these are your basic coverages provided on a property policy)
  • Express or implied breach of a contract
  • The presence or contamination of, or discharge and disposal of pollutants
  • The selling of securities
  • Wrongful acts
  • Criminal conduct
  • Dishonest acts
  • Intentional acts

My policy has a $2,500.00 deductible with an annual premium of $400.00. Cyber liability insurance can be an integral part of your overall strategy to protect your computer systems. Software programs and important information and data. The premium is driven by:

  • Type of business
  • Overall financial size of business
  • Payroll and how many employees are in the business

Maintaining cyber defenses
The apparent ease with which cyber criminals are able to infiltrate and capitalize on a company’s treasure trove of information and electronic assets is stunning. The fact that it is happening with increasing frequency is reason for concern. However, each event provides cyber experts with greater insight into how to develop more robust cybersecurity measures to prevent repeat attacks. While there always will be new cyber threats to address, implementing security protocols that block the path of known cyber threats is a good start. Here are a few basic protocols to consider:

  • Passwords. In addition to requiring passwords to gain access to any computer system, a strong password is necessary. Change your password immediately if you think it may have been compromised, but do not reuse a password from another account. If your company can support two-factor authentication, use it.
  • Limit access to information.Chances are your company’s human resources records are off limits to most employees because of the sensitive nature of the information contained in those records. Similarly, you should limit who has access to all sensitive information.
  • Encryption. Encrypting data while it is resting on your network and while in transit to third parties is an effective strategy in combating unauthorized access to that information and may serve as a safe harbor in the event that you lose control over the data in your possession.
  • Monitor the flow of information.While there may be a legitimate reason for a significant uptick in the amount of data leaving the company, it also can serve as an indication of a cyber theft. Comparing the ordinary usage of employees over time will allow spikes in data transfers to stick out and trigger an investigation.
  • Payment card information.While maintaining customer payment information on your computer network is a convenient way to speed up payments, it presents a risk that needs to be managed. If you can do so, avoid saving payment information on your computer system. However, if you do save this information, it needs to be encrypted and restricted to those employees who handle payments.
  • Payments to third parties.Given the risks presented by social-engineering fraud, it is imperative to verify wire-transfer payment requests verbally with the third party receiving the money. Blindly issuing payment to a third party by way of a new bank account is not prudent.
  • Software patches.Software can be expensive. However, using pirated software that cannot receive security patches can be more expensive than buying it in the first place. Just ask those companies affected by the WannaCry attack. Even companies that have legitimate versions of software, but do not regularly update their systems, are vulnerable to attack, so activate automatic software updates.
  • Business vs. personal internet use.Internet shopping, social media and personal email accounts all present a path that cyber criminals can take to access your network. Encourage employees to segregate their internet usage and only use personal devices to conduct personal business to prevent infected, nonwork-related attachments from becoming the next attack on your network.
  • Takeaway
    Having a plan to protect data and to respond to the loss of data will help your agency weather the next cyber storm. For the plan to succeed there needs to be a corporate culture of cybersecurity, education and regular reassessments of whether the plan needs to change to address new threats.

 

Do not hesitate to call us for more information on Cyber Insurance Coverage at (585) 589-6236 or email us at information@thesouthcottagency.com

Buying a Vacant Home

224 0 01 Oct 2020

What to know about buying a vacant home.

Why buy a vacant home? One of the biggest perks is being able to make the home whatever you want it to be. You can make it your new home, create a vacation home, rent it out, or fix it up and sell it to someone else. In some cases, the seller may be willing to sell a vacant home cheaper than an occupied home. This is good news for you because you can save some money, but it could also mean something might be wrong with the house. It may need a little love, attention and renovating. Before you purchase a vacant home, here are a few things to do and watch out for:

Professional Inspection

Ask for an inspection from a professional and take notes on what they discover. You’ll want to know what’s broken, what needs to be fixed and what could possibly go wrong.

Critters

Since vacant homes can sit for quite some time, critters may come in and make themselves at home. Although they are usually small animals such as mice or bats, they can cause damage to a vacant house. Those unwanted critters can eat at the floors, carpets, walls and wiring. Be aware that you may need to hire a pest control service, and this could be costly based on the number of animals and the amount of damage.

Plumbing

There may be plumbing issues that have caused dried and cracked seals, slow faucets, leaks and other issues. If the heat hasn’t been on and the temperatures dropped, the pipes could be at risk to freeze or burst.

Appliances

The previous owner may not have unplugged their indoor appliances, such as refrigerators and freezers, or let them dry out. There may be mold inside from the moisture being trapped. Having appliances plugged in with no one there could result in a fire (if the electric was on). Appliances in the house may become unusable due to long periods of sitting with no use, which means you will need new ones.

Molds

Remember, molds can grow on more than just appliances! Check for mold in the walls, floors, pipes…everywhere! Some molds may cause health issues, so if mold is found during your inspection, you may want to rethink purchasing the home. Talk with your inspector about the extremity and presence of mold, and evaluate the safety risks.

Unanticipated Repairs

There are other potential sources of damage. For example, break-ins are more likely when a home appears empty, and windows, doors and other items could be damaged by the intruder. Storms are another danger. Debris could hit the home and cause damage that may have gone undetected. Always thoroughly inspect the home before buying!

There are a lot of things to do and watch out for before purchasing a vacant home, but the possibilities of what the home could be are endless. If you are looking to buy a vacant home consider the cost of properly insuring a vacant home.

Vacant home insurance: What to ask about

Homes become vacant for many reasons. Maybe the home is for sale but hasn’t been sold yet. Or you’ve purchased a new home but won’t move in for a while. It could be a rental property that’s between tenants. Whatever the cause, there are some insurance risks that you should keep in mind.

You may be thinking, why get vacant home insurance when you already have regular homeowners insurance? Well, most homeowners policies exclude or limit coverage if the home is vacant, so you’ll need more specific coverage.

Insurance coverage is extremely important for a vacant home, because there are lots of dangers that threaten vacant homes in particular. If you’re debating whether or not you need a vacant policy, talk to your insurance agent! Here are some things to ask about:

Cost

Vacant home insurance typically costs more than regular homeowners insurance due to potential risks like weather threats, fires and vandalism. However, you may be able to get a discount by installing security systems around the house. Even if your insurance company doesn’t provide a discount for extra security, it’s a good idea that will make your home safer!

Coverage

Each vacant home insurance policy is different. Many cover damages caused by fires, lightning, wind storms, hail, vandalism and theft. Check with your insurance company to see what options you have. (Remember to ask if flood damage coverage is an option!) There are also different time lengths for policies. Many are 12 months long, but they could go up to four years, so find out what will work best for you. You’ll also want to consider Liability coverage, which applies if anyone is hurt on your property and you’re found legally responsible.

Restrictions

Many insurance companies have different definitions of what is vacant and what is unoccupied. Additionally, there may be a specific time length distinction for the type of coverage. Restrictions can also be based on the age or value of the home. Discuss these variables with your insurance agent to find the coverage that works best for you! Is it vacant or is it unoccupied?

There seems to be confusion among all involved in the process regarding what is vacant and what is considered unoccupied.  Courts have ruled that the terms “vacant” and “unoccupied” are not synonymous. According to precedent, vacant is defined as entirely empty (i.e., lack of animate or inanimate objects), while unoccupied is defined as the lack of habitual presence of human beings (i.e., lack of animate objects).

Vacant

Let’s examine vacant buildings, houses or structures. The term is used most with real-estate transactions. The insureds are relocating and have purchased a new home somewhere else. Their old home has not sold but they have already moved all of their belongings from the first house and will not be returning to it.

When this scenario occurs, how should it be handled? Insurers typically will allow the homeowners insurance to stay intact for the remainder of the policy period; after that it becomes a nonrenewal. Don’t forget that many homeowners policies have a coverage exclusion for vandalism and glass breakage if the home has been vacant for more than 30 or 60 days (depending on the policy). The insureds still have the exposure because they are still the owners of the property. A bank may still hold a note on the property and the owners still have a liability exposure if someone happens to be injured on the property. So how do you insure it after the homeowners policy terminates? The easiest way is to write a dwelling policy and see if you can extend liability from the insureds primary home policy to a second location. If the insurer is unwilling to do this, there are markets out there that specialize in insuring vacant properties.  A vacant home in most cases can be covered for fire damage but vandalism and glass breakage are excluded.  Pest infestations of all types are exclusions on all homeowners policies.

Unoccupied
Let’s look at unoccupied or “the snowbird special”—when an insured owns two separate residences and lives in each for a portion of the year.
Here are two other specific cases to consider:

  • The named insured still has most of his or her belongings in a residence but now lives in a nursing home and does not expect to return. In this case, it is not vacant because the belongings are there, but it is unoccupied. Since the homeowners policy does not address unoccupied then it must be all right, right? Wrong. The problem is that the home is no longer owner-occupied, which is a policy condition and an underwriting criterion.

The bottom line is: vacancy and unoccupancy can affect coverage for the owner.

  • How about the situation in which the insured has moved into a new house (in the same town), but left a few items staged to help sell the house? The insured visits the first house every week to check on the dwelling (e.g., mow the grass, check the water, etc.). This house would still be considered unoccupied and, like the last example, would be classified as no longer owner-occupied.

The bottom line is: if no one is living there anymore, it is an unoccupied building.

Still not sure if vacant home insurance is for you? Contact us to learn more and get a quote! Overall, don’t be afraid to ask questions about insurance.

Office Phone: (585)589-6236

Office email: information@thesouthcottagency.com

Outdoor Fire Safety

279 0 15 Sep 2020

If you are having a bonfire, whether it’s to get rid of garden waste, brush, or part of a celebration, take care. Follow the simple tips below to make sure you, and others, are safe.

Building a bonfire

Fire can spread easily, so where and how you build your bonfire is important. If you have a bonfire, follow these simple guidelines:

  • warn your neighbors beforehand – they are much less likely to complain
  • light the bonfire at a time least likely to affect your neighbors – for example, not on a warm day when people will be in their garden
  • only burn dry material not damp, which causes more smoke
  • build the bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees
  • check there are no cables, like telephone wires, above the bonfire
  • don’t use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going as it may get out of control quickly
  • as a rule of thumb, the bonfire should be a minimum of five times its height from property

Bonfire safety tips

Once the bonfire is lit, make sure you:

  • keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies
  • don’t leave the bonfire unattended
  • keep children and pets away from the bonfire
  • don’t throw any fireworks into the fire
  • don’t burn aerosols, tires, canisters or anything containing foam or paint – many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode, causing injury

Once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it reigniting.

COVID-19 update

During the COVID-19 crisis and the current dry weather, no one should start a fire in the open countryside and place further strain on the emergency services.

There have been several wildfire incidents over recent weeks which have threatened property and destroyed valuable habitats. Wildfires are rarely natural. They are almost always started either deliberately, or by reckless burning or disposal of flammable vegetation or waste material. Waste or litter might also contain glass, which can easily start a fire on a sunny day.

Take extreme caution because wildfires could result in tragedy for people caught in the line of a fire – don’t burn waste or vegetation.

Countryside safety – wildfires

While carefully planned and controlled fires can be used by farmers to improve their land for grazing or tilling, many wildfires start due to carelessness, for example people discarding lit cigarettes or leaving campfires unattended. Deliberate setting of wildfires is illegal and is a criminal offence.

How to reduce the risk of wildfires

Follow these tips to reduce the risks of wildfires in the countryside:

  • extinguish cigarettes and other smoking materials properly
  • never throw cigarette butts out of car windows – they can ruin whole fields of crops
  • don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands – sunlight shining through glass can start fires – take them home or put them in a waste or recycling bin
  • only use barbecues in a suitable and safe area and never leave them unattended
  • avoid using open fires in the countryside

Permission for outdoor fires

A fire in the open can easily get out of control. You should always check with local authorities first to see if burning is allowed and only light fires in safe, designated areas. Although farmers are allowed to burn brush at any time, notification to the local fire department will prevent fire companies from dispatching unnecessarily.

What to do if you see a fire

If you see a fire in the countryside:

  • report it immediately to the Fire and Rescue Service
  • do not try to tackle the fire if it can’t be put out with a bucket of water – leave the area as quickly as possible, and preferably move downhill as a fire will spread more quickly uphill

If you see someone setting a fire, report it immediately to the Police.

Wildfires put lives at risk

They can result in tragedy because they:

  • put people in the line of the fire at risk, including people lighting the fire, walking or camping in the local area and those living nearby
  • endanger the firefighters who tackle them
  • put the lives of the local community at risk as dealing with these types of incidents can mean firefighters are diverted from other emergencies

Cost of wildfires

As well as the large monetary cost spent on fighting wildfires, they can also destroy valuable timber, increase the treatment costs for drinking water and cause farmers to lose livestock and grazing lands.

Wildfires make the countryside less attractive and enjoyable for people to visit and can destroy the wildlife living there:

  • nests and the young of birds that nest on the ground are destroyed
  • mammals such as red squirrel lose their forest homes
  • small animals like the common lizard are killed
  • landscapes are scorched and less attractive until they recover

Barbecue safety

To barbecue safely and avoid injuries or damage to property, follow this advice:

  • make sure your barbecue site is flat and away from fences, trees, shrubs and buildings.  Most insurance companies recommend placing your grill or firepit at least 10 feet away from any structure.
  • keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies
  • never use petrol or paraffin to start or revive your barbecue – use firelighters or starter fuel on cold coals
  • keep children, garden games and pets away from the cooking area
  • never leave the barbecue unattended
  • concentrate on what you’re doing as it’s easy to get distracted when you have family and friends around
  • after cooking, make sure the barbecue is cool before moving it
  • make sure ashes are cold before you get rid of them
  • don’t leave disposable barbecues on grass or wooden benches as they stay very hot after use
  • drinking alcohol increases the risk of accidents happening

Tips for gas barbecues

  • make sure your barbecue is in good working order
  • make sure the gas tap is turned off before changing the cylinder and always change the cylinder in open air
  • when you’ve finish cooking, turn off the gas cylinder before you turn off the barbecue controls – this ensures that any gas in the pipeline is used up

If you suspect a leak to the gas cylinder or pipework, don’t use it until it’s been inspected or repaired by a qualified person.

How you store the gas cylinders for your barbecue is also important. Keep gas cylinders outside, away from direct sunlight and frost. Don’t keep more cylinders than you need. Don’t store cylinders under the stairs in your house because if there’s a fire, the stairs are likely to be your escape route.

Camping safety

Follow these precautions while camping to reduce the risk of fire:

  • make sure that campers and tents are at least six feet apart
  • make sure you know the firefighting arrangements on the camp site
  • if you don’t have a mobile phone then find out where the nearest phone is located
  • keep a flashlight handy for emergencies – don’t use a lit candle
  • find out what firefighting arrangements are in place for the campsite

If you stay in a tent

  • always cook outside and well away from your tent, no matter how large
  • keep your cooking area clear of flammable material, including long grass
  • keep cooking appliances away from the walls and roof and anywhere they can easily be knocked over
  • store flammable liquids and gas cylinders outside the tent and away from children
  • don’t smoke inside tents
  • don’t use candles or have any kind of flame burning apparatus in or near to a tent – flashlights are safer
  • keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach
  • a fire can destroy a tent in 60 seconds so it’s essential you have an escape plan and be prepared to cut your way out of your tent if there is a fire
  • make sure everyone knows how to put out a clothing fire – stop, drop to the floor and roll to put out the flames

If there’s a fire

  • get everyone out immediately
  • telephone the fire and rescue service and give the exact location – give a map reference if possible or provide a nearby landmark.
  • if somebody else’s clothes catch fire, tell or force them to drop and try to smother the flames with a blanket or large item of clothing to quell the flames, then get them to roll

News You Can Use – September 2020

236 0 01 Sep 2020

Grilled Foil Packs

 

1. Make each grill pack  –

2. Cut 2, 12” X 18” pieces of heavy duty foil

3. Center 1 T. butter or olive oil

4. Add 2 breakfast sausages or appr. 4” Italian Sausage link

5. Place boneless chicken breast on top of butter & sausage

6. Surround meats with vegetables (baby carrots, thin sliced potatoes, fresh beans, onions, peppers) according to your taste.  Anything works!

7. Season with salt, pepper, garlic etc.

8. Fold ends up on foil to make a sealed pack and place on hot grey ashes for about 15 minutes per side.  Check for doneness before eating.

13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY  14411
Phone 585 589-6236
information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com

 


Just Keep Talking

Referral Program

 

Do You Have the Right Stuff?

Do You Know Someone Who Does?

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. is looking for a “Sales Superstar” and if you refer them to us, we will give you a $500.00 finder’s fee!  That’s right – if the person you refer is hired and stays with The Southcott Agency Inc. for 6 months – we will give you $500.00!

 

Interested? Respond to us via email IMMEDIATELY and you will be contacted for a telephone interview.  You need to do 2 things to apply:

 

  1. The only way to apply is to email your resume with references attached to mike@thesouthcottagency.com with the subject “I am your next Team Member”. Do not call or stop by the office.
  2. In the body of the email write a short essay (less than 10 sentences) on one of the following topics:
    • Describe the person (past, present, dead, or living) you most admire and why?  OR
    • Describe an experience that has been most valuable to you and why?

 

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

 

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

 


Important Crop Insurance Information

Crop insurance premiums are being billed as long as your acreage report has been processed.

Normally your crop insurance premiums are due September 1st. with interest accruing as of October 1st.

The Risk Management Agency (RMA) recognizes the challenges the insurance industry and American farmers face in light of Covid-19 pandemic.  To help provide flexibility to our farmers, they have authorized flexibility to premium payments and interest charges.  Premium payments as noted above will be waived to the earliest of a termination date and an additional 10 days of scheduled due dates.

 

Termination Dates

 

Wheat November 30, 2020
Apples, Peaches, Cherries, Grapes November 20, 2020
Onions February 1, 2021
Spring Crops, Corn, Soybeans, etc. March 15, 2021

 

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call the office

(585) 589-6236.

 


Three Things One Needs for Happiness

Someone to love.

Something to do.

Something to look forward to.

 


Hurricane Season!

With hurricane season threatening, here are some important facts to know.

Hurricane Classification—Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their sustained wind speeds and potential to cause damage.

In the United States, the official Hurricane Season is from June 1st through November 30th, but hurricanes can happen any time of year. 

Hurricane Watch—a watch lets you know that weather conditions are favorable for a hazard to occur.  During a weather watch, gather awareness of the specific threat and prepare for action.  Monitor the weather and discuss protective action plans with your family.

Hurricane Warning—A warning requires immediate action.  This means the hazard is imminent and is happening or about to at any moment.  Warnings are more urgent and require you put emergency plans into place.

 

Category

Sustained Winds

Potential to Cause Damage

One

74-95 miles per hour

Very dangerous winds will produce some damage

Two

96-110 miles per hour

Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage

Three (major)

111-130 miles per hour

Devastating damage will occur

Four (major)

131-155 miles per hour

Catastrophic damage will occur

Five (major)

> 155 miles per hour

Catastrophic damage will occur

 


Let Your Child See That You Value Learning

 

Parents often tell children how important school is. But sometimes kids dismiss what we say. This happens when we don’t “practice what we preach.” We say we value learning…but we don’t show it especially when thrown into the role of teacher.

 

When children can see we value learning, they want to learn, too.

You show you value learning when you:

• Stop whatever else you may be doing and talk with children about what they’re doing in school, what they like best, etc.

• Read to your children and ask them about their reading.

• Discuss ideas, the news and other things you learn.

• Share opinions on social and political change.

• Wonder out loud about scientific and other discoveries.

• Research answers to questions that come up.

• Play educational games like Monopoly and chess with your children.

• Take pleasure in a hobby.

• Help children get involved in hobbies and creative projects.

• Continue to learn yourself. You read books and go to the library. You watch educational TV programs and attend school programs for parents.

 


Labor Day Weekend Getaways for Families

 

This year’s Labor Day getaway is limited by travel restrictions that mean self-quarantines and more trouble than they’re worth.  One way to beat this virus is by vacationing in New York State.  Our state has so many great places to vacation and three spots are listed in the “Best Labor Day Getaways for Families”.  Out of 21 sites, New York held spot 7, 8, and 9.

 

The Otesaga Resort Hotel: Cooperstown, New York

            If you’ve got a family of baseball fans, you can combinevisit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, with a long-weekend stayThe Otesaga Resort and Hotel, part of the Historic Hotels of America. Picture rocking chairs lining the porch on the back veranda, uniformed staff, and sweeping views of the natural landscape. The resort is well-located—it’s a short walk into town to enjoy craft breweries, art galleries, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

            The Double Play Package offers visitors Deluxe accommodations, a breakfast buffet, and tickets to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Spa and golf packages are also available. The resort thrives on family-oriented activities, including kid-friendly movies, family bingo, lawn games, and ghost stories by the lake.

 

Whiteface Lodge: Lake Placid, New York

            The only all-suite resort in the Adirondacks of New York State, Whiteface Lodgea fabulously luxurious experience in a family-friendlyatmosphere that’s never stuffy or pretentious. A slew of amenities include an indoor-outdoor pool, catch-and-release fishing pond, game room, bowling alley, playground, and even an on-site movie theater. There’s also a kids’ camp for kids up to age 12.

            OnDay weekend, you can book the three-night “Stay More, Play More” package. This package includes resort amenities and a complimentary breakfast for each member of your family.

 

Mohonk Mountain House: New Paltz, New York

            You can spend Labor Day Weekend at the all-inclusive Mohonk Mountain House resort. Rates include three meals daily, afternoon tea and cookies, the complimentary kids’ club, and most resort activities. There will be campfires with s’mores, lake and pool swimming, boating, hiking, tennis, evening entertainment, and much more this year, so check the venue’s website for a full schedule of events.

 

 

 

 

We wish you an enjoyable Labor Day Holiday!

 


I AM BARBARA!

I’d like to formally introduce myself to those of you I have not had the pleasure of meeting. Our agency newsletter is my monthly project and at times a reflection of my (and the businesses) thoughts and values. On the days I’m at my desk working on the newsletter or various marketing projects, I’m in the company of three amazing people. Mike (husband to Barbara) is a wealth of insurance knowledge who demands the best from us. Heather Tabor and Sarah Bovenzi preform above expectations all the time. They made my birthday so special as they greeted me with matching T-shirts.

Mike’s T-shirt read BECAUSE BARBARA TOLD ME TO!

Heather’s CHANNELING MY INNER BARBARA

Sarah’s WHAT WOULD BARBARA DO?

Mine read I AM BARBARA

 


Is Hostile Behavior Killing You?

Have you ever wished that mean, tantrum-tossing boss would just drop dead? That may happen sooner than you expect. New research shows that hostile people are about twice as likely to suffer from heart disease and to die from any cause than mild-mannered people.

            What’s more, frequent hateful behavior – such as rudeness, sneering or swearing at others – appears to be just as deadly as other risk factors. The findings, reported in the Psychological Bulletin, come from a statistical analysis of 45 reports linking heart disease and death to hostility, a personality trait characterized by cynicism, distrust and aggression. The study’s lead author, Todd Q. Miller, assistant professor of preventative medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, said reprogramming one’s outlook could be as effective a prevention tool as exercising, avoiding cigarettes and eating right. “People who are hostile are at risk of getting divorced, more likely to be alone, less likely to take care of their health and more likely to be heavy drinkers.” Miller said. And now, it appears, their psychological profile makes them more likely to become ill and die.

…SO BE NICE!


What to know about buying a vacant home

Why buy a vacant home? One of the biggest perks is being able to make the home whatever you want it to be. You can make it your new home, create a vacation home, rent it out, or fix it up and sell it to someone else. In some cases, the seller may be willing to sell a vacant home cheaper than an occupied home. This is good news for you because you can save some money, but it could also mean something might be wrong with the house. It may need a little love, attention and renovating. Also, the insurance coverage is different for vacant homes.  Before you purchase a vacant home, visit our webpage to find hidden risks and what coverage is best for you in our latest blog. www.thesouthcottagency.com

 

Have a Relaxing Labor Day Holiday!


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

Reduce Your Insurance Costs…Beware of Bad Advice!

192 0 25 Aug 2020

Many Americans are struggling financially in the current economy, particularly those struck by lay-offs, and are faced with tough decisions about how to reduce expenses. As a result, much has been written in recent months about how to reduce insurance premiums as one aspect of a belt-tightening strategy. Unfortunately, too much of this advice has been BAD and much of this bad advice comes from consumer web sites and publications that have little understanding of insurance and risk management. The purpose of this article is to identify some of the bad advice being bandied about and to reinforce some of the good advice

 

The first myth we want to dispel is that all policies are alike, the difference only being the price. Insurance policies are legal contracts and, aside from some industry standards, each insurer’s policy is unique. Some cover far more or less than others. For example, some auto policies do not cover nonowner autos. Do you ever drive someone else’s car? Some auto policies do not cover business use. Do you ever run by Office Depot, the post office, or the bank on behalf of your employer? Some auto policies exclude undisclosed household residents. Is it possible that a child might move back home for economic reasons and you forget to tell your insurance agent? Might you drive that resident child’s car after they move in? Did you know that some auto policies won’t cover you while driving a resident family member’s car? Has a family member taken on a second job delivering pizzas to make ends meet? Some auto policies cover this, some don’t.

 

These are all very real examples of coverage shortcomings that the “low cost” auto insurance advertisers don’t tell you about. In fact, if you ask to see their policies before buying, chances are you won’t get a copy. Consumers shop for most things based on value, not just price. The same should be true for insurance which is far too often portrayed as some sort of homogenous commodity.  So, the next time you see a cute or clever sales pitch from a lizard, cave man, or giggling Walmart-like “pick your price” aisle clerk, ask what you’re buying. The amount of coverage you need depends on your exposure to loss and what assets and income you need to protect today and, in the future, not what you’d like to pay.

 

A second myth is that you can rely on insurance advice from consumer web sites and publications. Sadly, consumers often accept insurance advice from attorneys, plumbers, roofers, cops, and accountants before they’ll listen to their own insurance agent. A major national publication included advice from a “consumer expert” that recommended dropping replacement cost coverage for “actual cash value” coverage, something that is likely to save the insured little in exchange for much in the way of lesser coverage. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Charles Givens made a name for himself, in part, by recommending that consumers drop various kinds of insurance. Lawsuits ensued when consumers who followed his advice suffered catastrophic uninsured losses.

 

One popular consumer insurance web site recommends that consumers consider dropping their physical damage and uninsured motorists’ coverage completely while reducing their liability coverage to the state minimum requirements. At a time when consumer assets are at their greatest peril, now is not the time to be reducing or eliminating critical coverages that protect you from catastrophic loss. The article shows that, by dropping your liability limits from 100/300/50 to 25/50/10 and eliminating the physical damage and uninsured motorists’ coverages on your auto, you can reduce your total premium by just over 50% on average.

 

What they don’t show is that the average values of the autos they used in the examples ranged from $12,000 to $22,000 according to Kelly’s Blue Book. How many economically depressed or out-of-work families can afford even a $12,000 loss, much less a 6- or 7-figure liability claim? Auto liability limits of 25/50/10 mean that each person you negligently injure in an auto accident gets no more than $25,000 ($50,000 total for all injuries) and any property damage you cause, such as damage to the other vehicle, is limited to $10,000. Is it possible that a hospital bill might exceed $25,000? Is it likely that the other vehicle you total is worth more than $10,000? Of course, particularly considering that all of the autos they used in their examples of how you can save money by dropping physical damage coverage were worth more than that!

 

According to the Insurance Research Council, 1 in 6 drivers may be driving uninsured by 2010. With the number of uninsured drivers already over 25% in some states, what happens when a family member is permanently disabled by an uninsured driver and the family has dropped its uninsured motorists’ coverage? A much better recommendation would be to begin cost-cutting measures by eliminating the purchase of pizza, cigarettes and beer instead of critical insurance coverages.

 

A third myth is that you can drop some coverages because others exist to pay in their absence. For example, so-called financial experts may recommend dropping uninsured motorists and medical payments coverage on an auto policy if you have health or workers compensation insurance. Uninsured motorists insurance covers much more than just medical expenses. Given the growing number of uninsured motorists, removing or reducing this coverage can expose you, your family members, and passengers to catastrophic loss.

 

In the case of business insurance, many business owners are looking, if the law permits, to drop workers compensation insurance or have officers with strong health insurance plans exempt themselves. Workers compensation typically pays UNLIMITED medical benefits, plus disability, rehabilitation and even burial benefits. In addition, some health insurance plans exclude work-related injuries or work injuries that could have been covered by workers compensation. Some businesses are considering eliminating business interruption insurance even though studies have shown that few businesses survive a major loss long enough to be able to reopen their doors.

 

A fourth myth is that you should insure the market value of your home or business building. Market value is based not only on the cost to rebuild but also on the value of the location and land value. It’s also a function of how much someone is willing or able to pay for your property based on their financial position and the ability to obtain a loan. Your insurance limit is based almost exclusively on the cost to repair or replace the building. The market value can be significantly higher or lower and, just because the market value of your home or business building has declined doesn’t mean you should reduce your insurance limit.

 

These are just a few examples of what consumers and business owners are doing to reduce their insurance costs, many of these approaches coming from extraordinarily bad advice from consumer writers and others who lack the knowledge to understand what they are suggesting. Attorneys, for example, often suggest that youthful drivers be placed on their own minimum-limits policies (and their vehicle titled in their name if possible) in order to insulate the parents’ assets from a lawsuit. Many, if not most, auto policies have an exclusion that would result in the parents having NO coverage under their own policy for some claims, an unintended consequence that arises from advice given by someone who lacks the intimate understanding of the insurance contract necessary to provide sound insurance advice.

 

As always, we ask you to call the office (585) 589-6236 if you have concerns about your coverage.

 

Much of the information used in this blog were provided by the Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

Insuring Classic Cars

200 0 10 Aug 2020

I have a soft spot for classic cars. It’s probably partially a result of my father who could tinker and fix almost any vehicle.  Now we enjoy celebrating automobiles every time we see a well-maintained vintage ride rolling down the road. There’s just something about seeing one that makes me smile.

I know I’m not the only person that feels that way, as there are plenty of classic car shows all around the country. Our area offers “cruise-in” classic car events all over Western New York.  Our parades usually feature locals in there classy chassies and festivals host a variety of car show that offer prizes and recognition in many divisions.

The Southcott Agency Inc. uses several carriers to cover specialty vehicles; these include Haggerty, American Modern and J.C. Taylor. Our office relies on their expert underwriting to give our clients the best protection.

All providers require proof of a personal automobile policy in place with your “regular” vehicle insured before they will insure your classic and custom vehicles.

If you’ve ever been to one of the bigger events, you might have seen J.C. Taylor there. J.C. Taylor processes and handles the underwriting for Foremost’s  Collectible Auto program.

It is a much bigger hobby than you might expect. Mainly because of the sub-genres inside the hobby—hot-rod, pre-war antiques, muscle cars, imports—you name it. The sheer number of niches can make the hobby seem and feel even bigger.

For example, J.C. Taylor insures antique and classic auto that fall under these categories:

 

Antiques & Classics

Muscle cars                                    Light Trucks

Vintage Motorcycles                    Farm Tractors

Steam Automobiles                      Antique Delivery Trucks

Horseless Carriages                     Military Vehicles

 

Modified & Customs

Modified                                    Hot Rods

Customs                                     Exotics

Replicas                                     Rare Vehicles

Kit Cars                                      Resto-Mods

 

To qualify for the Antique/Classic Auto Insurance Program, vehicles must be at least 19 years old, and:

Factory original; i.e. there should be few changes from the factory original specifications.

In good or restored condition.

Be kept in a fully enclosed, locked garage.

Be used primarily as hobby vehicles: used in exhibitions, club activities, parades, or other functions of public interest.

An occasional nice day drive to keep the vehicle in running order is perfectly acceptable

We do not impose a mileage limit on our Antique/Classic Auto Insurance Policy. However, we do use a very reasonable underwriting limit.

Club affiliation is not required, however, some carriers give discounts if you have a club membership.

 

Applicants and operators listed/insured on the policy must:

Be at least 25 years of age.

Have a good household driving record with no more than one moving violation and one at fault accident in the past 3 years. NOTE: Serious violations beyond 3 years may be subject to Underwriting review.

Provide with their application:

  • At least one clear, current, color photo of the vehicle (preferably a front-corner view).
  • An appraisal is not required, but may be needed if the requested insurance value exceeds the general collectible market price for your particular vehicle.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

(I will use J.C. Taylor’s policy language to answer these questions.  Other carriers may differ.)

Where am I covered? Where can I take my vehicle?

Taking your vehicle to a series of shows in New England? Taking a club tour through the Rockies? No problem at all. Your vehicle is covered in the continental United States, its territories and possessions, and Canada. Special arrangements can even be made to protect your vehicle on an overseas tour.

What’s an “Attendance Clause” and does J.C. Taylor have one in its policies?

An “attendance clause” requires that you remain with your collectible vehicle whenever it’s out and being used. So, whether you’re at a car show, cruise-in, town parade, or summer picnic, an attendance clause would require you to remain close to your vehicle at all times. J.C. Taylor finds this unreasonable and impractical. Consequently, we do NOT have an attendance clause in our policies, and never have.

How can I use my vehicle?

The vehicle should be used primarily for hobby events such as shows, club functions, tours, and parades. An occasional nice day drive is also acceptable. The vehicle should not be used for errands or a commute to school or work.

Lately I’ve heard a lot about the need for “Agreed Value” coverage on collectible vehicles. What does “Agreed Value” mean, and does the J.C. Taylor policy include this coverage?

Prior to issuing your policy, we will come to an agreement with you on the value of your vehicle, based on the market and condition of the vehicle in question. In the event there’s a covered total loss to your vehicle, the “Agreed Value” is the amount you would receive.

What happens if I have a loss to my collectible vehicle?

Just contact J.C. Taylor claims department at 1-800-345-8290 or Help Point Claims at 1-800-527-3907. Our customers have been consistently impressed with the overall speed, knowledge, fairness, and superior quality of our claims service. When you have a claim is when the insurance really matters, and excellence in customer service is our number one goal. We’ll work with you to make sure that your claim is settled promptly and fairly.

Can I occasionally race my collectible vehicle?

Unfortunately, no. Racing and other timed events are specifically excluded under the policy.

Does J.C. Taylor have a mileage limitation on the policy?

There is NO mileage limitation in the J.C. Taylor policy (i.e. contract). We use a limit of 2500 miles per vehicle per year for underwriting (i.e reviewing) our potential business. We believe this limit is reasonable; however, customers who exceed this limit will never be denied coverage as a result.

 

Now that you have excellent coverage on your collectible vehicle, here are great sites to tour in the United States.

 

Five coolest places to tour in the U.S.A.

New York City

You have to experience the “Big Apple” at least once. It has everything you could ever want from a big city—museums, Broadway shows, restaurants with every type of food you can imagine, specialty boutiques and high-end shops. Plus, you need to see the Statue of Liberty in person and check out those neon lights of Times Square. Make Central Park one of your main destinations. Remember to see the amazing works of art at the Met and the Guggenheim. This is a city that never sleeps with endless things to try and taste.

San Francisco

The home of the Golden Gate Bridge offers gorgeous sights across its renowned hilly landscape and so many fun things to do, like riding cable cars, checking out Alcatraz Island, strolling along Fisherman’s Wharf and driving up the famously steep and crooked Lombard Street. Just a few miles north, you can leave the hustle and bustle behind to visit the towering Redwood trees in Muir Woods. Or for some tranquility within the city, plan a picnic to Golden Gate Park and see lakes, museums, monuments and the Steinhart Aquarium. For another great view of the city, check out Strawberry Hill in the middle of the park.

Grand Canyon

If it’s natural beauty you’re looking for, you’ll definitely find it at the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. If you weren’t seeing it with your own eyes, you’d swear it was a painting in glorious shades of red and orange. Nothing can top the magnificent views as you gaze through the canyon over the Colorado River. Visit the South Rim where you’ll find Grand Canyon Village and the Bright Angel Trail. And if you’re into roughing it in the wilderness, you’ll want to head to the North Rim for backcountry camping and some serious hiking.

Yellowstone

Yellowstone has 2.2 million acres of paradise for you to explore—crystal blue lakes, tumbling water falls, majestic mountains, hot springs, abundant forests, open meadows and active geysers. There are so many trails, it could take weeks to travel them all. Be sure to check out everyone’s favorite spots like Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake and Mammoth Hot springs. Then visit lesser known areas like the West Thumb Geyser Basin, the Lewis River Channel and the Dogs head Loop. You will likely be treated to sights of wildlife during your journey since over 60 types of mammals call the park their home. You could see buffalo, elk, coyotes, badgers and perhaps a few bears along the way.

Washington D.C.

Our country’s capital has earned its place on the list of exciting East Coast vacation destinations. Not only can you soak up loads of our country’s history by checking out the classic attractions like the White House, Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, you can also enjoy the many hip restaurants, cafes, clubs and boutiques. Endless opportunities abound to learn about our past at museums like the Smithsonian, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Newseum, and the Mount Vernon Estate. It’s impossible to leave the city without feeling a deeper connection to our roots and pride in the country we call home.

News You Can Use – August 2020

261 0 01 Aug 2020

Zucchini Pancakes

Ingredients

    • 1/3 c. Bisquick or baking mix
    • 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/8 tsp. pepper
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 c. shredded zucchini
    • 1/4c. finely chopped onion
    • 2 tbsp. butter

Directions

    1. Mix all dry ingredients.
    2. Add eggs and mix.
    3. Add zucchini and onion, folding ingredients together.
    4. Melt butter in pan.
    5. Cook in pan like potato pancakes turning when golden brown.
    6. Serve with sour cream.  I love these!
 

 

13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY  14411
Phone 585 589-6236
information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com

 


Just Keep Talking

Referral Program

 

Do You Have the Right Stuff?

Do You Know Someone Who Does?

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. is looking for a “Sales Superstar” and if you refer them to us, we will give you a $500.00 finder’s fee!  That’s right – if the person you refer is hired and stays with The Southcott Agency Inc. for 6 months – we will give you $500.00!

 

Interested? Respond to us via email IMMEDIATELY and you will be contacted for a telephone interview.  You need to do 2 things to apply:

 

  1. The only way to apply is to email your resume with references attached to mike@thesouthcottagency.com with the subject “I am your next Team Member”. Do not call or stop by the office.
  2. In the body of the email write a short essay (less than 10 sentences) on one of the following topics:
    • Describe the person (past, present, dead, or living) you most admire and why?  OR
    • Describe an experience that has been most valuable to you and why?

 

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

 

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

 


August 8th is National Sneak Some Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch Day (again)!

 


 

Important Crop Insurance Information

  • You must notify the company and receive authorization to replant or destroy a crop.
  • Prevented planting claims require a loss notice and must be submitted in a timely manner.
  • When cropping for silage and a loss is suspected, the crop must be appraised first or adjuster approved check strips must be left in the field.
  • There can be no production from prior years left in storage unless an adjuster or another USDA Agency employee has measured it prior to the current year’s production being added.
  • If mycotoxins such as Aflatoxin are suspected, appropriate samples must be obtained by an Approved Insurance Provider (AIP) adjuster or approved, trained, disinterested third party before production is put in storage.
  • MPCI production losses must be submitted no later than 15 days after the end of the insurance period for the crop.
  • Revenue loss notices must be submitted no later than 45 days after the harvest price is released for the crop.
  • Elevator moisture shrink may be different from MPCI moisture shrink.  Corn is 15%.  Soybeans are 13%.
  • Policies with Optional Units or more than one Basic Unit must keep production records separate by unit.
  • Crop-Hail losses need to be reported on a storm by storm basis.  Losses will not be adjusted until approximately 10 days after the storm date.

As always, call the office if you have questions concerning your claim.  Phone (585) 589-6236.

 


Add Fall Color

Give your flower border a late-summer injection of color by adding a generous helping of chrysanthemums. Available in an almost unlimited selection of colors, shapes, and flower forms, chrysanthemums go well with any garden decor. Plus, because they are sold in bud or bloom, they’ll add instant impact to pots, planters, or flower borders.

Their nectar-rich flowers attract a variety of colorful pollinators including migrating Monarch butterflies. Mix single- and double-flowering varieties with asters, pansies, and other fall bloomers.

 

 

Garden Tip: Chrysanthemums are available in two general categories: florist and garden. Florist mums are ideal for gift giving, but if you want color for your flower border, make sure you purchase garden mums that are tough enough to tolerate outdoor conditions.

 


Insuring Classic Cars

 

 

Insuring Classic Cars

I have a soft spot for classic cars. It’s probably partially a result of my father who could tinker and fix almost any vehicle, and if he couldn’t, my youngest brother could.  Now we enjoy celebrating automobiles every time we see a well-maintained vintage ride rolling down the road. There’s just something about seeing one that makes me smile.

I know I’m not the only person that feels that way, as there are plenty of classic car shows all around the country. Our area offers “cruise-in” classic car events all over Western New York.  Our parades usually feature locals in there classy chassies and festivals host a variety of car shows that offer prizes and recognition in many divisions.

The Southcott Agency Inc. uses several carriers to cover specialty vehicles; these include Haggerty, American Modern and J.C. Taylor. Our office relies on their expert underwriting to give our clients the best protection. 

All providers require proof of a personal automobile policy in place with your “regular” vehicle insured before they will insure your classic and custom vehicles.

It is a much bigger hobby than you might expect. Mainly because of the sub-genres inside the hobby—hot-rod, pre-war antiques, muscle cars, imports—you name it. The sheer number of niches can make the hobby seem and feel even bigger.

For example, J.C. Taylor insures antique and classic autos that fall under these categories:

Antiques & Classics

            Muscle cars                                           Light Trucks

            Vintage Motorcycles                            Farm Tractors

            Steam Automobiles                              Antique Delivery Trucks

            Horseless Carriages                              Military Vehicles

Modified & Customs

             Modified                                               Hot Rods

             Customs                                                Exotics

             Replicas                                                Rare Vehicles

             Kit Cars                                                 Resto-Mods

For more information about insuring your classic vehicle, you will find Mike’s latest blog on our website, www.thesouthcottagency.com and call the office for a quote.

 


Reduce Your Insurance Costs…

Beware of Bad Advice!

 

Many Americans are struggling financially in the current economy, particularly those struck by lay-offs, and are faced with tough decisions about how to reduce expenses. As a result, much has been written in recent months about how to reduce insurance premiums as one aspect of a belt-tightening strategy. Unfortunately, too much of this advice has been BAD and much of this bad advice comes from consumer web sites and publications that have little understanding of insurance and risk management.

Consumers shop for most things based on value, not just price. The same should be true for insurance which is far too often portrayed as some sort of homogenous commodity.  So, the next time you see a cute or clever sales pitch from a lizard, cave man, or giggling Walmart-like “pick your price” aisle clerk, ask what you’re buying. The amount of coverage you need depends on your exposure to loss and what assets and income you need to protect today and, in the future, not what you’d like to pay.  As always, we ask you to call the office (585) 589-6236 if you have concerns about your coverage. Mike’s complete blog on Bad Insurance Advice can be found on our website, www.thesouthcottagency.com

 

 


From the

“Sunday Magazine” 1871:

“The art of letter-writing is fast dying out. When a letter cost ninepence, it seemed but fair to try to make it worth ninepence… Now, however, we think we are too busy for such old-fashioned correspondence. We fire off a multitude of rapid and short notes, instead of sitting down to have a good talk upon a real sheet of paper.”

This quote gave me pause as I reflected on how texting and other technology has taken the place of documented thoughts and wishes.  As a child, I had a pen pal whom I exchanged holiday cards and letters.  What excitement came with her letters, as if the hand written post was a valuable gift.  Today our office still sends hand written thank you cards and I enjoy sending a note to friends occasionally, but rarely a long letter.  Some of my most cherished processions are Mike’s love letters during our college years, our daughter’s cards and notes and now our grandchildren’s handmade cards.

 

Here a few reasons why we should try harder to revive the lost art of letter writing.

It’s a Special Expression of Love

Receiving a letter in the mail holds an extraordinary kind of wonderment, like finding a gem hidden amongst a pile of pebbles. It makes people feel special and valued.  An intimate connection which texting cannot replicate.

It’s an Art Form

To me, each part of a letter is a work of art. The stationary, decorated beautifully with a reflection of the writer’s personality and style. The words, pondered and written one-by-one to convey an emotion or memory.

It Improves Memory Function

Writing things by hand has been scientifically proven to aid and increase one’s memory recall. By creating the individual letters and connecting them together, you’re entrenching passages in your memory, which can improve your spelling and help you remember details like names and addresses.

It Allows Reflection & Relaxation

The act of composing a letter creates in your day a moment to disconnect from the cyberspace hustle. You can slow down and think.

It Reaches Out to Those Offline

Prepare your heart for this shocking fact—not everyone in the world uses e-mail or social media.

It Connects us to the Past

“The Love Letter” by 19th century painter, Sir Samuel Luke Fildes. / Source: Pinterest

While writing a letter, your imagination can travel back in time and revel in the ways of yesteryear. Back when one wrote by gaslight or flickering candle flame. When receiving letters was an anticipated event, and writing them an enjoyable pastime, a tangible way of connecting two hearts across the miles.

It Connects us to the Future

There’s a reason people save old letters rather than old e-mails. Letters retain a tangible piece of the person who penned them, even after that person is gone. Not simply their words, but their hearts expressed through those words. Their state of mind and personality reflected in each unique stroke of the pen. In the years to come, your grandchildren might want to read a letter you wrote.

 

 


The Best Road Trip Ever!

Road trip games are games you play while in the car with others. Road trip games can turn a boring drive into a fun experience that can make you laugh out loud and bring you closer together. The best way to pass the time and ensure a vacation is full of happy memories is to plan out some road trip games ahead of time.

 

  • Categories. One person picks a category (ex: Britney Spear’s songs, NFL teams, flavors of La Croix) and everyone takes turns naming something in that category until someone (the loser) is stumped.
  • Alphabet. Take turns going through the alphabet. Each player must find the next letter either on something in the car (like the stereo screen) or license plates, or road signs.
  • Going on a Picnic. This is a story memory game where someone says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring….” and then lists an item. The next person begins I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring….” and must list the first person’s item before adding their own item. The list grows and grows and the first person to not be able to correctly list all the items is the loser (or out, if you have enough people to play in elimination rounds).
  • I Spy. The road trip classic. One person says “I spy with my little eye…. something” and then vaguely describes something they see, like “I spy something red”. The other players take turn asking yes or no questions until they can guess what the item is.
  • Story. One person says a word that begins a story. Take turns adding one word onto the story and see where it ends up!
  • The License Plate Game. Interpret the letters in each license plate you pass. For instance, REG could stand for “Ron eats garbage” and CSB could be “Claire smells bad”.
  • Would You Rather. Play an epic game of Would You Rather. Try to stump the other person with the weirdest or most difficult questions you can come up with.
  • Scavenger Hunt. Before you leave prepare a list of common things you’d see along the road: cows, a mileage sign, a motorcycle, a barn, a police car, an RV, etc. You can personalize it if you know the route well. Each person tries to check off as many of the scavenger hunt items as they spot.
  • The License Plate Game. Try to find a license plate from every state. Or, try to find a license plate that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Or, see who can spot a license plate from the farthest away place — whoever calls it first gets the credit!
  • Rhyme. One person picks a word and everyone has to go around saying a word that rhymes with it. The first person to be stumped or to repeat a word loses.
  • Rule. Everyone in the car gets to make one nonsense rule, like “every time we go under a bridge everyone needs to bark like a dog” or “whenever I put my hat on everyone has to touch the roof of the car”. Every time a rule is enforced everyone but the last person to catch on gains a point. Whoever has the least points when you get to your destination loses.
  • The Quiet Game. Everyone sees how long they can be quiet, whoever speaks the first loses. (This is an especially fun game to play with kids when you need a little downtime).
  • Punch Buggy. Every time you see a Volkswagen Beetle, the first person to see it gets to punch someone else in the arm.
  • Read short stories aloud. Find short funny or interesting stories to read aloud. If you’re doing a creepy drive, read something scary.
  • Car Bingo. Come up with a list of vehicle types that everyone will be searching for. The first person to cross every car off their list wins! 

Have fun on your next road trip!

 


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

News You Can Use – July 2020

196 0 01 Jul 2020

GRILLED TACO DIP

This recipe can be grilled along side your burgers or hot dogs.

Start with a 10-inch cast iron skillet and add the ingredients in the order listed:

          • 8 oz. package of cream cheese cubed
          • 16 oz.  can refried beans spooned between cubes of cream cheese
          • 2 T. Taco seasoning mix – sprinkled evenly on top
          • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
          • 1 cup salsa

Top with another 1 cup shredded Cheddar

Serve hot from the grill and add extra toppings like chopped onions, peppers, black olives, and avocado. Serve with chips.

 
13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY  14411
Phone 585 589-6236
information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com

 


Just Keep Talking

Referral Program

 

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

 

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

 


Update on Refunds & Payment Deferrals

Some insurance companies have refunded premium during the Corona Virus Pandemic.  Please call the office to see how your carrier is dealing with the pandemic.

Today’s  new emergency regulation directs property and casualty insurers to provide flexibility to consumers experiencing financial hardship caused by the pandemic by continuing to extend the grace period for the payment of premiums and fees under auto, homeowners and renters insurance policies, among others. The same relief will be available for businesses with 100 employees or less, independently owned and operated and resident in New York, under auto, homeowners, renters, workers’ compensation, and certain other lines of commercial insurance.

DFS requires property and casualty insurers to provide the following relief to consumers and small businesses who can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19:

  • Provide an extended grace period for the cancellation, conditional renewal or non-renewal of a policyholder’s insurance policy;
  • Allow premiums due but not paid during the 60-day period to be paid over the course of the following year in 12 equal monthly installments; and
  • Waive any late payment fees, and not report late payments to credit rating agencies, during the 60-day period.

 

**This government policy is somewhat confusing because the deferred payment is actually deferred over the current policy period. Please call the office 585 589-6236 to find out your carrier’s policy on deferment.

 


Keeping your home cool in the summer

I always look forward to the warm weather that summer brings, but when I’m dreaming of sunny days, I usually forget how difficult it can be to adapt to the heat. Rising temperatures can make even those with the sunniest dispositions rather grumpy. During times when you’re sweating and baking in stifling heat, you want your house to be a cool, comfortable oasis, not a sweltering prison.         

In these situations, your air conditioner can save the day. So here are several tips to make sure your air conditioning unit is working efficiently and effectively:

 

  • Be sure your air conditioner is properly sized for your home.
  • Avoid air conditioning unused rooms.
  • Ensure that your air ducts are properly sealed and insulated.
  • Provide shade for the outside half of your air conditioner.
  • Clean your air conditioner’s air filter at least once a month to increase the air flow.

A well-functioning air conditioner is great for surviving the summer heat. But constantly keeping one running uses a lot of energy and raises monthly electric bills. To cut down on energy usage, it’s a good idea to have a few alternatives for beating the heat. Here are a few ideas for staying cool in your home during the summer without air conditioning:

  • Cook your meals outside on a grill instead of preparing food with an indoor stove or oven.
  • Open the windows and let the cooler nighttime air in before you go to bed.
  • Turn on bathroom fans after you take a shower and turn on the exhaust fan in your kitchen after you cook. This will blow away the hot air that is created by both activities.
  • Unplug your electronics when they are not in use. Even if they are turned off, your gadgets will produce heat when they are plugged in.
  • Make sure your house is properly insulated. A well-done insulation project will keep your home cool in the summer as well as warm in the winter.
  • Plant trees around your home to create shade.
  • Refrain from using appliances like dishwashers until cooler parts of the day.
  • Sleep with cotton bed sheets instead of satin, silk or polyester. Cotton is lightweight and will allow for much more airflow.
  • Be creative and experiment with fans. Try facing box fans out the windows so they push away hot air, or make a DIY air conditioner by placing a pan or bowl of ice in front of a fan.
  • Turn off the lights as often as you can. Light bulbs give off heat, so try to use them minimally and take advantage of summer’s longer daylight hours.

These ideas may be exactly what you need to keep your home cool in the summer. Making sure you and your family are comfortable at home is the first step to making the most of this wild and wonderful season!

 


  • Over 150 million hot dogs will be eaten this 4th of July
  • Oddly, the majority of our nations flags and patriotic paraphernalia are made in China.
  • The first 4th of July party was held at the white house in 1801.
  • The 4th of July was not declared a national holiday until 1941.
  • The youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence was 26, and the oldest was 70.
  • When the United States became a country there were approximately 2.5 million people. Today there are more than 304 million.
  • Three U.S. Presidents, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe, died on July 4th.

 


Heat Stroke and Heat Exhaustion

– Limit Strenous Outdoor Activity

 

When temperatures reach sweltering, it’s not just uncomfortable — it’s also dangerous and potentially deadly. Extreme heat sends an average of 65,000 Americans to emergency rooms annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke, the most dangerous of the heat-related illnesses, can occur when the body is unable to properly cool down after prolonged exposure to excessive heat (such as working or exercising outdoors). Heat stroke is a more severe case of heat exhaustion, Dr. Kapur explains. The good news? It’s preventable.

 

 

Prevent It

            Kim Knowlton, PhD, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University in New York City,people to slow down and adjust work and activity schedules to keep cool during midday, when the sun tends to be the strongest.

Here are some symptoms to look out for, according to the CDC:

  • A body temperature of 103 degrees F or higher
  • Hot, red, dry, or damp skin
  • A fast pulse
  • Headache, dizziness, or
  • confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, clammy skin
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Muscle Cramps

 


Deadlines for Crop Insurance

  • Acreage reports must be signed by July 15th for corn, soybeans, potatoes, and oats.
  • Acreage reports must be signed by August 15th for cabbage, processing beans, processing sweet corn, and fresh market beans.
  • Acreage reports must include:
    1. Planted acres and plant dates
    2. Prevented planted acres by crop
    3. Common land units, farm #’s, tract #’s, field #’s

 

Please call the office (585)589-6236 as soon as you are ready or as soon as your acreage report is done at the Farm Service office.

Premiums will be issued after acreage report is filed and will be due by September 1st.  Interest will be added as of October 1st and every month thereafter.

 


What is a Personal Umbrella?

A personal umbrella provides affordable coverage beyond your basic policies, such

as your home-owners, renters, auto or watercraft policies. It helps protect your assets (your home, for example) and future earnings and pays for defense costs in the event that you are sued.

Do I need it?

Yes…. Because everyone makes mistakes that can lead to a lawsuit. Even if you’re not at fault, a Personal Umbrella policy can also cover defense costs.

For more information on how to protect yourself and your family, please call the office at 585 589-6236.

 

 

My take-aways:

  • Small minds talk about problems, criticize, and belittle.
  • Average minds talk about the past , but don’t use it to propel them into a higher better future.
  • Great minds talk about goals and new ways to improve themselves while raising others up around them.

 


Remember Safety While Driving with Pets

 

 

Traveling in automobiles can be extremely dangerous for your family companion – and you.

Loose pets inside of vehicles can become a deadly distraction for drivers. Moreover, unrestrained pets can become hazards themselves during an accident.

 

Here are a few important tips that will help to keep you, your best friend, and others safe and happy on your next trip:

  • Just in case you and your pet become separated, be sure that all ID tags are properly affixed to your pet’s collar and that they have your current contact information, including cell number(s).
  • Update your microchip registration and pet license information to ensure its current.
  • Never leave pets unattended inside of vehicles. Remember that cars heat up fast – even with the windows cracked!
  • Properly restrain, contain or crate your pets inside of your vehicle prior to your trip. Consider purchasing a specially designed pet seatbelt, carrier or barrier to avoid irreversible consequences due to distractions or other mishaps.
  • Never allow pets to sit on your lap or remain in the front seat while you drive.
  • Never allow pets to stick any portion of their bodies out the window. Although most dogs love to stick their heads out open windows, the wind can seriously irritate mucous membranes and blow pieces of grit or other debris into their eyes. Pets could also be seriously injured by objects as you drive down the road.
  • Pets should never be transported in the bed of a pickup truck. Not only could your pet injure, or even kill himself/herself – he/she could cause an accident which may harm someone else. It is estimated that at least 100,000 dogs die in accidents each year because they were riding in truck beds.
  • Do not leash your pet inside of a truck bed even when parked to avoid strangulation hazards and because open truck beds do not provide any protection from the weather. The hot sun can heat the metal floor of a truck bed enough to burn a pet’s paws. A dog left sitting in the broiling sun without water or shade may suffer from heat stroke.

Keeping pets safe is every pet owner’s responsibility. Being a safe driver is not only your obligation – it’s the law!

 


*** July 24th is Tell an Old Joke Day!

 

Where was The Declaration of Independence signed?

At the bottom

 

How is a healthy person like the United States?

They both have good constitutions.

 

What kind of tea did the American Colonists drink?

Liberty

 

How come there’s no knock knock jokes about the 4th of July?

Because freedom rings. What did one flag say to the other? Nothing, it just waved.

 


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

Personal Property Protection – Is Your Coverage Adequate?

424 0 25 Jun 2020

Congratulations! You just bought an ATV or received a diamond anniversary band. Do you have an art collection or heirloom silverware and china? That’s wonderful, but no matter how much personal property insurance you have on your homeowner’s policy, there are special limits of liability and certain items that are not covered.

Saving money is important to all of us, but we have to make sure we are protected as much as possible for the money we spend on insurance.  Ask yourself, “Is my coverage adequate?” Is your coverage meeting the needs of your family?  To what extent are your valuables covered?  Personal property coverage is described in Coverage C of your homeowner’s policy. Depending on your policy, a certain percentage (usually50% – 70%) of the amount covering your home will cover your personal property.

In fact, that personal property protection will follow you beyond your home.  A few years back, our client’s daughter attended college in Rochester.  She and her roommate rented an off-campus apartment that unfortunately experienced a fire. Although she and her roommate were not hurt, her personal property was a total loss.  This included all of her clothing, furniture, college books, computer, and so much more. Fortunately, her father called the office and I reassured him that 10% of coverage C could be used to replace her damaged property.  Like most college students his daughter’s cell phone contained many pictures of her apartment.  She had saved receipts from her computer and college books that gave the insurance adjuster a great picture of the loss.

Personal property of college students is subject to the 10% limit of their parent’s Coverage C.  According to most insurance experts, in most cases, the 10% limit under the parents’ Homeowners Policy is usually sufficient.  If more coverage is needed, some item can have increased coverage as described below or, the student can purchase a renter’s policy.

The Homeowner’s Policy provides extremely broad coverage for personal property. It covers personal property owned or USED by an insured ANYWHERE in the world.  Coverage C follows your property when in or on a motor vehicle. Property at your camp or second residence is included. Property stored in a storage facility also has the same protection as items found in your home.  However, this becomes complicated by the many limits, conditions and exclusions found in Coverage C.

There are special Limits of Liability no matter how much coverage C, personal property coverage, you have on your homeowner’s policy. Insurance companies vary significantly on the amount of Coverage C for personal items. A typical policy may include specific or special limits something like this:

$200 on money, book notes, bullion, gold, silver, medals.

$1,500 on securities, accounts, deeds, letters of credit, evidence of debt, bank notes, passports, tickets, stamps

$1,500 on watercraft of all types including their trailers and furnishing equipment

$1,500 for loss or theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semi-precious stones

$2,500 for loss of firearms and related equipment

$2,500 for loss or theft of silverware, goldware and trophies

$2,500 for property used for business purposes

$1,500 for electronic apparatus and accessories while upon or in a motor vehicle

$1,500 for electronic apparatus used primarily for business

Some companies state that scheduled item in excess of $2,500 requires an appraisal that is no more than three years old.  The appraisal must be done by a qualified merchant, with an understanding of the characteristics of the property involved.  Items under $2,500 still need a complete description.

Properties Not Covered: Animals, birds, fish, motor vehicles including snowmobiles, ATVs, RTVs, and mini-bikes

More Specifically:

Property Not Covered. We do not cover:

Motor vehicles or any other motorized land conveyances. This includes:

 1.    Their equipment and accessories; or

2.     Electronic apparatus that is designed to be operated solely by the use of the power from the electrical system of motor vehicles or all other motorized land conveyances. Electronic apparatus includes:

a. Accessories or antennas; or

b. Tapes, wires, records, discs or other media; for use with any electronic apparatus.

We do cover vehicles or conveyances not subject to motor vehicle registration which are:

1.    Used to service an “insured’s” residence; like a lawnmower

2.    Designed for assisting the handicapped;

So, unless the ATV is used to service the residence or assist the handicapped (unlikely), there is no coverage. There are recreational vehicle policies designed to cover the property and liability exposures of such vehicles.

Items that you can increase coverage with a personal property floater for an additional premium:

a. Jewelry, watches, furs

b. Firearms

c. Money & Securities

d. Silverware

e. Electronics

Items that need a separate policy:

a. Large boats

b. ATVs & RTVs

c. Motorcycles & Snowmobiles

Remember, we do not know what personal property you purchase or its value unless you tell us.  We cannot provide you with adequate coverage during a loss if we are not informed.

An important step to adequate coverage employs taking inventory of your property.

Start by taking photographs or video recordings of your home.  Be sure to include the contents of cupboards and closets.  Remember to clearly record electronics, silverware, jewelry and other valuables.

To estimate the dollar value of your possessions,

  • List the items in each room.
  • Calculate the value of each item and its age.
  • Total the value of the items in each room.
  • Figure the grand total of your home’s contents.

You can request a personal property Household Inventory Guide by calling the office at 585 589-6236 or by emailing the office at information@thesouthcottagency.com

The inventory record will break down your personal property by rooms and list the most common contents found in the room.  It includes the curtains, decorations, artwork and electronics commonly found there as a reminder and guide.  Many times, areas like the attic are overlooked even though they may store heirlooms and other valuables.  The garage and basement are probably full of gardening tools, power tools and equipment.  Lawn furniture and grill can also be expensive to replace.  The inventory also separates personal effects for men, women, and children.

One area often overlooked is hobbies and sports equipment.  If you took inventory of these items you might be shocked by the amount of money you have invested in items like photographic equipment, exercise equipment, bicycles, camping equipment, sewing supplies, hunting gear and so much more.

Pay particular attention to items that have limitations on the coverage amount.  Your pictures, videos and actual appraisals will make settling a loss much easier.  Remember many of these valuables have limits of coverage and require a “floater” or endorsement that will increase the policy premium.  These endorsements are absolutely necessary to insure their maximum worth.

There is no avoiding the facts.  There really is more to homeowner’s insurance than saving money!  In fact, while it’s nice to lower your insurance costs, it’s even more important to make sure you, your loved ones, and your assets are adequately covered.  It may not be a pleasant thought, but insurance is about the worst-case scenarios.  It is mostly about peace of mind, knowing that you have the worst-case scenarios covered.

We invite you to call the office (585) 589-6236 when you have questions regarding the coverage of your personal property and for additional coverage on items that are not included in Coverage C.

Wheat field

Building an Effective Crop Insurance Program – Understanding Unit Structure

291 0 16 Jun 2020

The key to providing accurate information in a timely manner is good communication. When we call our clients to remind them it is time to collect accurate information, an acreage report, or production report, we understand they do not wake up every morning thinking about their crop insurance agent or their crop insurance program and may not be ready with the needed information.

We realize we may have to call a second time to remind you to get your information ready.  When you do not take responsibility for your crop insurance program and your acreage and production reports become late or non-existent is when you’re crop insurance program becomes ineffective.

The important element to understand, that will greatly improve the effectiveness of your Federal crop insurance program is to understand what unit options are available to the crops that you are growing.

There are many different unit options and they are found in different documents of the crop insurance policy.  Why is there so much discussion on units? What is so important about units anyway? The reason is statistical information gathered from the history of claim studies show that individual farms that use unit options in their Federal crop insurance strategies participate in more claims and receive higher payouts from those claims. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that if this coming year you implemented units to your Federal crop insurance program that you will have a claim or that a possible claim would be any larger. However, if you implement consistent unit strategies, over time you will have a greater chance of participating in more claims.  When you do participate in a claim, on average, you could possibly receive a larger payout.

A unit refers to the way we report the acreage of an insured crop that you have planted. A basic unit is all the acreage of that particular crop planted in the same county. Basic units can be established by ownership share. For example, if I planted 1000 acres of crop A, I have a 1000 acre basic unit. When 200 acres of those 1000 acres have a low yield due to a weather event I may not have a claim due to the fact the other 800 acres did well and had a high yield. There is a premium discount for choosing the basic unit structure as your reporting option. This is because statistically, you will participate in fewer claims and therefore are charged a lower premium.

An optional unit is when you break up that thousand acres of a planted crop and report in smaller units. For example, let us say that you implemented a strategy for your farm using one or more of the rules that allow us to break your farm up into units and you end up with four units that look like:

  • Unit 1 = 300 acres
  • Unit 2 = 200 acres
  • Unit 3 = 280 acres
  • Unit 4 = 220 acres

Now that 200 acres in unit two had a low yield and we file a claim, and that 200 acres stand alone no matter if the other 800 acres in the other 3 units did well. Optional units will increase your insurance premium per acre but, this will increase our ability to participate in a claim. This is increasingly important as farms continue to grow and get larger and their crop growing risks are spread over increasing geographical areas.

As discussed earlier the crop insurance provisions give different crops different unit options. However, not all unit options apply to all crops. For example, the discussion on the sectional equivalent option is a great strategy to implement Federal crop insurance to any grain crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, and oats. This option is not available to any of your fruit crops like apples, peaches, grapes, and cherries.

When we have taken the time to understand the importance of units, determine which unit option best applies to the crops you grow and implement those unit option strategies, there is a second component to the unit rules. A farm producer is required to maintain his production records by these same units. The penalty for not keeping production records according to these units is that the insurance provider would collapse your acreage reported by units back into a basic unit that would include all reported acres.

Over the years with all the technologies applied to modern agriculture, providing production records down to the unit level has become easier and more effective. The handling of certain crops by their very nature makes production reporting easier, for example by using precision farming technologies to record a grain harvested by a combine. There are situations where the buyer of the commodity is keeping track of your production for processing crops such as peas, snap beans and sweet corn. However, for some crops and for some farms, keeping production records down to the unit level is a challenge. In the crop insurance standards handbook the paragraph on records states: The following records or similar records from a third-party of commercially sold or stored production are acceptable:

1. Bin records                                                                                        8. Warehouse receipts

2. Ledger records                                                                                9. Elevator receipts

3. Load summaries                                                                            10. Settlement sheets

4. Processor records                                                                          11. Storage facility records

5. Buyer records                                                                                  12. Packer records

6. Distiller records                                                                              13. Boiler house receipts

7. First handler reports

 

The crop insurance standards handbook goes on to state what information needs to be included with these records.

  • The Crop
  • Quantity of production & unit of measure
  • Name of the insured
  • Unit number, block number, location
  • Date of transaction
  • Nature of 3rd party, broker, buyer, handler
  • Type of practice of crop
  • Crop year commodity was produced
  • Planting periods if crop has 2 planting periods

This sounds extremely easy; on the other hand, this can be very cumbersome. Let’s look at an example where the rules would allow a grower to have optional units however the grower cannot meet the requirement to report his production by those separate units.

We had a grape grower producing roughly 20 acres of grapes all in one block. Part of the land that these grapes were grown on was owned by the farmer and part of the land that these grapes were grown on was owned by his father. At the county Farm Service Agency office, each individual had their own farm serial number, tract number, field number. Under the rules and procedures outlined in the common policy provisions, this farm could have two units, by separate shares (ownership) designated by the two separate farm serial numbers.

Does this farm have two units? The answer is no! When these grapes get harvested, the custom harvester comes in and harvests the whole block of grapes. When done the farm producer receives one production number of the total tons of grapes off that block. The harvester does not know where the artificial line in the field is that separates the two farm serial numbers and therefore cannot stop and harvest the acreage on one farm serial number vs. the other. Even though this grower qualifies for optional units, the method of harvest and lack of a third-party providing acceptable records prevents him from implementing optional unit strategy and has one basic unit of grapes.  You can get a more complete picture of how you can make your crop insurance work for you by reading my book, The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Crop Insurance.

News You Can Use – June 2020

238 0 01 Jun 2020

Fresh Squash Salad

 

 

Ingredients

    • 5 tablespoons prepared Pesto
    • 2 tablespoon Italian Salad Dressing
    • 1 cup thinly sliced Zucchini
    • 1-1/2 cups thinly sliced Yellow Summer Squash
  • 1-3/4 cups thinly sliced Cucumbers
  • 3/4 cup fresh Peas
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green Onions
  • 5 thick-sliced Bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

 

Directions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the first 2 ingredients until blended.
  2. In another bowl, combine squash, cucumbers, peas, Parmesan and green onions.
  3. Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat.
  4. Top with bacon to serve.

 

13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY  14411
Phone 585 589-6236
information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com

 


Just Keep Talking

Referral Program

 

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

 

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

 


Crop Insurance News

 Prevented Planting  

 

          Both corn and soybeans have a prevented planting provision in their crop insurance policy.  Any acreage not planted due to excess moisture before June 10th, may qualify for a prevented planting indemnity.  Both corn and soybeans have a late plant period out to July 5th.  The provisions require you to report a prevented planting claim 72 hours from your last plant date and no later than July 5th.  You then report your actual planted acres and actual prevented acres by July 15th.  The highest payment for corn is 60% of your actual acre liability.  For soybeans it is 65% of your actual acre liability.  All acreage reports must be done using maps and common land units, farm serial numbers and tract and field numbers.

          We will be touching base with you by phone or in person after June 10th.  If you have questions do not hesitate to call the office @ 585 589-6236.

 


Looking for a fun activity to share with Dad

 

Find 4 Pine cones
Find a mushroom or fungus
Find something red
Find 2 things that can fly
Find 2 tree stumps
Find 2 different leaves
Find a Feather
Find a yellow flower
Find a Seed
Find something that crawls
Find 3 smooth rocks
Find something that smells good
Find a spiders web
Find something soft

 


 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Driving with a Trailer

 

Whether you’re taking a road trip or taking the family camping, driving with a trailer can be a challenge. When you add a trailer to your vehicle, the overall handling and rules of driving dramatically change. Using your hitch to tow your favorite travel trailer means you should give yourself more time to slow down and turn corners. It’s important that drivers of all experience use trailer brakes to decrease speed evenly with the added weight that’s being towed. And, because trailers don’t follow the exact path as the vehicle on turns, always remember to safely swing out wider when traveling around bends and corners.

 

Here are some do’s and don’ts of towing to keep you safe on the road.

Do’s

  • Gradually reduce speed
  • Travel at an even, moderate speed
  • Steady the steering wheel — sudden turns can cause more sway
  • Be cautious of potholes and large bumps
  • Use a lower gear over large hills or down gravel roads
  • Avoid slamming on the brakes — jackknifing could occur

 

Don’ts

  • Consistently stay in overdrive and/or in a high gear
  • Attempt to steer out of trailer sway
  • Forget to add sway control or a weight distribution system
  • Be afraid to safely stop and reload trailer in case of engine problems, sway, flat tires, etc.

 


Seeds of Success

by Heather Tabor

 

Do you love the big blooming hanging baskets that you see at your local garden center or you received for Mother’s Day?  Every Spring is a challenge to keep that pot blooming and beautiful.  Are you losing the battle and find the hanging basket more fit for your compost pile than your front porch?  Here are a few seeds of success that could change your luck this season.  First make sure the basket is in the right location. Impatiens and begonias are perfect in shaded areas, while petunias, million bells, scavolla, nostrum, fuchsia and portulaca require 6 – 8 hours of direct sunlight.  Now that the basket is in the right location, try watering in the morning so it will have the moisture it needs during the day.  The bigger the basket and sunnier the location, means even more water will be needed.  Adding a gallon of water daily to a 10-inch basket may be necessary.  If your basket dries too fast between watering, try laying a baby diaper, absorbent side up, on the inside bottom of the basket.  Lastly, add fertilizer according to the package directions to keep your basket beautiful and blooming.

 


Congratulations!

Did you just buy an ATV or a diamond anniversary band?  That’s wonderful news, but no matter how much property insurance you have, there are special limits of liability and certain items that are not covered. 

 

There are special Limits of Liability no matter how much coverage C, personal property coverage, you have on your homeowner’s policy.  Most policies look something like this:

  • $200 on money, book notes, bullion, gold, silver, medals, prescriptions.
  • $1,500 on securities, accounts, deeds, letters of credit, evidence of debt, bank notes, passports, tickets, stamps
  • $1,500 on watercraft of all types including their trailers, furnishing equipment
  • $1,500 for loss or theft of jewelry, watches, furs, precious and semi-precious stones
  • $2,500 for loss of firearms and related equipment
  • $2,500 for loss or theft of silverware, goldware and trophies
  • $2,500 for property used for business purposes
  • $1,500 for electronic apparatus and accessories while upon or in a motor vehicle
  • $1,500 for electronic apparatus used primarily for business

Properties Not Covered:

  • Animals, birds, fish
  • Motor vehicles including snowmobiles, ATVs, RTVs, and mini-bikes

 Items that you can increase coverage with a personal property floater for additional premium:

  • Jewelry, watches, furs
  • Firearms
  • Money & Securities
  • Silverware
  • Electronics

Items that need a separate policy:

  • Large boats
  • ATVs & RTVs
  • Motorcycles & Snowmobiles

 

Remember, we do not know what personal property you purchase or its value unless you tell us.  We cannot provide you with adequate coverage during a loss if we are not informed.

 


Mike Sills is our monthly $50.00 gift card winner!

(No Photo—we are social distancing )

A special thanks to all our friends for sending referrals our way: Deb Boyer, OK Farms, David Beachy, Shauna Poler, Donald & Marie King, Ryan Kehl, Dan & Deb Sievert, Nate Keppler, and Andy Greenwell.

 


It’s time to live in the sunshine!

The summer is just starting to roll, campsites are reopening, so head out with family for a weekend in the great outdoors! Camping at a local campground or state park could be just what you need to help with anxiety and other pandemic issues. The birds chirping, the bugs buzzing and the sun beating down on your tent will remind you that through all our trials, we are blessed.

It’s the knowledge that we will share with you here that separates the amateurs from the seasoned campers. You want to be a seasoned camper, don’t you? The prepared one that everyone goes to if they need duct tape, dental floss or any other random item. We will help you become that go-to-guy or gal with this simple checklist.

 

Prepared Camper checklist:

  • Tent, tarp and sleeping bags (I’m sure you already knew that)
  • Extra blankets and towels
  • Waterproof matches, pots, pans and utensils
  • A utility knife and rope
  • Hammer
  • Extra stakes
  • Extra chairs
  • Emergency medical kit
  • Plenty of water (for drinking, cooking and cleaning)
  • Cooler packed full of delicious food, snacks and beverages
  • Dish soap and hand sanitizer
  • Duct tape (you can use this stuff for anything)
  • Dental floss (always handy after a dinner of fresh grilled chicken or steak)
  • Ziploc bags (so useful!)
  • Sunscreen/chap stick with SPF
  • Flashlight
  • Warm hat (80% of heat loss occurs through your head. You never know when you are going to get a chilly night)
  • Layers of clothes (no matter what time of year, it’s the easiest and most effective way to control your body temperature)
  • Playing cards/games (just for fun)

 


Healthy Eating

By Stacia Southcott Whitney
Registered Dietician

 

Did you know that our bodies are made up of 60% water and every system depends on water?  Water is important for healthy skin, hair and nails, as well as controlling body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. 

 Sometimes staying hydrated is challenging in the summer months.  To help prevent health problems related to dehydration, an average person should be drinking at least 1500ml./day.  If you are active your need increases.  Try adding fruit slices to a water pitcher if plain water is difficult for you to drink.

 


Payment Deferrals

Today’s emergency regulation directs property and casualty insurers to provide flexibility to consumers experiencing financial hardship caused by the pandemic by extending a 60 day grace period for the payment of premiums and fees under auto, homeowners and renters insurance policies, among others. The same relief will be available for businesses with 100 employees or less, independently owned and operated and resident in New York, under auto, homeowners, renters, workers’ compensation, and certain other lines of commercial insurance. DFS requires property and casualty insurers to provide the following relief to consumers and small businesses who can demonstrate financial hardship due to COVID-19:

 

  • Provide a 60-day grace period for the cancellation, conditional renewal or non-renewal of a policyholder’s insurance policy;
  • Allow premiums due but not paid during the 60-day period to be paid over the course of the following year in 12 equal monthly installments; and
  • Waive any late payment fees, and not report late payments to credit rating agencies, during the 60-day period.

 

**This government policy is somewhat confusing because the deferred payment is actually deferred over the current policy period. Please call the office 585 589-6236 to find out your carrier’s policy on deferment.

 


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

barn farm

The Importance of Accurate Acreage Reporting

158 0 27 May 2020

There are two things, very important things, which if you keep in mind & properly execute, will take you 90% of the way to building an effective crop insurance program.

  1. Accurate information reported in a timely manner.
  2. Understanding unit structure.

 

Let us start with accurate information.

What information and why is it important? There are two important aspects of your farm operation that form the basis of your insurance protection and therefore what you eventually see from a crop insurance claim.

First, an accurate acreage report meaning the total acres of a certain crop, when they were planted, and are they insured acres or uninsured acres?

Second, what is the production or yield that eventually came off those acres?

Why is this important?
Your insurance protection or what we call your acre guarantee is established from what we call APH or actual production history.
Whose history? Your own farm’s history.
What history? That depends on the crop being insured.

For example, most spring planted crops, such as corn, soybeans, potatoes, onions, cabbage, peas, processing snap beans, processing sweet corn have a 10-year database making up your history of acres planted and production from those acres that when averaged together becomes your actual production history. However, some perennial crops such as apples and peaches only use a five-year history to determine your actual production history.

Once an actual production history is established, using a 10-year history, you choose how much of that production you want to insure & guarantee. Your choices are in most cases 50% to 85% in increments of 5% (50%, 55%, 60%, 70%, 75%, 80%, and 85%). Be aware that with some crops the highest insurance coverage option available is 75%. Each increasing level of coverage provides a higher level of production guarantee and therefore a higher per acre premium.

There are two reasons the insurance premium per acre increases with increasing the level of insurance protection.
One, obviously the per acre guarantee of insurance protection is increasing.
Two, as we choose higher levels of coverage for example, we go from 60% coverage to 65% coverage or 70% coverage to 75% the level of federal government subsidy decreases so we are paying a higher percentage of the true premium. The 5% increase from 70% to 75% would cost more per acre than the 5% increase from 60% to 65%. Even though we are purchasing the same 5% increase in coverage, the federal government subsidy at the 75% level is less than the government subsidy at the 60% level.

Another part of providing accurate information with your acreage report and or production report is that these reports must be turned in on a timely manner.

There are specific times in the year that this information must be reported and turned in. These dates are different for each different crop. A late report or a completely missing report has extreme negative consequences on your crop insurance policy, your crop insurance coverage and correspondingly a crop insurance payment at the time of loss. For example, a missed acreage report results in no insurance coverage attaching to that crop for that year. The policy states that crop insurance attaches to the crop when the crop is planted and an acreage report is filed. No report, no insurance, no premium generated or billed, no claim payment if there is a crop loss.

This also could be the result with a late acreage report. However, when a late acreage report is filed, the crop insurance provisions allow the insurance provider to do a field inspection and accept the acreage report and allow insurance to attach to that crop. After the inspection the insurance provider has the right to deny the acreage report and the grower would end up with no insurance coverage for that crop year.

A late or missed production report also affects your insurance coverage in a negative way.  In the event that a production report is turned in after the production report date or never turned in and missed entirely the rules state that the insurance provider imposes a yield for that missed year. The rule gives instructions to the insurance provider to input 75% of the previous year’s yield as a plug for the missed year. This will result in a lower actual production history (A.P.H.) therefore, a lower insurance guarantee per acre therefore, a possible lower claim payment in the case of a crop loss in the current growing season.

This lower actual production history (APH) can be compounded in a situation where the previous year’s production was based on a crop loss and an insurance paid claim so that the 75% rule is applied to a low yield resulting from the previous year’s claim. Now we have an even lower actual production history, resulting in a lower insurance guarantee per acre, resulting in an even lower possible claim payment.

The key to providing accurate information in a timely manner is good communication. When we call our clients to remind them it is time to collect accurate information, an acreage report or production report, we understand they do not wake up every morning thinking about their crop insurance agent or their crop insurance program and may not be ready with the needed information.

We realize we may have to call a second time to remind you to get your information ready. However, people who make us call three or four times to remind them of the needed information give me the impression that crop insurance is more important to me than it is to them. When you do not take responsibility for your crop insurance program and your acreage and production reports become late or non-existent is when you’re crop insurance program becomes ineffective.

 

The second important element to understand, that will greatly improve the effectiveness of your Federal crop insurance program is to understand what unit options are available to the crops that you are growing.

There are many different unit options and they are found in different documents of the crop insurance policy.  Why is there so much discussion on units? What is so important about units anyway? The reason is statistical information gathered from the history of claim studies show that individual farms that use unit options in their Federal crop insurance strategies participate in more claims and receive higher payouts from those claims. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that if this coming year you implemented units to your Federal crop insurance program that you will have a claim or that a possible claim would be any larger. However, if you implement consistent unit strategies, over time you will have a greater chance of participating in more claims.  When you do participate in a claim, on average, you could possibly receive a larger payout.

A unit refers to the way we report the acreage of an insured crop that you have planted. A basic unit is all the acreage of that particular crop planted in the same county. Basic units can be established by ownership share. For example, if I planted 1000 acres of crop A, I have a 1000-acre basic unit. When 200 acres of those 1000 acres have a low yield due to a weather event, I may not have a claim due to the fact the other 800 acres did well and had a high yield. There is a premium discount for choosing the basic unit structure as your reporting option. This is because statistically you will participate in fewer claims and therefore are charged a lower premium.

Our next blog will detail unit structure and how it will effect your premiums and your claims.

What is Employment Practices Liability?

174 0 15 May 2020

Liability is the state of being liable, or your legal obligation or responsibility to someone. Employment practices are a farm’s or business’s actions as they relate to hiring practices, proper training, providing a safe work environment and dismissal or firing practices.

Most farm insurance policies in New York State have an exclusion under their farm liability coverage form; Coverage H – Bodily injury and Property Damage Liability.  It reads as follows; excluded are employee’s liability or employment-related practices – Employees injured as a result of employment with the insured; or an employee’s family member that files a claim due to injury to the employee, or injuries arising from employment-related practices.

Where does coverage come from for my farm business? In New York State, we have always been mandated under statuary law to carry a New York State Workers Compensation policy if and when our total payroll was to exceed $1200.00 per year. In the summer of 2019 the governor passed a law removing the minimal $1200.00 threshold. Now any and all farmers with any type of payroll must have a New York State workers compensation policy. Your workers compensation policy responds to injured employees hurt on the job performing their work responsibilities. This policy will pay for 100% of all medical expenses related to the accident or injury such as but are not limited to:

  1. Ambulance Services
  2. Emergency Room Care
  3. Hospitalization
  4. Medications
  5. Follow-Up Appointments
  6. Rehab

It also makes a payment to your employee if they cannot work based on a formula and percentage of pay. There is coverage for partial or permanent disability and loss of sight or a limb.

 What about this thing called Employment Practices? What if a farm or business becomes legally liable to an employee due to;

  1. Discrimination
  2. Sexual Harassment
  3. Wrongful Termination
  4. Constructive Discharge, when an employee resigns as a result of employees creating a hostile work environment.
  5. Retaliatory Discharge, when an employee is fired as a form of punishment.
  6. Breach of employment contract
  7. Infliction of emotional distress or mental anguish
  8. Failure to employ or promote
  9. Wrongful discipline or demotion
  10. Mismanagement of Employee Benefits
  11. Reformation of Character
  12. Privacy Violations
  13. Violation of Family Medical Leave Act Laws
  14. Violation of any State or Federal Laws in place to protect employees

Your cost to defend yourself or any financial responsibility for damages is EXCLUDED from your personal or farm liability in your farm owners insurance policy (In fact, excluded from any business or commercial liability type insurance.)

According to The 2017 Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits, businesses in the United States have a greater than 10% chance of being on the end of an employment-related change. On average, it takes 318 days to resolve the issue. Also, the average total cost to the business is $160,000.00. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commissions Office (a.k.a EEOC) find that employee claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation are high paced and showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, in this area of the law, these lawsuits are increasing year after year.

You can take steps to limit the risk of liability and lawsuits arising out of your employment practices

  1. Establish clean workplace policies. Employee handbooks with policies and procedures. Including a system for employees to report concerns for management to respond to.
  2. Evaluate employees and managers. Establish training about ethical and legal workplace practices. New York State now requires specific training on sexual harassment.
  3. Hire carefully. Screen employees carefully and avoid anything that may appear to be discriminatory.
  4. Provide written job descriptions with clear expectations. Train to these expectations.
  5. Perform regular employee job reviews. Not just annually for pay increases.
  6. Documentation, Documentation, Documentation! Record and keep records from initial interviews, employee handbooks, specific training and all job reviews. Including, verbal or written complaints and responses.

A True Story

I knew a small business that had anywhere from 3 to 5 employees at any one time. This business hired an employee, with expectations that this person could handle their position, had experience and had the ability to handle the position they were hired for.

This business had a formal written interview and hiring procedure. They presented the employee with a written handbook. They had a 30-day review procedure, tracking continuous training and the next 30 day expectations.

The newly hired employee continued to underperform on the written expectations. After a year and a half, there was a review where the business had this employee sign a letter stating that their job and employment with them was in jeopardy. The following 30 days was a disaster and the employee was asked to leave.

The employee then applied for Unemployment Insurance. The New York State labor department did an investigation. The business showed them all the written documentation from the initial interview, the employee handbooks, quarterly reviews and final written warning about the job being in jeopardy letter.  Unemployment Insurance was denied as a result. Documentation is incredibly important.

 

You can purchase Employment Practices Liability Insurance. This insurance would cover damages that you could become legally liable for, to an employee as well as the cost to defend yourself. In some instances the legal costs could be far more costly than the actual financial damages.

 

Some companies offer an endorsement to add employment practices liability to your current farmowners policy replacing the common exclusion in that policy.

 

The more common way to cover this excluded exposure is to purchase a stand-alone Employment Practices Liability policy. These policies have their own exclusions such as;

  1. Violations of the National Labor Relations Act
  2. Violations of the worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.
  3. Violations of Occupational Safety and Health Act.
  4. Violations of Employee Retirement Income Security Act.
  5. Any Criminal act.

 

The application for insurance coverage would ask questions such as:

  • Length of time in business
  • Gross sales of business
  • Gross payroll of business
  • How many employees
  • How many employees are full time and part time.
  • Employee turnover in the last 12 months.
  • Any downsizing or layoffs in the last 12 months
  • Any downsizing or layoffs contemplated.
  • In the last 5 years, any complaints for discrimination or harassment
  • Are you aware of any circumstances pending that could result in a complaint.
  • What kind of written guidelines do you have (employee handbook, specific training, performance reviews, emails and internal use, anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, etc.

 

We live in a “law suite happy” society. It is expected with the current unemployment levels due to Covid-19 the number of situations and law suits will likely increase.

News You Can Use – May 2020

302 0 01 May 2020

A S’more for Everyone

 

 

Here are 4 interesting facts about S’mores:

The Merriam-Webster dictionary suggests the first known use of the word “s’more” was in 1974.

Despite the dictionary’s claims, the first known recipe was published in a Girl Scout handbook in 1927.

The world’s largest s’more weighed 267 pounds and was comprised of 140 pounds of marshmallows, 90 pounds of chocolate and 90 pounds of graham crackers.

Americans buy 90 million pounds of marshmallows yearly. During the summer, it is estimated that 50% of marshmallows sold are used for s’mores.

 

Here are some of our favorite variations: 

  • Candied Bacon S’mores (Barbara’s favorite)  Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle brown sugar on both sides of bacon strips.  Place on foil lined baking sheet and bake until crisp. Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain.  Add bacon pieces to your s’more and enjoy!
  • Samoa Cookie S’mores (Sarah’s favorite)  Place caramel sauce and toasted coconut on bottom graham cracker, then hot marshmallow, top with a graham cracker.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Nutella S’mores (Heather’s favorite)  Place roasted marshmallow between 2 chocolate chip cookies lined with Nutella.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup S’mores (Mike’s favorite)  Place roasted marshmallow between 2 graham crackers lined with a peanut butter cup.   

 

13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY  14411
Phone 585 589-6236
information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com

 


Just Keep Talking

Referral Program

 

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

 

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

 

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

 

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

 

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request

 


CROP INSURANCE DEADLINES

CROP Plant Date
Sign Acreage Report
Onions May 10 May 15
Oats May 10 July 15
Corn / Soybeans June 10 July 15
Potatoes June 10 July 15
Cabbage July 20 August 15
Processing Beans July 25 August 15
Fresh Market Sweet Corn June 30 July 15
Fresh Market Beans July 25 August 15

 

As always, call the office if you have questions  at
(585) 589-6236

 


Home Pool Safety

 

It’s that time of the year – school is out, temperatures are warming up and pools are open for the summer. If you own a pool, you’re probably aware of the maintenance and care that’s involved. But have you considered taking that extra step to make sure it’s safe for your kids?

According to the American Red Cross, more than 200 young children drown in backyard swimming pools each year. That’s pretty scary to think about. And if you’re a parent, that’s your worst nightmare. Luckily, there’s ways you can prevent a tragedy from happening in your backyard by following these guidelines from the American Red Cross:

Secure your pool when it’s not in use with a 4-feet high fence or barrier. Also, remember to remove any ladders or steps used for access.

Make sure children are being supervised at all times. Do not allow anyone to swim alone, and have inexperienced swimmers wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Maintain proper chemical levels, circulation and filtration. This will leave your water clean and clear, and minimize the risk of rashes or more serious diseases.

Establish safe practices, such as “no diving,” “stay away from drain covers” and “swim with a buddy.”

Make sure everyone in the home knows how to respond to emergencies by having the appropriate safety equipment and taking first aid and CPR courses.

 

 Another safety feature you can install is a pool alarm. It sits at the    edge of your pool, and when someone falls in, a pressure wave will cause the alarm to go off. It’s a device that’s sure to keep you at ease if you’re away from home, or when you’re  sleeping.

 

And most importantly, have a fun – and safe summer!

 


Wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day

Began with a World War I Poem

 

In the spring of 1915, bright red flowers began poking through the battle-ravaged land across northern France and Flanders (northern Belgium). Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who served as a brigade surgeon for an Allied artillery unit, spotted a cluster of the poppies shortly after serving as a brigade surgeon during the bloodySecond Battle of Ypres. The sight of the bright red flowers against the dreary backdrop of war inspired McCrae to pen the poem, “In Flanders Field,” in which he gives voice to the soldiers who had been killed in battle and lay buried beneath the poppy-covered grounds.that year, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael read the poem in Ladies’ Home Journal and wrote her own poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith” to begin a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to all who died in war.poppy remains a symbol of remembrance to this day.

 


We Shall Keep the Faith

by Moina Michael, November 1918

 

Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

 


Crop Insurance News — Prevented Planting

 

In the spring of 1915, bright red flowers began poking through the battle-ravaged land across northern France and Flanders (northern Belgium). Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who served as a brigade surgeon for an Allied artillery unit, spotted a cluster of the poppies shortly after serving as a brigade surgeon during the bloodySecond Battle of Ypres. The sight of the bright red flowers against the dreary backdrop of war inspired McCrae to pen the poem, “In Flanders Field,” in which he gives voice to the soldiers who had been killed in battle and lay buried beneath the poppy-covered grounds.that year, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael read the poem in Ladies’ Home Journal and wrote her own poem, “We Shall Keep the Faith” to begin a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to all who died in war.poppy remains a symbol of remembrance to this day.

 


What is Additional Living Expense?

 

Additional Living Expense (ALE) is a coverage that may be included with the policy you purchased to insure your home. It applies after a covered loss when your home is considered not fit to live in. Your policy will pay the actual, reasonable, and necessary increase in your living expense to maintain your normal standard of living while you live elsewhere.

 

This coverage is shown on the insurance declaration page of your homeowner’s policy or the homeowner’s section of your farmowner’s policy as coverage D.  It is usually expressed as a percentage of additional coverage that comes from the amount of coverage on the house itself.  The most common is 20%.  I have seen it as low as 10% and as high as 100% of coverage A, the insurance value on the physical dwelling itself.

 

A real-life example from The Southcott Agency Inc. files

As many of you know, we deal with a lot of farm and agri-business insurance.  We insure a horse farm that had the unfortunate experience of a small kitchen fire.  The physical damage from the fire was rather small, however, the smoke damage was extensive!  The smoke damage would not allow my client to live in the home.

 

Coverage D, Additional Living Expenses, kicked in.  The insurance company moved a mobile home to the farm and set it up including complete electrical, plumbing and sewer hook ups.  My client was able to live on the farm.  She was able to do daily chores, give riding lessons, and look after owned and boarded horses while the insurance claim paid to fix the kitchen and clean up the smoke damage. 

 

You can find details about Additional Living Expense coverage in Mike’s latest blog.  This blog and many more can be found on our website; www.thesouthcottagency.com


Happy Mother’s Day! You Are Unforgettable!

 

My mother’s gift of a single dried Forget-Me-Not plant was throw into my flower bed, and a few years and thousands of blossoms later, I have a beautiful reminder of her English gardens. 

 

Forget-Me-Not plants symbolize true love. The forget-me-not flowers are a medium, “true blue”. And as the name suggests, they are given or used to decorate gifts with the hope the recipient will not forget the giver. It also symbolizes faithful love and memories. 

 

Mythology/ Folklore  In a German legend, after the earth was created, God went to each plant and animal and gave each a name. As God finished and was getting ready to leave, he heard a little voice at his feet saying “what about me?” He bent down and picked up the little plant whom he had forgotten, and said “Because I forgot once, I shall never forget you again, and that shall be your name.”

 

The Christ Child was sitting on Mary’s lap one day and said that he wished that future generations could see her eyes. He touched her eyes and then waved his hand over the ground and blue forget-me-nots appeared, hence the name forget-me-not.

 

In another legend, the little flower cried out, “Forget-me-not!” as Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden.

 

In Mill’s “History of Chivalry,” is given another story of origin with a less happy ending. The lover, when trying to pick the blossoms  for his lady-love, was drowned, his last words as he threw the flowers on the bank being “Forget me Not.”

 


COVID-19 financial stress‌

 

A recent Executive Order issued by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set forth the details that insurers must abide by in implementing the premium relief that has been mandated for policyholders financially impacted by COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to take advantage of these extensions, the insurer or finance company will need from you a written statement that you are having financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This also applies if you are a small business—any business that is resident in this state, is independently owned and operated, and employs 100 or fewer individuals.

Individual companies are handling these changes in different ways and you may have been already notified and provided an 800 number to call them for assistance.

‌If you are having financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are unable to pay premium that is due, your insurance company can assist you by suspending cancellation for nonpayment and allowing you to pay the premium over a 12 month period.

If you have any questions about this premium payment assistance, or need help with the process, please do not hesitate to call our office @ 585-589-6236‌

 

*** Be aware that at the time of this newsletter being mailed, Federal Crop Insurance premiums are excluded from NY State COVID-19 extensions because Federal Crop Insurance is governed at the Federal level****

 

We will notify you with any changes as they develop.

 


What is radon gas?

 Is it dangerous?

 

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. Radon gas is inert, colorless and odorless. Radon is naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts. Outdoors, radon disperses rapidly and, generally, is not a health issue. Most radon exposure occurs inside homes, schools and workplaces. Radon gas becomes trapped indoors after it enters buildings through cracks and other holes in the foundation. Indoor radon can be controlled and managed with proven, cost-effective techniques.

 

Breathing radon over time increases your risk of lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Nationally, the EPA estimates that about 21,000 people die each year from radon-related lung cancer. Only smoking causes more lung cancer deaths.

 

You can take steps to reduce and control the amount of radon in your home. Testing is the only way to determine radon levels. Have your home tested, either by a professional or with a do-it-yourself home test kit. If radon levels are high, contact a certified radon service professional to fix your home. EPA guidance suggests mitigating if levels are at or above 148 Bq/m3 (4 pCi/L). Usually, radon problems are fixed using an underground ventilation system or by increasing the rate of air changes in the building.

 


Folklore for the Season

A dry May and a leaking June

Make the Farmer whistle a

Merry tune.

A Snowstorm in May

 Is worth a wagonload of hay.

 


Benefits of Google My Business

 

Google My Business is a free tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. If you verify and edit your business information, you can both help customers find your business and tell them your story.

 

Manage your information that Google users find when they search for your business, or the products and services that you offer. Businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers. When people find your business on Google Maps and Search, make sure they have access to information like your hours, website, and street address.

 

Interact with customers Read and respond to reviews from your customers. Post photos that show off what you do. Businesses that add photos to their Business Profiles receive 42% more requests for directions on Google Maps, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don’t.

 


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

coins and calculator

What is Additional Living Expense?

170 0 21 Apr 2020

Additional Living Expense (ALE) is a coverage that may be included with the policy you purchased to insure your home. It applies after a covered loss when your home is considered not fit to live in. Your policy will pay the actual, reasonable, and necessary increase in your living expense to maintain your normal standard of living while you live elsewhere.

This coverage is shown on the insurance declaration page of your homeowner’s policy or the homeowner’s section of your farmowner’s policy as coverage D.  It is usually expressed as a percentage of additional coverage that comes from the amount of coverage on the house itself.  The most common is 20%.  I have seen it as low as 10% and as high as 100% of coverage A, the insurance value on the physical dwelling itself.

ALE coverage applies for the shortest period of time reasonably required to repair or replace the loss-related damages, or when the maximum amount of coverage for ALE is paid.

When could ALE apply?

Every situation will be different, but ALE may apply in these types of situations:

  • During a major storm, a tree falls on your roof and causes significant damage. While repairs are made, the home is not livable.
  • A fire in the home causes major damage and as a result, the home is not fit to live in.
  • A less severe fire, such as a kitchen fire, causes smoke damage throughout the home or causes extensive damage in the kitchen.
  • Your water heater breaks and damages your home. Since you have no hot water and wet floors, you can’t live in the home.
  • A lightning strike knocks out power to your home. You can’t live in the home because there is no electricity or heat.
  • If you live in a manufactured home, a skunk could make its way underneath the home, chew the underbelly, and spray its scent. Due to the unbearable odor, you can’t live in the home.
  • The threat of an impending disaster, like a forest fire, causes local authorities to require evacuation. Even though your home may not be damaged, ALE may apply because you had to evacuate the home and incurred additional living expenses in the process.

* Policy terms, conditions and amounts of coverage vary and will apply when you have a loss. Please review your policy for complete details and maximum coverage amounts. Examples given are for illustrative purposes only and are not a guarantee of coverage. These situations are examples and not a guarantee of coverage. The facts of each actual loss determine whether ALE coverage applies.

What may be considered ALE?

  • Temporary housing costs, like a motel or hotel, renting an apartment, home, mobile home, or travel trailer
  • Increased meal costs
  • Reasonable moving expenses to and from temporary housing
  • Increased utility expenses
  • Increased laundry expenses
  • Increased transportation expenses
  • Pet boarding

Examples of items not typically considered ALE

  • Replacement of belongings like toiletries and clothing
  • Temporary repairs to your home
  • Entertainment expenses while you stay in temporary housing

You have a loss and can’t stay in your home. What’s next?

  1. File a claim.  Call the office immediately (585) 589-6236.  We will contact your specific insurance carrier.  A claims representative will contact you and talk about your loss.
  2. Your claims representative will discuss with you whether ALE applies to your situation.
  3. The claims representative will ask you for a list of your normal living expenses and what they cost.
  4. Keep receipts for the extra expenses you pay for while living outside your home. Give them to your claims representative according to a schedule the two of you have agreed upon.  You must have the expense first, then the insurance compamy reimburses you.
  5. Your claims representative will subtract your normal expenses from the additional costs you incurred, calculate the amount you’re due, and issue you a payment if one is owed.

Real-life ALE examples:

Cooking Practice

Ron and Rhoda own a home in southeastern Colorado. They have two children, Chad and Carissa. Chad wants to be a chef someday and was practicing his culinary skills by making bananas flambé. Things got a little out of control and the kitchen curtains caught on fire. Flames spread to the rest of the kitchen before Chad was able to grab the fire extinguisher and put the fire out. Ron and Rhoda were not happy with the state of their kitchen, but they were happy that Chad was okay. Smoke and fire damage made the home unlivable. The family rented an apartment for $600, including utilities, for the seven nights it took to make general repairs and clean up the smoke damage. Thanks to Chad’s cooking skills, they were able to prepare food in their temporary housing so their dining expenses did not increase. They did have to pay to have some of their personal items stored, which cost $100. The family also had to pay $75 to do their laundry for the week.

Rhoda contacted their insurance company and the claims representative explained she has ALE coverage for the time her family was unable to live in the home.

Ron and Rhoda are owed the following for additional living expenses:
+ $600 for apartment
+ $100 for storage
+ $75 for laundry
– $0 for normal expenses
$775 owed to Ron and Rhoda

A real-life example from The Southcott Agency Inc. files

As many of you know, we deal with a lot of farm and agri-business insurance.  We insure a horse farm that had the unfortunate experience of a small kitchen fire.  The physical damage from the fire was rather small, however, the smoke damage was extensive!  The smoke damage would not allow my client to live in the home.

Coverage D, Additional Living Expenses, kicked in.  The insurance company moved a mobile home to the farm and set it up including complete electrical, plumbing and sewer hook ups.  My client was able to live on the farm.  She was able to do daily chores, give riding lessons, and look after owned and boarded horses while the insurance claim paid to fix the kitchen and clean up the smoke damage. 

Remember:
A covered loss has to happen first.
You have to pay the extra expense, then the insurance coverage reimburses you.

Tornado Not Kind to Weather Buff

David owns a 1996 Palm Harbor mobile home in Missouri. David, a weather buff, was caught by surprise when a tornado tore through town one night. Many of his neighbors’ homes were damaged but David seemed to get the worst of the storm. Almost the entire roof was torn off David’s home, causing rain to pour inside. David was able to put a tarp over the exposed areas once the weather cleared, but the home was unlivable until repairs could be made.  David checked into a motel for the six nights and seven days it took to make his home livable at a cost of $75 per night. The motel did not allow pets so David had to board his two cats, Oliver and Gus, for seven days at a cost of $20 per day. David had additional laundry expenses of $50 and his meals were $15 per day. Typically, he spends $210 per month dining out.

David contacted his insurance company and found out that he has ALE coverage for the time he was unable to live in his home. David is owed the following for additional living expenses:
+ $450.00 for motel stay
+ $140.00 for boarding Gus & Oliver
+ $ 50.00 for laundry
+ $105.00 for food costs
– $ 48.30 for normal expenses**
$696.70 owed to David

**($210 per month x 12 months / 365 days = $6.90/day)

coronavirus-news-on-screen-3970332

COVID-19 Financial Stress​

62 0 07 Apr 2020

A recent Executive Order issued by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo set forth the details that insurers must abide by in implementing the premium relief that has been mandated for policyholders financially impacted by COVID-19 pandemic

In order to take advantage of these extensions, the insurer or finance company will need from you a written statement that you are having financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This also applies if you are a small business—any business that is resident in this state, is independently owned and operated, and employs 100 or fewer individuals.

Individual companies are handling these changes in different ways and you may have been already notified and provided an 800 number to call them for assistance.

​If you are having financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are unable to pay premiums that is due, your insurance company can assist you by suspending cancellation for nonpayment and allowing you to pay the premium over a 12 month period.

If you have any questions about this premium payment assistance, or need help with the process, please do not hesitate to call our office @ 585-589-6236

*** Be aware that at the time of this letter being mailed, Federal Crop Insurance premiums are excluded from NY State COVID-19 extensions because Federal Crop Insurance is governed at Federal level****

We will notify you with any changes as they develop.

ester newsletter

News You Can Use – April 2020

148 0 02 Apr 2020

Happy Easter!

May this Easter bring you all together for a great celebration filled with lots of joy, hope, and love!


Bee Friendly

It’s incredibly sad, but true: Bee populations have been on a steady decline over the past decade.

During the 2018 to 2019 season alone, an estimated 37.7% of managed honey bee colonies in the United States were lost, reports The Bee Informed Partnership. This has a major environmental and human impact—much of our produce and nuts rely on bees and other pollinators, making these populations critical to ensuring our food supply. It’s integral, then, to try to reverse this decline as much as possible—which is why it’s important to create bee-friendly gardens, minimize our use of pesticides, and educate ourselves about what we can do to help our local bee populations thrive—especially during the colder months when they’re most at risk. This problem must be addressed by taking action in the spring.

Plant native flowers and plants that bloom in early spring.

While native bees, like honeybees, are not active year-round, some begin to emerge from their nests in early spring, as the first wildflowers bloom. Some of the earliest emerging spring bees include bumblebees, spring long-horned bees, miner bees, and mason bees. Some are active in spring, while others wait until summer or even fall. The best way to keep their communities thriving, however, begins during that initial wave in early spring. Plant flowers and plants that are native to the region. These bees have evolved along with them over millions of years—which makes indigenous varietals their favorite source of nectar and pollen.


The Easter Bunny will love

these Carrot Muffins and so will you!

Carrot Cake Muffins

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl combine and beat together:
2 medium eggs
1/2 c. melted butter
1/2 c. honey
1 tsp. vanilla

Add and mix in:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon orange flavoring
2 c. grated carrots

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

Top cooled cupcakes with your favorite cream cheese frosting.


Do You Need a Personal Umbrella Policy?

Let’s walk through a possible situation where you would need umbrella insurance coverage. You have a wreck with another vehicle and the driver in this case is a 35-year old father and the passengers are his two children.

The limits of your policy are higher than those required by law, set at $250,000 maximum per person and $500,000 per accident. Thankfully, the two children only suffered minor injuries, but the father is critically injured and has to stay in the hospital for over a month, with months of rehabilitation to get better. He definitely will not be able to work during that time.

Your auto liability insurance covers the $250,000 maximum for him and you are responsible for anything over that. His wife sues you for $500,000 because his hospital bills and rehab and physical therapy alone are going to cost $400,000.

The other $100,000 is for their loss of wages since neither of them can work. He is physically unable and she must take care of him. When they win the case, since you were at fault in the accident, you will have to find some way to pay them and pay for their lawyer, your lawyer and court costs as well. You may think that the man’s health insurance will cover his medical expenses. His health insurance company will come after you with a lawsuit because you caused the accident.

It may seem unlikely that this could ever happen to you, but cases like this can and do happen all the time. Umbrella insurance is a necessity for people with homes and property to protect. You don’t want to hand over things you’ve worked so hard to get. If you have an umbrella policy, you won’t have to do that.

To find out more about why you need a personal umbrella policy, call the office (585)589-6236.


Hot Spots for Germs

I know we have many reasons to be on high alert when it comes to pathogens. Most of us wash our hands and stay away from sick people as much as possible, but we should be aware of some dangerous sources that we are contacting daily.

Dish Sponges
The National Sanitation Foundation discovered that more than 75% of dish sponges harbored dangerous bacteria, such as salmonella, E. Cole, and fecal matter! That’s compared to 9% reportedly found on toilet seat handles. Make sure to sanitize your sponge.

Laundry
The washing machine can be a haven for microbes. Place wet clothes in the dryer as quickly as possible.

Makeup Bags
All those bristles and sponges in your makeup bag create the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. There is transfer between bacteria on your skin, your applicators and the cosmetics. Your products should be stored in a clean dry place and brushes should be cleaned with soap and water weekly.

Toothbrush
Your toothbrush is a hotbed for germs so store upright to promote drainage and replace or sterilize the bristles frequently.

Electronics
Considering how often you use your cell phone, tablets, and keyboards, it’s not surprising to find them covered with pathogens. Disinfecting wipes can eliminate most of them.


Are You Ready?

Whether you’re the one that mows the lawn in your household or someone else does it, be sure that you’re protecting whoever that someone is.

Take these recommendations seriously!

  • Know how to use the mower and understand the controls.
  • Clear the path in front of the mower from debris before mowing.
  • Locate and avoid electrical wires that may be in your lawn.
  • Do not start the mower near combustible material, or areas with poor ventilation or smoke.
  • Use a mower with a control that keeps it from moving forward if the handle is released.
  • Make sure the mower has had time to cool before you refuel it.
  • Keep your hands and feet away from the blades.
  • Never use your hands to unclog mower – we suggest a sturdy stick.
  • Allow only one person on a riding mower at a time.
  • Consider buying safety glasses to reduce the chance of flying objects from getting in your eyes.
  • Wear heavy shoes to help protect your feet.

Do not allow children under the age of 12 to operate a push lawn mower, and age 16 for a riding lawnmower.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there were more than 253,000 lawnmower related injuries in 2010, and that rate is rising. Keep yourself and the people around you from being a part of that statistic and pledge to be safe when it comes to mowing your lawn!


Need more time to prepare your federal tax return?

This site provides information on how to apply for an extension of time to file. httpss://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/extension-of- time-to-file-your-tax-return

Please be aware that:

  • An extension of time to file your return does not grant you any extension of time to pay your taxes.
  • You should estimate and pay any owed taxes by your regular deadline to help avoid possible penalties.
  • You must file your extension request no later than the regular due date of your return.

Just Keep Talking Referral Program

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance — whoever — about us.
When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card!

Chance #2
Every month, we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers.
The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card!

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!
The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules: Available upon request


Crop Insurance Update Concerning

Actual Production History (APH) Reviews

Why have you been selected for an APH Review?

APH Reviews are used as a safety check to ensure that your reported production is correct.
The review is required on all crop insurance claims when the indemnity paid on a single crop goes over $200,000. Crop Insurance Companies also reserve the right to schedule an APH Review for quality assurance at their discretion.


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

teen driver

Watch Out! New Driver on the Road!

202 0 01 Apr 2020

Sometimes I am amazed at how distracted I can be while driving. Just last week, I asked myself a series of “have you ever” questions:

  • Have you ever arrived at your destination without really paying attention to how you got there because it’s so routine?
  • Have you ever picked up your phone while you are driving, if only to check the time?
  • Have you ever looked down at the radio while changing stations?
  • Have you ever read billboards fully while driving?
  • Have you ever been so involved in a conversation on the phone that you forgot to make your turn?
  • Have you ever turned around to look in the back seat at your child talking or sleeping?
  • Have you ever reached for something in the back seat while driving?
  • Have you ever looked in the mirror to groom yourself for a second while driving?

Enough said. This list could go on and on, but the fact is, I answered yes to all the above. (I’m guessing some of you did too?). I’m not proud, but these are small things that we do as drivers that could end in disaster. I’ve learned through the past year that all I should focus on while I’m driving is… driving. I can’t say I’m perfect, but I’ve come a long way from the distracted driver I once was.

So, to practice what I preach, here are some statistics from Distraction.gov to prove why distracted driving is so dangerous:

  • Research indicates that the burden of talking on a cell phone – even if it’s hands-free – saps the brain of 39% of the energy it would ordinarily devote to safe driving.
  • Our youngest and most inexperienced drivers are most at risk, with 16% of all distracted driving crashes involving drivers under 20. But they are not alone. At any given moment during daylight hours, over 800,000 vehicles are being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone or driving distracted.
  • Using a cell phone while driving – whether it’s hand-held or hands-free delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.

Half of all teens will be involved in a car crash before graduating from high school. Parental involvement doesn’t end when a child gets a license. Teen drivers who continue to practice with their parents increase their chances of avoiding a crash. The  Governors Highway Safety Association offers more information.

Visit DriveitHOME for a variety of helpful resources to help your teen get the experience they need behind the wheel.

No state has laws strong enough to fully protect new teen drivers. Household rules about passengers, nighttime driving and cell phone use can fill gaps in state laws. The New Driver Deal outlines these rules.

Teens Crash Because They Are Inexperienced Drivers

Contrary to popular belief, teens crash most often because they are inexperienced. They struggle with judging gaps in traffic, driving the right speed for conditions and turning safely, among other things.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sponsors Teen Driver Safety Week each year in October. Parents are the biggest influencers on their teen drivers, even if you think they aren’t listening.

NHTSA reminds parents to set the rules before they hit the road with “5 to Drive”:

  • No cell phones while driving
  • No extra passengers
  • No speeding
  • No alcohol
  • No driving or riding without a seat belt

Car Crashes are the Number One Killer of Teens

The first year of licensed driving is an exciting and dangerous time in your teen’s life, But the facts are hard to hear.

Car crashes are the number one killer of teens and impact people of all ages. In 2016, the number of people who died in crashes involving at least one young driver totaled 4,853.

As parents, we want to keep our teens safe, and we can if we understand the risks they face such as inexperience, night driving and passengers. Help them beat the odds by staying involved as they gain experience over that first year and transition from new to experienced driver.

How to Get Started

Here are some easy things you can do to get your teen on the path to safer driving:

  • Sign the New Driver Deal, an agreement between you and your teen about the rules and expectations when they get behind the wheel
  • Use the Pointers for Parents for tips and lessons you can practice with your teen
  • Spend 30 minutes a week driving with your teen even after they get their license

Inexperience is the Leading Cause of Teen Crashes

Teens are only human. Like the rest of us, when we’re learning to do something, we’re bound to make common errors. Teens are no different when it comes to driving. The old cliché “practice makes perfect” may seem corny, but it’s true.

The safest — and best — way for them to gain experience is to practice with you riding along with them frequently, monitoring their progress. Just 30 minutes a week with you as a passenger in the car can make a big difference.

Many states require a minimum number of practice hours before a novice driver can get their license. Whether required by state law or not, the safest way for your teen to continue to build driving experience and skills is for you to ride with them as they practice for a full year after they get their license. If you’re stumped on how to go about that task, don’t fret. Pointers for Parents has lots of tips and practice guides for you and your teen.

Remember, it’s not whether our teens are “good kids” or “responsible” behind the wheel. They are new drivers. What matters most is their lack of experience. Regardless of behavior, their grades or other achievements, all teens are inexperienced and subject to the same risks.

In April 2011, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute identified the most common errors that lead to crashes involving teen drivers. Three out of four serious teen driver crashes are due to inexperience. The three most common errors, accounting for about half of these crashes, are:

  1. Lack of scanning the roadway
  2. Driving too fast for conditions
  3. Distraction by something inside or outside the vehicle

Make sure your teen has lots of practice behind the wheel – the more, the better. Start off driving during the daytime, but don’t cherry pick. Your teen won’t always be driving on a prefect sunny day. When you feel they’re ready, gradually add practice at night, in heavier traffic and bad weather.

Reducing Your Teen’s Risk

Staying involved helps keep new drivers safe.

While we as parents face the same risks each time we drive, we have experience where our teens do not. Our experience has taught us how to recognize and avoid these risks.

Trusted pediatricians feel very strongly about teen driver safety. Dr. Alison Tothy, MD, FAAP, Medical Director of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital, offers ways you can help keep your teen driver safe.

Experts advise taking the following actions to help keep your teen safe behind the wheel:

Practice with new drivers: Sit beside them as they drive and schedule 30 minutes of practice time each week—before and after they get their license—to check in and see how they are doing.

Set a good example: Drive the way you want your teen to drive. Your sons and daughters have learned from you all their lives. They don’t stop learning now that they have their license.

Sign the New Driver Deal: The New Driver Deal is a written agreement which helps define expectations – for parents and teens.

Let teens earn privileges: The best way teens can show they are ready for new privileges is to show they can handle the ones they have been already given.

Parents should discuss their feelings about teen driver safety with each other: It can be tough enforcing rules with your teen when the parents of their friends don’t follow suit. It also can be dangerous for your teen to be a passenger in a car driven by a teen given too many driving privileges too soon. Make sure you know where other parents stand on teen driver safety and tell other parents about your feelings.

Crop Insurance Actual Production History Reviews

Crop Insurance Actual Production History (APH) Reviews

421 0 17 Mar 2020

Why have you been selected for an APH Review?

APH Reviews are used as a safety check to ensure that your reported production is correct.  The review is required on all crop insurance claims when the indemnity paid on a single crop goes over $200,000.  Crop Insurance Companies also reserve the right to schedule an APH Review for a quality assurance at their discretion.

Here is some insight into high dollar claims.  They are claims that go over $200,000.  The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Risk Management Agency (RMA) rules require the crop insurance provider to conduct an inspection on any eligible crop insurance contract that pays an indemnity of $200,000 or more.  This inspection involves a review of your current year’s claim and a review of planted acres and production history for that crop for the preceding three years.  The crop insurance contract is written on a crop by county basis so each crop in each county stands alone separately.  The current year claim review will require a review of your current year’s acreage and production reports.  Also, you will need to provide production records for the previous three years and your planted acreage for the previous three years.  This could include the FSA 578 acreage report and any settlement sheets for your sold production as well as any measurement needed for farm stored production not yet sold.

Also, the rules identify a $500,000 high dollar claim review.  The procedures and rules are exactly the same other than the inspection can be accompanied by an RMA representative.  These inspections and audits are done to ensure that the APH used to determine the indemnity payment is correct and accurate.

There is one other situation when you may be required to be inspected and audited.  The RMA rules require that each insurance provider audit 5% of their policies every year.  Your name may be pulled randomly for this type of review even if you have not filed a claim that year.  This type of inspection and audit is usually done on one crop for one-year basis.

What do you need to get ready for an APH review?

Here is a guide to prepare you for a successful review.  You will need the following Production and Supporting Records.

As a producer you must keep separate records of production from all acreage on a unit basis. If you do not have contemporaneous records separating production by type within a unit, the reviewer must allocate the total production within that unit to the different types.  If production was commingled between units, separate verifiable records must be provided. 

Have readily available by insurance unit for the last 3 years any of the available items below:

  • FSA578/Maps
  • Settlement Sheets
  • Load Records
  • Bin Measurements
  • Loss Papers
  • Livestock Feeding Records
  • Any type of approved record that would verify your reported acres and production

What are the requirements for acceptable production records for proving prior year acres?

Sold Production

Production reports must be substantiated by marketing records from a marketing outlet, processor, commercial facility or buyer, such as:

  • Settlement Sheets or Weight Tickets
  • Ledger Sheets
  • Broker Sales Summaries
  • Sales or Load Receipts

These records must include buyer’s name, production, crop type, producer’s name and delivery date.

Settlement / Summary Sheets

Settlement sheets must show production and production sold by crop year as well as:

  • Buyer’s Name and Address
  • Insured’s Name
  • Load / Ticket Number
  • Crop
  • Gross Weight
  • Tare Weight
  • Date Weighed

If an insured does not yet have his / her settlement sheets, weight tickets are also valid for production.

Appraisals

Signed appraisals from an approved insurance provider are acceptable forms of verified production.  If an insured has any previously appraised production that was ultimately sold, they must provide settlement sheets.

Farm Stored

Determinations of harvested production to be counted must be based on weights or measurements and conversion factors consistent with FDIC procedures used in loss adjustments.

  • Records must be maintained on a unit/type basis.
  • Insured’s must have old crop production measured by either by the company or FSA prior to new crop being added.
  • If an insured does not have the production measured as stated above before combining production, the production must be considered commingled and the procedures for commingled production will apply.

Feed Records

Records must be specified by:

  • Number of Head
  • Type of Livestock
  • Estimated Weight (average to the nearest 100 pounds) of Livestock
  • Date Fed
  • Bale Weight
  • Number of Bales Fed
  • Crop Type and Unit Number

These records are only acceptable for current year’s production.

Precision Farming

Precision Farming Systems must be calibrated per manufacture’s specification.  If the records provided by the insured are not reasonable, or the AIP has reason to question the records, the insured must provide the precision farming technology, yield monitor systems raw data and any additional records requested by the AIP.

For planted acreage records to be acceptable from an automated planter monitoring system, the insured’s determined acres and map must provide the following information in conjunction with production data:

  • Insured’s Name
  • Unit Number
  • FSN / Tract / Field ID Number
  • Legal Description
  • Crop
  • Acres Planted
  • Electronically Produced Maps of Planted Acreage and Acreage Summary Records

Where the rubber meets the road

The sole purpose of purchasing any type of insurance is to be paid for a loss.  The sole purpose of Federal Crop Insurance is to be a safety net for crop losses due to weather related events. First, lets look at what is a covered claim.  What is an insured cause of loss?  Insured causes of loss (and any limitations) are stated in each crops policy provisions.  They include:

  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Fire due to natural causes
  • Earthquake
  • Insects, but not damage due to insufficient disease control measures
  • Plant disease, but not due to insufficient disease control measures
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Wildlife, unless control measures have not been taken.
  • Failure of irrigation water supply, if caused by an insured peril that occurs during the insurance
  • Other insured causes of loss due to natural disasters may be determined by the Secretary of Agriculture

What we are really insuring is our loss of revenue or income to the farm due to loss of production of a crop.  The sole purpose of this concept of a safety net is to provide enough income to get you through to the next year; to help cover your fixed costs so that you do not go into bankruptcy.  It is not meant to provide you with enough money to buy a new truck or tractor or pay for a vacation.

When you understand that the highest coverage option for many Federal Crop Insurance Programs is either 75% or 85% leaving the rest of your loss as what is considered your deductible, you may still have a significant loss.

Paying claims is where the rubber meets the road!  The claims process procedures, like other aspects of Federal Crop Insurance are full of regulations and rules.  Some of these regulations and rules can make the time from loss to payment seem like an eternity.  Knowing the regulations and your duties and responsibilities will speed up the claim process and payment.  It is your responsibility to keep accurate records.

Personal Umbrella Insurance

Personal Umbrella Insurance

242 0 08 Mar 2020

If you watch television, read the newspaper or listen to the radio, you know that lawsuits are an all too common part of life in America.  People sue each other for all kinds of silly reasons.  Some reasons are not that silly.  Often, people sue and win, and if you find yourself in this situation, it can ruin you.

I don’t want that to happen to anybody!  That’s why I’m telling you about personal umbrella insurance.  It’s called personal umbrella insurance because it provides coverage on top or your other types of insurance and protects you above and over their limits, just like an umbrella keeps the rain off you.

You may think nothing like a lawsuit could ever happen to you, but unfortunately it can.  Take Judge Judy and Judge Mathis on television: they’ve made lifetime television careers out of lawsuits and people love to watch their shows. People also love to sue each other!  It’s sad, but true.

The point is, if you are sued and do not have enough insurance coverage, you could spend the rest of your life paying off the costs if a person sues you and they win the case in court.

Be sure the limits of your policies are enough.

Umbrella policies usually range in coverage amounts of $1 million up to $5 million.  Let’s walk through a possible situation where you would need umbrella insurance coverage.  It is scary to think about, but it would be much worse if it happened to you and you found yourself unprepared.  You have a wreck with another vehicle and the driver in this case is a 35-year old father and the passengers are his two children.

The limits of your policy are higher than those required by law, set at $250,000 maximum per person and $500,000 per accident.  You really wanted to play it safe because you know how expensive medical bills can be.  Thankfully, the two children only suffered minor injuries, but the father is critically injured and has to stay in the hospital for over a month, with months of rehabilitation to get better.  He definitely will not be able to work during that time.

Your auto liability insurance covers the $250,000 maximum for him and you are responsible for anything over that.  His wife sues you for $500,000 because his hospital bills and rehab and physical therapy alone are going to cost $400,000.

The other $100,000 is for their loss of wages since neither of them can work.  He is physically unable and she must take care of him.  When they win the case, since you were at fault in the accident, you will have to find some way to pay them and pay for their lawyer, your lawyer and court costs as well.  You may think that the man’s health insurance will cover his medical expenses.  His health insurance company will come after you with a lawsuit because you caused the accident.

It may seem unlikely that this could ever happen to you, but cases like this can and do happen all the time.  Think of how many recent accidents have happened near you.  Someone is usually found at fault and will be responsible for the medical payments to the victim.  Umbrella insurance is a necessity for people with homes and property to protect.  You don’t want to hand over things you’ve worked so hard to get.  If you have an umbrella policy, you won’t have to do that.

Umbrella insurance is flexible.

Umbrella insurance covers you in situations that auto and homeowner’s policies do not.  An example of this is “personal injury” not to be confused with bodily injury.  Personal injury.  Personal injury is when something you say (slander) or write (libel) hurts a person’s name or standing in the community.  Even if what you say is true, they could still sue you.  If he or she sues you and the court says you are guilty of causing personal injury, you may have to pay them for it.  Umbrella insurance covers you in this situation.

Another situation where you might need umbrella insurance is if you hit a brand-new Mercedes and the costs to repair the damage go beyond the limit of your auto policy.  If you don’t have an umbrella policy, you’ll have to pay what the policy doesn’t. Umbrella insurance would take care of that for you.

Umbrella coverage is inexpensive.

Be aware of the unique relationship between your underlying insurance policy limits and your umbrella policy.  Most umbrella policies require that your underlying insurance policies have minimum liability limits.  For a personal umbrella policy that is excess coverage over a standard homeowner and a standard personal auto policy.  The umbrella policy may require homeowner ‘s policy have a minimum $300,000 or $500,000 of personal liability protection.  The umbrella policy may require $250,000 / $500,000 / $100,000 limits of liability. 

Why is understanding this minimum underlying requirement important?  Because the GAP between what your umbrella policy required and what you are carrying on your underlying policies will become your personal responsibility.

Also be aware that most umbrella insurance policies are issued on a follow form basis.  What does this mean?  As always, most insurance policies have exclusions and exemptions to what they do and do not cover.  An umbrella also has exclusions and exemptions and usually follows the same language found in the underlying insurance policy.  The word umbrella can be misleading giving someone the impression that they are covered for absolutely anything they could be sued for.

A better way to think about your umbrella insurance coverage is as extra money available for large lawsuits above what is covered on your underlying insurance policies.  When a certain activity is excluded on the underlying insurance policies, the umbrella policy does not necessarily fill in the gaps.

Also, there are situations where you have coverage on the underlying policy and not have excess insurance coverage with the personal umbrella. 

How are umbrella insurance policies rated and the premium determined?  In general, umbrella insurance policies are relatively an inexpensive way to acquire large amounts of liability protection.  For an average family owning a home and a couple of autos, a $1,000,000 personal umbrella insurance policy usually costs between $150.00 and $250.00.  The cost may increase and be based on your total property picture. The cost may be based on things like this:

  • Do you own a second home?
  • Do you own investment property?
  • Do you own a swimming pool and what type of pool is it?
  • How many total vehicles do you own?
  • Do you have underage drivers living in your household?

Umbrella insurance is cheap because it covers you on those rainy days that don’t happen very often.  An umbrella policy might only cost you $150 to $400 per year and cover you up to $1 million.  Umbrella insurance may just come in handy on a rainy day.  Those rainy days catch us unexpectantly and I am sure that you would want to be covered if the worst-case scenario happened to you.  How much umbrella insurance should you carry?  This is a good question.  There are many important issues to consider when choosing your umbrella limits and not just the cost of the policy.  By consulting with an insurance professional, you will discover the risks you face. 

Home insurance

Tips for Buying Your First Home

171 0 15 Feb 2020

Buying your first home can be a great experience, but for many of our clients it has been…complicated, to say the least. The market in Western New York (where I live) is bursting at the seams with young dreamers hoping to make their first home purchase, but we are not alone! Renters all over the country are looking to buy, but are instead experiencing the stony truth of the housing shortage across the nation.

According to the Wall Street Journal, 22 of the 50 states in the continental U.S. have built too few houses to keep up with economic growth since 2000. Home construction per household remains near the lowest level within the last 60 years! This creates an unavoidable problem for a new generation that just wants a place to call their own.

If you’re looking to purchase your first home, it’s important to know the lingo! No matter what stage you’re at in the home-buying process, the terms I’ve defined below will help as you learn how to make an offer you’re comfortable with and that the sellers will love. A real estate agent will reference these definitions, but for newbies, it’s nice to understand the ‘simple’ answer.

Binder

This is where we come in and not until after your purchase offer and financing are in place.  An Insurance Binder is a legal agreement issued by either an agent or an insurer to provide temporary evidence of insurance until a policy can be issued. Binders should contain definite time limits, should be in writing, and should clearly designate the insurer with which the risk is bound under.

THE MONEY

Mortgage

A mortgage is a loan agreement between you, the home buyer, and a bank or other creditor. They lend you the money and you get a home. To repay the bank or creditor for providing this money, the home buyer agrees to pay back the amount they borrow to purchase the home (the principal) plus an additional amount of money as interest

You can change the repayment terms on a loan by choosing a 15-year fixed rate mortgage instead of a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, which means you’ll pay off the loan principal and accrued interest in 15 years instead of 30. This will increase your monthly payment, but will decrease the total amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan. Note: there are many different types of mortgages! While I only mentioned a 15-Year and 30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage, there are also variable rate and alternative loan programs like FHA (Federal Housing Administration) and VA (Veteran Affairs).

Down Payment

A down payment is a percentage of your home’s purchase price that you pay up front when you close your home loan in addition to the money you borrow. Lenders often look at the down payment amount as your investment in the home. Not only will it affect how much you’ll need to borrow, it can also influence:

  • Whether your lender will require you to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). Typically, you’ll need PMI if you put down less than 20% of the home’s purchase price.
  • What type of loan is best suited to you, such as a fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage?
  • Your interest rate can be affected by your down payment. Your lender will often offer you a lower rate if you can make a higher down payment.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

If you are unable to pay 20% down on your home purchase, private mortgage insurance may be required by your lender. PMI is a special type of insurance to protect a lender (the bank or creditor) against loss if a borrower (you) defaults on your obligation to repay the loan. This type of insurance is costly and is not required if you can afford a 20% down payment.

Even if your lender requires you to obtain PMI, you may not need to carry the PMI over the life of the loan. Check w/ your lender about your options to terminate the PMI once you have achieved a specified level of equity in your home.

Appraised Value

Many lenders require a formal appraisal by a licensed appraiser to ensure the value of your home is at least as great as the purchase price. This appraisal occurs between when your offer is accepted and when you close on the house. While you may have offered $180,000 on a house, if the appraiser returns and says the house is worth $170,000, you either have to pay that $10,000 difference in cash or ask the seller to reduce the purchase price to $170,000.

Earnest Money

Earnest money is submitted with your offer to demonstrate your intent to follow through with the sale if your offer is accepted. The appropriate amount of earnest money varies from market to market; your realtor can advise on what is customary for your situation. Earnest money can be handled in many ways; the following are common scenarios:

  1. Allocated to Down Payment or Closing Costs: If all contingencies on your offer are met and you proceed with the purchase of the home, you can allocate this earnest money to your down payment or closing costs.
  2. Reclaimed: If one or more contingencies on your offer are not met, for instance, the home appraises under offer price, or it fails inspection, you’re typically allowed to reclaim your earnest money.
  3. Say ‘Goodbye’ (Surrendered): If all contingencies are met but you back out of the contract, you may not be entitled to get your earnest money back.

Closing Costs

These are the costs incurred for the various expenses involved in the home buying transaction like title insurance, loan origination fees and appraisal fees. These costs vary widely from transaction to transaction. Your realtor and lender can assist you with learning more about the closing costs for which you will be responsible, but you can safely assume an average between 2%-5% of the purchase price.

Remember, you as a buyer are responsible for paying your closing costs in addition to your down payment. So, while you might have $30,000 saved up for a 20% down payment, you will also need additional funds to afford closing costs.

THE TACTICS

Closing Date

The closing date is the date you sign all the documents necessary to officially purchase a house. This is typically about a month after your offer is accepted. However, do not confuse this date with possession date, which is defined below.

Possession Date

At closing, you officially own the property. However, you may have agreed in your purchase agreement to allow the former owners to keep possession of the property until a later date. This means that although you have paid the down payment, paid closing costs and are now responsible for the mortgage, you still do not have the right to move into your new home.

Possession dates that don’t line up with the closing date generally occur because the sellers need time to find a new place to live. However, the buyer must agree to a later possession date as part of the purchase agreement in order for the seller to retain possession of the property after the closing.

Inspection

A home inspection is a non-invasive, examination of the condition of the house that is designed to identify any problem areas with the property. The home inspector typically looks for evidence of insect, water or fire damage that may affect the value of the property. They will likely check heating, cooling, electrical and plumbing systems. They also may check structural items like the floors, walls and ceilings as well as the roof and attic. If your house has a basement, it should be examined for leaks and to make sure it has the proper supports in place. Remember, a home inspection is an examination of the property’s condition, and is not the same thing as a home appraisal (see definition above). If your inspector finds damage in the home, you may be able to negotiate that the seller fixes the issues or agree to a lower purchase price.

Buying a house is complicated! But once you find the one that makes you feel at home, the headaches seem to be worth it. Best of luck to you and let us know as soon as your purchase offer is accepted.  Your mortgage lender will need an insurance binder from us.

Some of this article was written by Foremost, one of the companies we represent.  The Southcott Agency Inc. represents many insurance companies in order to best serve you.  The Southcott Agency Inc. is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Foremost Creative Team

Foremost, is packed full of product specialists, creative marketers, and stellar writers. So, read up on the newest trends and the interesting parts of insurance we bring to you right here on our blog. Yes, we did say interesting parts of insurance.

identity theft

Identity Theft

256 0 01 Feb 2020

How to protect yourself against identity theft and respond if it happens.

Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S., announced a data breach that affects 143 million consumers. The hackers accessed Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers.

Equifax has launched a tool that will let you know if you were affected by the breach. Visit Equifax’s website dedicated to this breach (www.equifaxbreachsettlement.com) to learn if you were impacted. You will need to provide your last name and the last six numbers of your Social Security number.

If you are impacted, Equifax offers you a free credit monitoring service, TrustedIDPremier. However, you won’t be able to enroll in it immediately. You will be given a date when you can return to the site to enroll. Equifax will not send you a reminder to enroll. Mark that date on your calendar, so you can start monitoring your credit as soon as possible.

If you detect suspicious activity on your credit report due to the breach, learn how to report it immediately.

The FTC also offers more information on how to protect yourself after a data breach. Learn how to report and recover from identity theft at IdentityTheft.gov.

Identity Theft

Identity (ID) theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud.

The identity thief may use your information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. These acts can damage your credit status, and cost you time and money to restore your good name.

You may not know that you’re the victim of ID theft immediately. You could be a victim if you receive:

  • Bills for items you didn’t buy
  • Debt collection calls for accounts you didn’t open
  • Denials for loan applications

Children and seniors are both vulnerable to ID theft.Child ID theft may go undetected for many years. Victims may not know until they’re adults, applying for their own loans. Seniors are vulnerable because they share their personal information often with doctors and caregivers. The number of people and offices that access their information put them at risk.

Types of ID Theft

There are several common types of identity theft that can affect you:

  • Tax ID theft – Someone uses your Social Security number to falsely file tax returns with the IRS or your state
  • Medical ID theft – Someone steals your Medicare ID or health insurance member number. Thieves use this information to get medical services or send fake bills to your health insurer.
  • Social ID theft – Someone uses your name and photos to create a fake account on social media

Take steps to avoid being a victim of identity theft. Secure your internet connections, use security features, and review bills. Read more below about how you can prevent identity theft.

Prevent Identity Theft

Keep these tips in mind to protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Secure your Social Security number (SSN). Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet. Only give out your SSN when necessary.
  • Don’t share personal information (birthdate, Social Security number, or bank account number) because someone asks for it.
  • Collect your mail every day. Place a hold on your mail when you are away from home for several days.
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
  • Use the security features on your mobile phone.
  • Update sharing and firewall settings when you’re on a public wi-fi network. Use a virtual private network (VPN), if you use public wi-fi.
  • Review your credit card and bank account statements. Compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
  • Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired credit cards. This can prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
  • Store personal information in a safe place.
  • Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
  • Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases
  • Review your credit reports once a year. Be certain that they don’t include accounts that you have not opened. You can order it for free from Annualcreditreport.com.
  • Freeze your credit files with Equifax, Experian, Innovis, TransUnion, and the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange for free. Credit freezes prevent someone from applying for and getting approval for a credit account or utility services in your name.

Report Identity Theft

Report identity (ID) theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338.

If you report identity theft online, you will receive an identity theft report and a recovery plan. Create an account on the website to:

  • Update your recovery plan,
  • Track your progress,  
  • Receive prefilled form letters to send to creditors.

If you don’t create an account, you won’t be able to access the report or letters later. Download the FTC’s publication for detailed tips, checklists, and sample letters. 

If you report identity theft by phone, the FTC will collect the details of your situation. But it won’t give you an ID theft report or recovery plan.  

You may also choose to report your identity theft to your local police station.  It could be necessary if:

  • You know the identity thief
  • The thief used your name in an interaction with the police

A creditor or another company requires you to provide a police report.  

Report Specific Types of Identity Theft

You may also report specific types of identity theft to other federal agencies.

Report Identity Theft to Other Organizations

You can also report the theft to other organizations, such as:

  • Credit Reporting Agencies – Contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies to place fraud alerts or freezes on your accounts. Also get copies of your credit reports, to be sure that no one has already tried to get unauthorized credit accounts with your personal information. Confirm that the credit reporting agency will alert the other two credit reporting agencies.
  • National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center – Report cases of identity theft due to a stay in a nursing home or long-term care facility. 
  • Financial Institutions – Contact the fraud department at your bank, credit card issuers and any other places where you have accounts.  
  • Retailers and Other Companies – Report the crime to companies where the identity thief opened credit accounts or even applied for jobs.
  • State Consumer Protection Offices – Some states offer resources to help you recover from identity theft.

You may need to get new personal records or identification cards if you’re the victim of ID theft.  Learn how to replace your vital identification documents after identity theft. 

Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft happens when someone uses your name, Social Security number, insurance plan number, or other personal information to get:

  • Medical care
  • Medication
  • Access to your medical records
  • Coverage under your name from your insurance company or Medicare

Report Medical Identity Theft

If you believe you’ve been a victim of medical identity theft, call the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-438-4338 (TTY: 1-866-653-4261) and your health insurance company’s fraud department. You can report the theft through IdentityTheft.gov to share with the FTC and with law enforcement. Also, get copies of your medical records and work with your doctor’s office and insurance company to correct them.

If you suspect that you have been the victim of Medicare fraud, contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Inspector General at 1-800-447-8477.

Prevent Medical Identity Theft

Take these steps to prevent medical identity theft:

  1. Guard your Social Security, Medicare, and health insurance identification numbers. Only give your number to your physician or other approved health care providers.
  2. Review your explanation of benefits or Medicare Summary Notice to make sure that the claims match the services you received. Report questionable charges to your health insurance provider or Medicare.
  3. Request and carefully review a copy of your medical records for inaccuracies and conditions that you don’t have.

Do you need help?

Heart tree red field

News You Can Use – February 2020

303 0 01 Feb 2020

Happy Valentines Week

Celebrating the Valentine week or love week is nothing but taking out some extra time for your loved ones. People across the globe celebrate Valentine’s Day with great zest, they do special things for their loved ones. Every year on Valentine’s Day, February 14, people exchange flowers and gifts, remembering St. Valentine. As the month of February starts, each day comes up with a new reason to celebrate love. Here’s what you can do on the list of days left to be celebrated ahead of the Valentine’s Day.

Here’s what each day in Valentine week signifies:

Rose Day – February 7
A Red rose is a symbol of love! People on Rose Day give roses to their beloveds as a symbol of their love and affection.

Propose Day – February 8
One of the best days of the whole Valentine’s week! The day brings the best opportunity to spell out your feelings. Approach your crush in the most romantic way and tell them what you feel for them directly.

Chocolate Day – February 9
Chocolate is the perfect gift for every occasion! So, on the third day of the Valentine week, Chocolate day, gift chocolates to your love and let them know that he/she is the dessert of your life.

Teddy Day – February 10
Teddy Day is the cutest way to let your love know how much you adore them and what you mean to them. Exchange Teddy bears this day with messages.

Promise Day – February 11
This day is important because you make meaningful promises to your loved ones for a lasting relationship. A promise to stay by their side forever.

Hug Day – February 12
Sometimes a warm hug says it all and what the words can’t describe. Hug to express love and affection, the warm and charming feeling will make your love happy.

Kiss Day – February 13
Kiss represents love, care and affection. Out of the hundreds of ways, express love in the form of a kiss.

Valentine’s Day – February 14
Finally, Valentine’s Day arrives. Spend this whole day with your loved ones, express your love in the best manner possible and make them feel special. Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day.


Hershey Kiss Cookies

1/2c. butter
1/2c. peanut butter
1/2c. sugar
1/2c. brown sugar

Beat well

Then add:
1 egg
2T. Milk
1t. milk

Add dry ingredients:
1/2t. salt
1t. soda
1 3/4 c. flour

Mix thoroughly and shape into walnut-size balls.

Roll into white sugar and place onto a baking sheet.

Cook at 375 F. for 8 – 10 min.

Remove from the oven and place a chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie and press down.

Let set until completely cool.


Are you about to inherit

$1,000,000.00?

While people may chuckle and joke about receiving e-mails from the Prince of Nigeria who needs you to send him money to secure an inheritance, internet scams are happening all over the world, every day. And for those who are victim to them, they are nothing to laugh about. A few prominent Internet scams are the following:

Advance Fee Fraud

The scam mentioned above would fall into this category, where the scammer promises some sort of large sum of money if fees, usually for legal costs, are paid. Once the person pays the fees, more fees suddenly pop up and the scammer requests more money before the phony reward is delivered. This continues until the person realizes they are being scammed or until they run out of money to send.

Charity Scam

This scam occurs when scammers pose as a charity online in order to receive money from people who genuinely believe they are helping those less fortunate than themselves. These types of scams usually pop up after a natural disaster such as a hurricane or a tsunami, or after tragedies such as 9/11.

These are just a few of the many Internet scams that are currently circulating and there are criminals online working on new scams right now. It is important to be able to spot the scams and not get caught in a situation where you will be taken advantage of.

From phishing to identity theft, scammers are using the Internet every day to take advantage of unsuspecting users. While you may feel confident that you can spot a scam, do you think your Dad could, or your Grandma, or your Daughter? Do you, yourself, know of the latest trends of this type of fraud?

It is important to educate ourselves on the latest scams and make sure our family members and friends are up-to-date as well. That is why websites like https://www.antiscamnews.com are so important. We can find the information we need to recognize the signs and protect ourselves and our loved ones. We can also learn about volunteer groups working together online to try to combat this fraud, and what part we can do to help.


Important Crop Insurance Information

February 1st

Onion Sales closing date –change of update options
Review Unit Structure
Report 2019 Production

March 15th

Spring crops, corn, soybeans, potatoes, cabbage, etc. Sales closing date.
Change or update coverage options, review unit structure, report 2019 production

New this April

Apple trees can be covered!

This program is so new, we do not have the policy language and details of the claim process yet. When we do, we will have a series of breakfast meetings to explain the new program.

So far we know:
April 15th is the sales closing date for signing up.
July 1st is the beginning of the policy period.
July 15th acreage reports are due.

Surprisingly, you do not have to have insurance on all acreage.
We will be sending an email to all our apple growers with more details.

As always, call the office if you have questions at (585) 589-6236


Please welcome Sarah

Sarah Bovenzi is a licensed Property and Casualty Agent and is currently working on a degree from GCC. Previously employed at Medina Sod Farms in Orrville, Ohio and Bentley Bros Inc.; Sarah’s expertise is in customer service.

Cooking, reading and spending time with her two cats, Meenos and Anafi are her favorite pastimes. Sarah is looking forward to meeting all of you and continuing the team effort of great customer service from The Southcott Agency Inc.


2020 Resolution follow up?

Be Yourself – This resolution will be helpful for the rest of your life.

Every year is a turning point, but starting a whole new decade provides even more incentive to make big shifts and create new, powerful visions for yourself and your business.

However, most New Year’s resolutions are forgotten within a few weeks. So, how can you make 2020 different?

Make being yourself your number one goal.

That sounds pretty simple but many of us have bad habits that keep us from enjoying day to day life as the unique person we are.

  • Stop comparing yourself to others constantly.
  • Stop trying to live up to others’ expectations–those of your parents, spouse, friends, siblings, you name it. You end up molding yourself into what they want rather than what’s right for you.
  • Stop measuring your success based on external opinions.
  • Stop feeling that the hard work you do is never enough.

Snow Removal:

Are you Responsible?

Do you dream of shoveling and snow blowing in a winter wonderland? No? It’s a winter chore that needs to be done when the snow adds up, but who is responsible? Typically, if you own and live in your home, it’s your responsibility to shovel the snow on your driveway and sidewalk. However, if you rent a home or multi-family dwelling, things can get a little foggy – who’s responsible? If it wasn’t discussed or isn’t in the lease, what are you supposed to do?

If you have a lease that doesn’t specify whether your landlord will take care of snow removal, the responsibility may fall on you. If you live in a snowy state, this is definitely something to negotiate in your lease before signing, especially if you don’t love heaving the white stuff!

Another consideration is many local city ordinances require sidewalks, streets and curbs to be clean and passable. The homeowner, landlord (or tenant, depending on what the lease says) is typically required to remove snow within a certain period of time or they could face a fine.

If a person with disabilities is prevented access to a certain area from snow, or worse – gets injured on the sidewalks because someone didn’t shovel– it poses an even greater and more serious problem.


Congratulations!

Cal Winkstern has won our annual iPad drawing!
Thank you, Cal, for your referrals.

Tell your friends and family about The Southcott Agency’s Referral Program and you will receive a $20.00 gift card. You will also be entered into our monthly drawing and you could be next year’s grand prize winner!


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

fireplace safety

Fireplace and Generator Safety and Prevention of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

276 0 14 Jan 2020

Things to Know Before You Spark Up the Logs

With natural gas and propane prices continuing to rise, you’ll likely be looking to the old fireplace this winter to help cut your home-heating bills. But before you spark up the logs, take heed that fireplaces and chimneys are involved in 42 percent of all home-heating fires. So first make sure you know how to use your fireplace by following these seven safety tips.

1. Hire a Chimney Sweep

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris. Find a certified sweep in your area via the Chimney Safety Institute of America.

2. Check for Damage

In addition to cleaning, a chimney sweep should inspect the chimney structure for cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar. Chimney liners should also be checked for cracking or deterioration.

3. Cap the Chimney

A cap fitted with wire-mesh sides covers the top of the chimney and keeps rain, birds, squirrels, and debris from entering. Replace or repair a cap that’s missing or damaged.

4. Burn Seasoned Hardwoods

Choose dense wood, such as oak, that’s been split and stored in a high and dry place for at least six months. Green wood and resinous softwoods like pine produce more creosote, a flammable by-product of combustion that can build up in the chimney.

5. Don’t Overload

Small fires generate less smoke, thus less creosote buildup. Also, a fire that’s too large or too hot can crack the chimney.

6. Build It Right

Place logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Use kindling, rather than flammable liquids, to start the fire.

7. Use a Spark Guard

Prevent errant embers from shooting out of the firebox with a mesh metal screen or glass fireplace doors. A guard in front of an open flame is especially important when the room is unoccupied.

Must-Know Tips for Using Your Generator Safely

Power generators can be a lifeline for you and your family in the event you experience a blackout. Properly maintaining your generator is vital to ensuring that it works when you need it. Improper usage of a generator can lead to it malfunctioning or worse, causing a fire and putting your family in danger. By following some simple steps, your generator should be able to provide you with the safety and power security you need during a power outage.

Check the Fuel Level
Your portable generator runs on fuel and it’s necessary to ensure that the tank is kept full. The full line in the tank is typically about an inch from top. Do not put any extra fuel in the generator tank. This could lead to fuel spillage and cause an accidental fire.

Check the Oil Level
Your generator also needs oil to run. Be sure the oil is at an optimal level by lifting the off cap.  If necessary, pour in more oil to fill the tank. Be sure to determine from your product guide the correct type of oil you need before putting it in the tank.

Find a Safe Place
Never run your generator in your home! Push your generator into an outdoor area that is well-ventilated and make sure the exhaust pipe is pointed in a direction away from your home. The fact that your generator is outside does not prevent fumes from getting into your home through windows, doors or exhaust openings. It is vital to ensure that the generator exhaust is located in a dry area at least ten feet from your windows and doors so that it cannot enter your home. This will prevent any chances of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. It’s a wise choice to have a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm installed in your home. This device will notify you if any CO fumes from your generator do enter your home and put you and your family at risk.

Turn on Your Generator
Set the fuel valve on your generator to “ON.” This is typically a vertical position on most generators. Next, pull the generator choke to “ON” as well. Finally, press the control “ON” button to start the generator. Once the generator has begun operating, you can release the choke.

Plug In Your Appliances
Plug your devices into an extension cord that is designed for this purpose and that can be used outside. Then, plug the extension cord into the generator. If the power outage is lengthy and you need to refill the fuel tank on your generator, turn off all of the connected devices and then turn off the generator as well. Allow the generator enough time to cool completely before adding more fuel to the tank.

Prevent Power Overload
Your generator is designed to support a specific number of electric devices. Smaller generators can usually provide around 3,000 watts of power. That amount of wattage would be enough to power a refrigerator, several lights and a fan or two. Trying to power too many devices can lead to fuse problems on the generator and electrical damage to the devices you are attempting to power. Non-essential appliances should be left off until the power outage is over.

Provide Proper Maintenance
It’s important to keep your generator well-maintained in order for it to operate properly during a blackout. Turn on your generator once a month for about ten minutes to check that it is running as it should be. Your generator should be placed in a safe area outside while you check it. Ensure that you have an electrical appliance connected to it while it is running. If necessary, fill the tank with fuel and make sure that the oil is at its proper level as well. When you are sure that your generator is operating properly, place it back in its normal storage space. Store the fuel for your generator in a proper safety container. Be sure that the fuel container is placed in an area away from your living space.

How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Anyone can be at risk. The CDC says infants, the elderly, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia or breathing problems are more prone to illness or death, but carbon monoxide doesn’t discriminate.

Winter can be a prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning as people turn on their heating systems and mistakenly warm their cars in garages. So, as the weather turns colder, it’s important to take extra precautions.

The National Safety Council recommends you install a battery-operated or battery backup carbon monoxide detector in the hallway near each separate sleeping area in your home. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall and replace the detector every five years.

The CDC offers these additional tips:

  • Have your furnace, water heater and any other gas or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors
  • Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished
  • Never use a gas oven for heating your home
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes, even if doors and windows are open
  • Never run a car in a garage that is attached to a house, even with the garage door open; always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car inside

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The U.S. Fire Administration has put together materials on the dangers of carbon monoxide, including a list of carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms.

Symptom severity varies depending on the level of carbon monoxide and duration of exposure. Mild symptoms sometimes are mistaken for flu.

Low to moderate carbon monoxide poisoning is characterized by:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High-level carbon monoxide poisoning results in:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

If you think you are experiencing any of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, go outside and get fresh air immediately. You could lose consciousness and die if you stay in the home.

When the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sounds

The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that you should never ignore a carbon monoxide alarm, and do not try to find the source of the gas. Instead, follow these steps:

  • Immediately move outside to fresh air
  • Call emergency services, fire department or 9-1-1
  • Do a head count to check to account for everyone
  • Do not reenter the premises until emergency responders have given you permission to do so
heater

Space Heater Safety

235 0 07 Jan 2020

Small space heaters are typically used when the main heating system is inadequate or when central heating is too costly to install or operate. In some cases, small space heaters can be less expensive to use if you only want to heat one room or supplement inadequate heating in one room. They can also boost the temperature of rooms used by individuals who are sensitive to cold, especially elderly persons, without overheating your entire home.

Space heater capacities generally range between 10,000 Btu and 40,000 Btu per hour, and commonly run on electricity, propane, natural gas, and kerosene

Although most space heaters work by convection (the circulation of air in a room), some rely on radiant heating. Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly heats objects and people within their line of sight, and are a more efficient choice when you will be in a room for only a few hours and can stay within the line of sight of the heater. They can also be more efficient when you will be using a room for a short period because they save energy by directly heating the occupant of the room and the occupant’s immediate surroundings rather than the whole room.

Safety is a top consideration when using space heaters. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters, resulting in more than 300 deaths. In addition, an estimated 6,000 people receive hospital emergency room care for burn injuries associated with contacting the hot surfaces of room heaters, mostly in non-fire situations.

When buying and installing a small space heater, follow these guidelines:

  • Only purchase newer model heaters that have all of the current safety features. Make sure the heater carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Choose a thermostatically controlled heater, because they avoid the energy waste of overheating a room.
  • Select a heater of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a general sizing table.
  • Locate the heater on a level surface away from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep children and pets away from the heater.

Vented and Unvented Combustion Space Heaters

Space heaters are classified as vented and unvented or “vent-free.” Unvented combustion units are not recommended for use inside your home, because they introduce unwanted combustion products into the living space—including nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and water vapor—and deplete air in the space. Most states have banned unvented kerosene heaters for use in the home and at least five have banned the use of unvented natural gas heaters.

Vented units are designed to be permanently located next to an outside wall, so that the flue gas vent can be installed through a ceiling or directly through the wall to the outside. Look for sealed combustion or “100% outdoor air” units, which have a duct to bring outside into the combustion chamber. Sealed combustion heaters are much safer to operate than other types of space heaters, and operate more efficiently because they do not draw in the heated air from the room and exhaust it to the outdoors. They are also less likely to backdraft and adversely affect indoor air quality.

Less expensive (and less efficient) units use the room air for combustion. They do not have a sealed glass front to keep room air away from the fire and should not be confused with a sealed combustion heater.

In addition to the manufacturer’s installation and operating instructions, you should follow these general safety guidelines for operating any combustion space heater:

  • For liquid-fueled heaters, use only the approved fuel. Never use gasoline! Follow the manufacturer’s fueling instructions. Never fill a heater that is still hot. Do not overfill the heater — you must allow for the expansion of the liquid. Only use approved containers clearly marked for that particular fuel, and store them outdoors.
  • Have vented space heaters professionally inspected every year. If the heater is not vented properly, not vented at all, or if the vent is blocked, separated, rusted, or corroded, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can enter the home causing sickness and death. CO also can be produced if the heater is not properly set up and adjusted for the type of gas used and the altitude at which it is installed.

Electric Space Heaters

Electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion space heaters, but they are the only unvented space heaters that are safe to operate inside your home. Although electric space heaters avoid indoor air quality concerns, they still pose burn and fire hazards and should be used with caution.

For convection (non-radiant) space heaters, the best types incorporate a heat transfer liquid, such as oil, that is heated by the electric element. The heat transfer fluid provides some heat storage, allowing the heater to cycle less and to provide a more constant heat source.

When buying and installing an electric space heater, you should follow these general safety guidelines:

  • Electric heaters should be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Always check and follow any manufacturer’s instructions pertaining to the use of extension cords.
  • Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.

Carbon Monoxide:

The Invisible Killer

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that often goes undetected, striking victims caught off guard or in their sleep.

More than 400 people in the U.S. die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 others are hospitalized.

This “invisible killer” is produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators or furnaces. When the gas builds up in enclosed spaces, people or animals who breathe it can be poisoned. Ventilation does not guarantee safety.

How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Anyone can be at risk. The CDC says infants, the elderly, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia or breathing problems are more prone to illness or death, but carbon monoxide doesn’t discriminate.

Winter can be a prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning as people turn on their heating systems and mistakenly warm their cars in garages. So as the weather turns colder, it’s important to take extra precautions.

The National Safety Council recommends you install a battery-operated or battery backup carbon monoxide detector in the hallway near each separate sleeping area in your home. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall and replace the detector every five years.

The CDC offers these additional tips:

  • Have your furnace, water heater and any other gas or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors
  • Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished
  • Never use a gas oven for heating your home
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes, even if doors and windows are open
  • Never run a car in a garage that is attached to a house, even with the garage door open; always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car inside
new year 2020

News You Can Use – January 2020

317 0 01 Jan 2020

8 Tips to Help You

Recover from a Cold

Hang out in humidity – There’s no way to kill off the cold virus in your system. But as it wreaks havoc on your body, you can help the collateral damage heal faster. Treat your dry tissues to humidified air.

Take in extra liquids – Drink lots of water, or comforting warm beverages like herbal tea or broth. Fluids will prevent dehydration and make your throat feel better. They’ll also thin mucus and reduce the risk of lung or ear infections. But avoid alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, as they can contribute to dehydration instead of preventing it.

Give your nose some TLC – A saline solution (nasal spray or drops) can ease stuffiness in your nose. It prevents damage to the tissue, and it clears passages and allows the mucus to move along.

Gargle with salt water – Gargling with warm salted water (half a teaspoon of salt per glass) will often make your sore throat feel better, albeit temporarily.

Get extra sleep – A good night’s sleep – or three – will help your body bounce back more quickly.

Feed your cold – Your body also relies on a healthy, well-balanced diet to get well, so make sure you’re having frequent, nourishing meals and snacks. Your appetite may seem poor so try our Chicken Soup recipe that is full of nutrients and easily tolerated.

Cut out cigarettes – If you smoke, stop. If you can’t, then try to cut back on cigarettes while you’re sick. The smoke can irritate the respiratory system, making your cold last longer and raising your risk of other respiratory infections.

Take supplements… but not too seriously – Will zinc, Echinacea, vitamin C or garlic make a difference – besides to your bank account, that is? The evidence for these is mixed. In studies where they do appear to help, it seems important to take the supplements at the very beginning of a cold. But to date, there’s no high-quality research that proves these can shorten a cold.


Healthy Chicken Soup

Healthy Chicken Soup

Immune boosting soup is loaded with fresh organic produce, cooked free-range chicken, and seasoned with garlic, ginger, turmeric, and curry.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery ribs, sliced
1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into slivers
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoon curry
1 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups of water
1-pound cooked chicken, shredded
1 8 oz. package baby Portabella mushrooms
3 medium leaves kale
8 oz egg noodles
scallions or parsley for garnish

Instructions:
This easy chicken soup recipe comes together in about 30 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot.
Add the onion, carrots, celery, and ginger. Cook for 6-7 minutes or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
Toss in the garlic, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally.
Add the spices, chicken stock, and chicken and stir to combine.
Continue to cook until the soup reaches a simmer.
Then reduce heat to medium-low, add mushrooms, kale, and egg noodles.
Cover with a lid, and let simmer for about 30 minutes.
Garnish with scallions and parsley. 


NEW!

Starting January 1, 2020, all farms must provide New York State disability benefits to all farm employees and all farm employees must contribute through payroll deduction to paid family leave.

New York State has granted an extension until January 31, 2020 to have a policy in place.
Call the office at 585 589-6236 to start a disability policy.


Just Keep Talking

Referral Program

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules:  Available upon request


Important Crop Insurance Dates

January 15th 2020
Apples, Peaches, Grapes, Cherries 2019 Production  Report & 2020 Acreage Report

February 1st 2020
Onion sales closing date—change or update coverage options, review unit structure, report 2019 Production

March 15th 2020
Spring crops, corn, soybeans, potatoes, cabbage, etc. Sales closing date. Change or update coverage options, review unit structure. Report 2019 production

Need more information?  Contact us anytime at (585) 589-6236.


Hello January

Welcome to 2020!  Here’s to another great year.

Have you ever wondered how long the average American keeps a resolution?

Resolutions typically are made January 1st as it is a time of reflection and new beginnings. We desire to re-prioritize what matters most to us and make choices accordingly.  Vitogene, a DNA analytic company, surveyed Americans in every state in an attempt to determine resolutions by state and the degree by which they are kept.

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions Nationwide

Exercise to get in shape

Diet to lose weight

Save money

Eat healthier in general

Self-improvement

19.7%

18.3%

14.8%

11.9%

5.5%

The easiest resolution for Americans to keep is self-improvement with 26.5% sticking to some sort of personal development for the entire year.

Americans seem to have the most difficulty making healthy dietary changes.  The greatest percentage of New Yorkers made this their resolution.

South Dakota is the best at keeping resolutions; 37.5% say they did.  Only 4.5% of New Mexico residents kept their resolution for the year.

How long are resolutions kept?

1 month or less

6 months or less

1 year or less

Permanently

36.6%

83.3%

88.6%

11.4%

If you are struggling to keep the commitment you made to yourself, perhaps the American Psychological Association’s advise will help. They offer 5 simple suggestions.

Start small
Change one behavior at a time
Talk about it
Don’t beat yourself up
Ask for support


Carbon Monoxide:

The Invisible Killer

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that often goes undetected, striking victims caught off guard or in their sleep.

This “invisible killer” is produced by burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, portable generators or furnaces. When the gas builds up in enclosed spaces, people or animals who breathe it can be poisoned. Ventilation does not guarantee safety.

How Can I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

The CDC offers these additional tips:

  • Have your furnace, water heater and any other gas or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • Have your chimney checked and cleaned every year, and make sure your fireplace damper is open before lighting a fire and well after the fire is extinguished.
  • Never use a gas oven for heating your home.
  • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door or vent; fatal levels of carbon monoxide can be produced in just minutes, even if doors and windows are open.
  • Never run a car in a garage that is attached to a house, even with the garage door open; always open the door to a detached garage to let in fresh air when you run a car inside.
  •  

Seasonal Depression:

Common but Treatable

If shorter days and shifts in weather zap your energy and make you feel blue, you’ve got classic symptoms of a seasonal mood disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of seasonal depression triggered by the change in seasons that occurs primarily in winter. Why do some people get SAD? Experts aren’t certain, but some think that seasonal changes disrupt the circadian rhythm: the 24-hour clock that regulates how we function during sleeping and waking hours, causing us to feel energized and alert sometimes and drowsy at other times.

Another theory is that the changing seasons disrupt hormones such as serotonin and melatonin, which regulate sleep, mood, and feelings of well-being. About 4 to 6 percent of U.S. residents suffer from SAD, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

It is important to treat SAD, because all forms of depression limit people’s ability to live their lives to the fullest, to enjoy their families, and to function well at work,” says Deborah Pierce, MD, MPH, clinical associate professor of family medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in Rochester, New York. Their website offers some specific treatments if you feel you have SAD.


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

Winter Storm Safety

Winter Storm Safety (continued)

179 0 22 Dec 2019

Learn how to stay safe during a blizzard.

Each year, hundreds of Americans are injured or killed by exposure to cold, vehicle accidents on wintry roads, and fires caused by the improper use of heaters. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe during blizzards and other winter storms!

Take immediate precautions if you hear these words on the news:

Winter Storm WARNING: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.

Blizzard WARNING: Sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, plus considerable falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile, expected to prevail for three hours or longer.

Protecting your pets & animals

  • Bring your companion animals indoors.
  • Ensure that you have supplies for cleanup for your companion animals, particularly if they are used to eliminating outdoors (large plastic bags, paper towels, and extra cat litter).
  • Create a place where your other animals can be comfortable in severe winter weather:  Horses and livestock should have a shelter where they can be protected from wind, snow, ice, and rain. Grazing animals should have access to a protected supply of food and non-frozen water.
  • Be aware of the potential for flooding when snow and ice melt and be sure that your animals have access to high ground that is not impeded by fencing or other barriers. You may not be able to get to them in time to relocate them in the event of flooding.
  • Ensure that any outbuildings that house or shelter animals can withstand wind and heavy snow and ice. Install snow fences in rural areas to reduce drifting snow on roads and paths, which could block access to homes, barns, and animals’ feed and water.

Right before a blizzard/winter storm

If you do nothing else:

  • Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
  • Be prepared to evacuate if you lose power or heat and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.
  • Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications and medical supplies. Keep it nearby.
  • Be sure you have ample heating fuel.
  • If you have alternative heating sources, such as fireplaces, wood- or coal-burning stoves, or space heaters, be sure they are clean and in working order.
  • Bring your companion animals inside and ensure that your horses and livestock have blankets if appropriate and unimpeded access to shelter, food, and non-frozen water.

Staying Safe During a Winter Storm or Blizzard

  • Stay indoors and wear warm clothes. Layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing will keep you warmer than a bulky sweater. If you feel too warm, remove layers to avoid sweating; if you feel chilled, add layers.
  • Listen to a local station on battery-powered radio or television or to NOAA Weather Radio for updated emergency information.
  • Bring your companion animals inside before the storm begins.
  • Move other animals to sheltered areas with a supply of non-frozen water. Most animal deaths in winter storms are caused by dehydration.
  • Eat regularly. Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat.
  • Keep the body replenished with fluids to prevent dehydration. Drink liquids such as warm broth or juice. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine, a stimulant, accelerates the symptoms of hypothermia. Alcohol, such as brandy, is a depressant and hastens the effects of cold on the body. Alcohol also slows circulation and can make you less aware of the effects of cold. Both caffeine and alcohol can cause dehydration.
  • Conserve fuel. Winter storms can last for several days, placing great demand on electric, gas, and other fuel distribution systems (fuel oil, propane, etc.). Lower the thermostat to 65° F (18° C) during the day and to 55° F (13° C) at night. Close off unused rooms, and stuff towels or rags in cracks under the doors. Cover the windows at night.
  • Check on relatives, neighbors, and friends, particularly if they are elderly or if they live alone

Staying Safe Outside

If you must go outside, protect yourself from winter storm hazards:

  • Wear layered clothing, mittens or gloves, and a hat. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens or gloves and a hat will prevent the loss of body heat.
  • Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from severely cold air. Avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking.
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses much of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly away from the body.
  • Stretch before you go out. If you go out to shovel snow, do a few stretching exercises to warm up your body. This will reduce your chances of muscle injury.
  • Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a vehicle, or walking in deep snow. The strain from the cold and hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.
  • Walk carefully on snowy, icy sidewalks. Slips and falls occur frequently in winter weather, resulting in painful and sometimes disabling injuries.
  • If you must go out during a winter storm, use public transportation if possible. About 70 percent of winter deaths related to ice and snow occur in automobiles.

Driving in Winter Conditions

  • Check your vehicle emergency supplies kit and replenish it if necessary.
  • Bring enough of the following for each person:

– Blankets or sleeping bags
– Rain gear, extra sets of dry clothing, mittens, socks, and wool hats
– Newspapers for insulation
– Plastic bags for sanitation
– Canned fruit, nuts, and high energy snacks (Include a non-electric can opener if necessary)
– Warm broth in a thermos and several bottles of water
– Keep a cell phone or two-way radio with you. Make sure the battery is charged.
– Plan to travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person with you.

  • Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your vehicle gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
  • Before leaving, listen to weather reports for your area and the areas you will be passing through, or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions.
  • Be on the lookout for sleet, freezing rain, freezing drizzle, and dense fog, which can make driving very hazardous

If You Become Stranded

  • Stay in the vehicle and wait for help. Do not leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless help is visible within 100 yards (91 meters). You can quickly become disoriented and confused in blowing snow.
  • Display a trouble sign to indicate you need help. Hang a brightly colored cloth (preferably red) on the radio antenna and raise the hood after snow stops falling.
  • Run the engine occasionally to keep warm. Turn on the engine for about 10 minutes each hour (or five minutes every half hour). Running the engine for only short periods reduces the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and conserves fuel. Use the heater while the engine is running. Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow, and slightly open a downwind window for ventilation.
  • Leave the overhead light on when the engine is running so that you can be seen.
  • Do light exercises to keep up circulation. Clap your hands and move your arms and legs occasionally. Try not to stay in one position for too long.
  • If more than one person is in the vehicle, take turns sleeping. If you are not awakened periodically to increase body temperature and circulation, you can freeze to death.
  • Huddle together for warmth. Use newspapers, maps, and even the removable floor mats for added insulation. Layering items will help trap more body heat.
  • Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Severe cold can cause numbness, making you unaware of possible danger.
  • Drink fluids to avoid dehydration, which can make you more susceptible to the ill effects of cold and to heart attacks.
  • Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Shoveling snow or pushing a vehicle can bring on a heart attack or make other medical conditions worse.
Winter Storm Safety (Freezing Pipes)

Winter Storm Safety (Freezing Pipes)

217 0 15 Dec 2019

Take immediate precautions if you hear these words on the news:

Winter Storm WARNING: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.

Blizzard WARNING: Sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, plus considerable falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter-mile, expected to prevail for three hours or longer.

More storm words:

  • WIND CHILL Temperature: How cold people and animals feel when outside. As wind increases, heat is carried away from your body at a faster rate, driving down your body temperature and making you feel much colder. The wind chill temperature is not the actual temperature but rather how wind and cold feel on exposed skin.
  • Winter Storm OUTLOOK: Winter storm conditions possible in the next two to five days. Stay tuned to local media for updates.
  • Winter Storm WATCH: Winter storm conditions possible within the next 36 to 48 hours. Review your winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
  • Winter Weather ADVISORY: Winter weather conditions expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous but not life-threatening if you are cautious.

Be sure you’re Red Cross Ready. That means:

How to Prepare for a Winter Storm

Protecting your family

  • Talk with your family about what to do if a winter storm watch or warning is issued. Discussing winter storms ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for young children.
  • Have your vehicle winterized before the winter storm season to decrease your chance of being stranded in cold weather.
  • Have a mechanic check your battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, ignition system, thermostat, lights, flashing hazard lights, exhaust system, heater, brakes, defroster, and oil.
  • Install good winter tires with adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate but some jurisdictions require vehicles to be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
  • Keep in your vehicle: a windshield scraper and small broom, a small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels and a set of tire chains or traction mats, matches in a waterproof container, a brightly colored (preferably red) cloth to tie to the antenna, an emergency supply kit, including warm clothing.
  • Keep your vehicle’s gas tank full so you can leave right away in an emergency and keep the fuel line from freezing.
  • Keep a supply of non-clumping kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery.
  • Service snow removal equipment before the winter storm season and maintain it in good working order.
  • Keep handy a warm coat, gloves or mittens, hat, water-resistant boots, and extra blankets and warm clothing for each member of the household.

Protecting your home

Why Pipe Freezing is a Problem

Water has a unique property in that it expands as it freezes. This expansion puts tremendous pressure on whatever is containing it, including metal or plastic pipes. No matter the strength of a container, expanding water can cause pipes to break.

Pipes that freeze most frequently are:

  • Pipes that are exposed to severe cold, like outdoor hose bibs, swimming pool supply lines, and water sprinkler lines.
  • Water supply pipes in unheated interior areas like basements and crawl spaces, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets.
  • Pipes that run against exterior walls that have little or no insulation.

How to Protect Pipes from Freezing

Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:

  • Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer’s or installer’s directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
  • Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold-water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
  • Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape”, “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspapers can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
  • Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.

How to Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold-water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

How to Thaw Frozen Pipes

  • If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
  • Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hairdryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
  • Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you cannot thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
  • Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
  • Make sure your home heating sources are installed according to local codes and permit requirements and are clean and in working order.
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated. Caulk and weather-strip doors and windowsills to keep cold air out.
  • Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation to keep cold air out.
  • Consider buying emergency heating equipment, such as a wood- or coal-burning stove or an electric or kerosene heater.
  • Stoves must be properly vented and in good working order. Dispose of ashes safely. Keep a supply of wood or coal on hand.
  • Electric space heaters, either portable or fixed, must be certified by an independent testing laboratory. Plug a heater directly into the wall socket rather than using an extension cord and unplug it when it is not in use.
  • Use a kerosene heater only if permitted by law in your area; check with your local fire department. Use only the correct fuel for your unit. Properly ventilate the area. Refuel the unit outdoors only, and only when the unit is cool. Follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Consider storing sufficient heating fuel. Regular fuel sources may be cut off. Be cautious of fire hazards when storing any type of fuel.
  • If you have a fireplace, consider keeping a supply of firewood or coal. Be sure the fireplace is properly vented and in good working order and that you dispose of ashes safely.
  • Consider installing a portable generator, following our safety tips to avoid home fires and carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Consider purchasing flood insurance, if you live in a flood-prone area, to cover possible flood damage that may occur during the spring thaw. Homeowners’ policies do not cover damage from floods.

Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if you are at risk.

More information on NFIP is available at www.fema.gov/nfip.

Sant hat and tree

News You Can Use – December 2019

236 0 04 Dec 2019

Why does Santa Wear Red?

The legend goes that Santa’s suit is red because of a successful advertising campaign for Coca-Cola that featured Father Christmas wearing red robes with a white trim, the soft drink’s colors.

But the red and white actually derive from the colors of Saint Nicholas. Over time, the bishops’ red and white robes were replaced by a fur-trimmed suit. Historians argue that bishops’ robes appeared in many different colors but the red one came to be linked to Father Christmas during the 19th century.

Saint Nicholas was drawn throughout history in various forms: thin, intellectual and even frightening. It was Coca-Cola’s advertisements that created the image of the rotund, jolly, white-haired man we’re all familiar with today.


Newest grandson, Deangelo, sending Christmas joy your way!

As Christmas approaches, we all want to find wonderful gifts for the people we love. Some of us have limited funds, time, and energy. This can make Christmas dreadful rather than magical. Headaches over gift swaps, office gifts, secret Santa gifts, and family are not allowed! These suggestions may put a smile on your face and the recipient’s face also.

Give the gift of food
Our daughter thought of this for family gifts. She will make the in-law’s favorite meal and have them for dinner during the Holidays and they will do the same. No need for shopping, wrapping or returns. Best of all, you are socializing in person. That always makes me happy. I give favorite cookies, fudge and desserts for gifts. We have received and given local maple syrup, wine, and apples. Food is used and enjoyed.

Frame something sweet
A poem you wrote or a photo you took with a note is a one of a kind personalized gift. As a parent and grandparent, nothing makes me happier than framed family photos. You are giving a still moment that gives joy every time the photo is viewed.

Spend a day trip together
Offer to take someone to a place they would enjoy. This
could be shopping and lunch at the outlet mall or a day trip to
Niagara on the Lake or following a wine trail. This intangible gift of time is adding to the memory bank. Shared experiences are worth so much more than a sweater or a necktie.


Mock Cabbage Roll Casserole

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef
1 lg. onion, chopped
3/4 c. plain raw rice
1 sm. head green cabbage, chopped coarsely
1 can tomato soup plus 1/2 can water
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce

Instructions
Sauté ground beef and onion until meat is done.
Mix remaining ingredients together.
Combine with cooked meat and onions.
Pour into oven-safe casserole dish.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 90 minutes or until rice is tender.

This is my easy version of Gulumpki (Stuffed Cabbage Rolls) that tastes great and is so easy!


Keep Greenery Fresh

Everybody loves the look and fragrance of live seasonal greenery during the Christmas holidays. I try to use live evergreens as often as possible, but keeping it fresh for the four-week season can require some additional preparation.

Here is what I have learned about keeping holiday greenery as fresh as possible through the season:

  • Purchase your greenery or wreaths as close to the time you will be using them as possible.
  • Keep your branches and wreaths outside until needed.
  • When using branches, make a fresh stem cut. Then, place the stems (or even better) the whole branch in a bucket of water overnight. You should soak your wreath in water also.
  • Treat with an Anti-Desiccant Spray. It adds a protective waxy coating to the needles or leaves of evergreens to slow the process of water loss. It can be purchased at a garden center, nursery, or florist.
  • Mist your evergreen branches or wreaths with water as often as possible.
  • Keep away from heat and sunlight. If using lighting with your evergreens, use LED lights which are cooler. And, never place lit candles close by.
  • Consider using non-traditional substitutes. Topiary rosemary or boxwood plants, potted ferns or magnolia leaves add greens to your home and will (with proper care) be around longer than traditional greenery.

Is your Vacant Home

or Seasonal Migrant Camp Covered?

There are two terms to be aware of, unoccupied and vacant.

An unoccupied home, dwelling or building means that no one was there when the burglary, theft or freezing plumbing occurred. There is coverage when a home, dwelling or building is unoccupied.

Vacant means no one has been present in the home, dwelling or building in the last 30 days prior to the burglary, theft or freezing of plumbing.

We had a farm insured who owned several dwellings used for their seasonal labor needs. In the middle of January, someone broke into the dwelling and stripped all of the copper plumbing that they could get their hands on.

The issue as to whether or not the insurance coverage would respond came down to the issue… was this house unoccupied or vacant at the time of loss?

Our farm client was able to prove that the last employee tenant was living in the dwelling in the last 30 days. They did this by showing the exact date they requested utility services to be turned off and that the last phone bill issued to the employee tenant showed that this employee tenant occupied this dwelling in the last 30 days.

However, if the last employee tenant had left, say in late November or early December, and this dwelling was actually vacant for the previous 30 days before the theft this claim would have been denied by the exclusion.


Winter Car Kits

Emergencies can happen to anyone. Whether you run out of fuel, puncture a tire, or slip off a snowy road, keep a car emergency kit to help you get back on the road safely and quickly. In addition to the items listed below, a cell phone is highly advised. Make sure your cell phone is charged every time you get in the car and keep a cell phone charger in your car.

Minimum list:

  • Flashlight, plus extra batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • First Aid Kit (bandages, adhesive tape, antiseptic)
  • Bottled water
  • Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman Tool or a Swiss Army Knife)

Does This Holiday Season Include Travel and Car Rental?

Having good coverage on your personal auto can also save you money when renting a vehicle.

When you rent a car, you will be asked if you want to buy “coverage” from the rental car company. You do not have to buy their insurance to legally drive the car. It is best to be prepared and know that in New York state, your coverage follows you when renting a car. This means you will have Comprehensive and Collision coverage on the rental if you currently have it on your personal auto policy. Likewise, if you do not have the coverage on your current policy, you will not have it on the rental vehicle.

If you only have liability coverage and do not have comprehensive and collision coverage, you MAY NEED to buy the rental car company’s insurance coverage, because liability on your auto plan will not cover anything that happens to the rental car.

If your personal auto policy includes liability insurance and most do, your policy will pay for any damage or injuries you cause to other cars or property up to the payout limits.

To find more information on rental car coverage, call our office to find more information about your personal coverage.


Attention

Important

Starting January 1st, 2018, New York State mandated that employers must provide Paid Family Leave along with their New York State Disability coverage.

Traditionally farms were exempt from New York State Disability requirements unless for office or administration personnel, employees working in farm market or retail establishments or if you have agribusiness packed farm products or produce for others.

NEW!!
Starting January 1, 2020, all farms must provide New York State disability benefits to all farm employees and all farm employees must contribute through payroll deduction to paid family leave.

You as the employer pay the premium for N.Y.S. Disability Benefits based on a separate monthly rate for male versus female. Example: $1.75 per male per month versus $3.80 per female per month.

Employee contribution is 0.27% of pay to a maximum of $196.72/yr. for Paid Family Leave Coverage.

For more information call the office at 585-589-6236.


WIN A NEW iPAD!

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us. When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card and…

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!”
Program Rules: Available upon request


Important Crop Insurance Dates and Deadlines

December 10, 2019
End of insurance period for corn and soybeans. You have 15 days from the end of the insurance period to file a claim due to low production. You have 25 days from the end of the insurance period to file a claim due to loss of income if you have revenue protection coverage. Call the office if you need to know your trigger yield to qualify for a claim.

January 15, 2020
Production report for 2019 apple, peach, cherry, and grape production and acreage report for 2020 pears, apple, peach, cherry, and grape production. Make updates to acreage and any acreage cut down and any newly planted acreage.

We can take this report before year-end when you have your information ready or if you are vacationing in January.
Please call for an appointment at 585 589-6236.


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

New York State requires Disability Insurance for Farmers

New York State requires Disability Insurance for Farmers

556 0 01 Dec 2019

Starting January 1, 2018, New York State mandated that employers must provide all employees paid Family Leave benefits along with their statutory New York State Disability coverage.

Traditionally farms were exempt from New York State Disability laws and requirements.  Farms were only required to provide statutory New York State Disability Benefits under the following 3 situations:

  1. The farm had an office/administration personnel
  2. The farm had a retail farm market
  3. The farm had a packing operation where they were packing products or produce of others.

In July 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the Farmowners Labor Bill and established the Farm laborers Fair Labor Practices Act which takes effect January 1, 2020.  Under this law, there are important labor requirements for farm employees, owners, and operators, including important changed requiring coverage changes for:

  1. New York State Disability benefits
  2. New York State Paid Family Leave benefits
  3. New York State Workers Compensation requirements

New York State disability benefits provide income coverage to your employees when they are unable to work because they got hurt off the job.  You may have an employee who blows out a knee playing in a baseball league or a pick up basketball game.  Female employees can go out on disability leave due to pregnancy, any time during the pregnancy.  There is a statutory 7-day waiting period.  Statutory Disability payments are not made until the 8th day of disability, and the employee must file a claim within 30 days of disablement.  New York State disability benefits pay 50% of the employee’s weekly take-home pay to a maximum of $170.00/week.  The weekly benefit will pay up to 26 weeks.  You must be under the care of a physician, chiropractor, podiatrist, psychologist, dentist or certified nurse midwife in order to qualify for benefits.

For small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the premium rates are calculated as a premium per male or female per month.

           Example:  Males are $1.75/month to a total annual premium of $21.00.
                            Females are $3.80/month to a total annual premium of $45.00
                           (The female rates are higher due to coverage for childbirth).

These monthly and annual premiums can be cost-shared between the employer and employee payroll deduction contributions.  The maximum employee weekly contribution cannot be more than $0.60 per week.  I have always paid 100% of the annual premium for statutory New York State Disability as an employer.  I have only had between 2 and 4 full-time employees in any 1 year.

Not only are farm employers, owners, and operators required to provide statutory New York State disability coverage but also Paid Family Leave coverage.

New York State employees can take time from work and qualify for Paid Family Leave benefits when faced with a qualifying event in their life.  An example of qualifying events could include:

1. Bonding with a newborn child. 

You can take Paid Family Leave for bonding with a new child at any time within the first 12 months of the child’s birth.  The same benefit covers the placement of children through adoption or foster care.

2. Care for a family member.

You can take Paid Family Leave to assist family members after major surgery or a long term serious health condition.  Family members include employees, spouse, children, parents, parents in law, grandparent or grandchild.  These family members can live outside New York State or the United States.

3. Assist Military families.

You can take Paid Family Leave to assist loved ones when a spouse, child or parent is deployed abroad.

The time off benefits provided by New York State’s Paid Family Leave are as follows:

            2018  50%   of an employee’s average weekly pay up to the designated % of NYS average weekly wage.

            2019  55%   of an employee’s average weekly pay up to the designated % of NYS average weekly wage.

            2020  60%   of an employee’s average weekly pay up to the designated % of NYS average weekly wage.

            2021  62%   of an employee’s average weekly pay up to the designated % of NYS average weekly wage.

An example for an employee who takes Paid Family Leave in 2019:

They would receive 55% of their own average weekly wage but would be capped at 55% of New York States’ average weekly wage.  The maximum weekly benefit for 2019 is $746.61.

So, this weekly benefit will increase over the next 2 years because the % benefit increases and as New York State makes inflammatory adjustments to the state’s average weekly wages.

Premiums for Paid Family Leave are paid by the employer along with the employees premiums for their statutory New York State Disability policy.

However, premiums are funded through employee payroll deductions. 

2018 – An employee’s payroll deduction was 0.126% of their weekly wage.  The maximum cap was $85.56 annually.  If an employee earned $27,000 for the year or $519.00/week their weekly contribution would have been $0.65 per week.

2019 – an employee’s payroll deduction was .153% of their hourly wage.  The maximum cap was $107.97 annually.

Currently: An employee’s payroll deduction is 0.22% of their weekly wage.  The maximum cap is now $196.72/year.

We will see increases in premium cost as the length of benefits by week increase, the % of covered wages increase and as the New York State Department of Labor’s average weekly wage increases.  New York State announces the change in average weekly wage by March 31rst of each year.

As farm owners and employees, we must be aware that the Paid Family Leave Act also provided rights and protections to our employees.  When and/or if an employee leaves work and makes a claim for Paid Family Leave you must :

  1. Protect their job.  You must hire them back at the end of their benefit period to the same job or a meaningful equivalent; even if you had to hire a replacement or temporary help.
  2. If you provide benefits to your employees such as health insurance, you must continue the benefit as if the employee was working.
  3. There must be no discrimination and/or retaliation to an employee for requesting or taking benefits under the Paid Family Leave Act.

Previous to the Farm Workers Labor Bill a farm with less than $1,200 of annual payroll was not required to carry and provide New York State Worker’s Compensation insurance.  COVERAGE IS NOW MANDANTORY.  All employers are required to provide workers compensation coverage for their employees regardless of annual payroll.

New York State Workers Compensation Insurance provides these critical coverages for your employees:

  1. It covers all necessary medical expenses related to an employee injury at work on the farm.
  2. It covers a percentage of their average weekly wages when an employee is unable to return to work from an injury.  It provides payments if the injury causes a partial or permanent disability.
  3. It protects the farm owner/operator from full employee liability when and if an injured employee or related family member were to sue you. The farm liability portion of your Farmowners policy excludes employee-related liability.

The Farm Worker Labor Bill also mandates poster requirements to be both in English and Spanish.  There are also new notice requirements for farm contracts.

For more information go to www.wcb.ny.gov/farmtoolkit

thanksgiving

News You Can Use – November 2019

320 0 01 Nov 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

George Washington proclaimed a day of public thanksgiving and prayer in 1789 to be a yearly tradition.  In 1863, Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday to be observed on the last Thursday in November.  It was not until 1941 that Congress officially designated Thanksgiving Day as a federal holiday.  Before presidential proclamations, Native Americans celebrated harvest festivals and colonists gave thanks for survival, crops, and for their faithful God.

If you have wondered why we celebrate Thanksgiving with a turkey dinner, it is because in the early 1800’s turkey was a rare treat costing a day’s wages. It became a special treat and the tradition has become the symbol for the holiday.  Some even refer to Thanksgiving as Turkey Day.

Here are a few ideas to enrich your Thanksgiving Holiday

Participate in a gratitude experience.  Have everyone write down a charity or service project that is important to them.  Make a commitment to contribute or serve by year’s end.  Our blessings will be multiplied by sharing with others.

Decorating or setting the table.  Our kids made turkey place card holders years ago that we continue to use.  Some of the names have changed, so there are scratch outs and mismatches – still cherished.  Thanksgiving dinner is also when we use Mom’s good Christmas dishes for the first time.

Share in the meal planning and prep.  My ninety-year-old mother still hosts Thanksgiving dinner for our family.  She continues to prepare the turkey, stuffing and gravy while my siblings and I fill in the rest.   Mom also makes delicious pies to end a perfect holiday meal.

Consider changing the time you eat Thanksgiving dinner until evening.  Most people feast around noon creating an early chaotic morning.  Maybe a big relaxing family breakfast will be a better start to the Holiday.  Preparation can be done during the afternoon while watching football or your favorite movie.

Most importantly, make time to socialize, chat, and catch-up with family and friends.


After Thanksgiving Turkey Salad

thanksgiving salad recipe

4 cups cubed turkey
¾ cup mayo
1 T. sweet pickle relish
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
1 apple cored and chopped
1 T. dill

So easy!
Just mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl.
Serve on lettuce or in bread.  So delicious!


The sight of a deer nibbling grass in the backyard might easily put a smile on your face…

deer car accident

But if you catch sight of one in your vehicle’s headlights, it can be terrifying. A current client recently hit a deer that rendered the vehicle undrivable. They assumed they had rental car coverage and were surprised to find they did not.

Many clients try to save money by declining rental car, towing, and full glass coverage, but when an accident occurs the cost can be overwhelming!

Striking a deer can cause significant damage to your car, cause injuries and in some cases death. Car-deer collisions are fairly common, especially during the fall season.  The average collision causes $4000.00 in vehicle damages.

On average, it is estimated based on insurance claims, that there is about 65,000 deer-vehicle collisions in New York per year.  In October to December of 2016, there were more than 9,700 deer-vehicle crashes, according to a AAA Northeast analysis of New York Crash Data. The counties with the most deer crashes that year and for those months, were Orange, Monroe, Erie, Oneida and Ulster.

Based on these numbers, a deer-vehicle collision happens about once every eight minutes, but during autumn the crashes typically increase.

Please call the office at (585) 589-6236 if you wish to increase your auto protection by adding rental car, towing, or full glass coverage.


Fall Deep Cleaning Checklist

  • Check and clean gutters
  • Wash windows
  • Have rugs professionally cleaned
  • Clean outdoor grill
  • Clean and store patio furniture
  • Clean refrigerator
  • Clean washing machine and dryer exhaust
  • Go through food pantry and eliminate expired food
  • Wipe out kitchen cabinets and medicine cabinets
  • Clean clothes closets and donate what you don’t wear
  • Hand clean light fixtures and lamps
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  •  


Talk to Your Child about Appropriate Digital Behavior and Content

According to the website, www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/prevention/index.html, parents create trust with children by initiating open, honest discussions. These dialogues are an opportunity to communicate values and expectations about your family’s appropriate digital behavior, including viewing or sharing content, and apps they can and cannot use.

Check in frequently with your children about their digital experiences to address any potential risk of cyberbullying and harm. Be clear that your intention is to look out for their wellbeing, and that you want to have an open dialogue. Listen to their concerns and express your perspective.

To minimize the risk of cyberbullying or harm from digital behavior, parents can:

Set clear expectations about digital behavior and online reputation.
Educate about the harmful effects of cyberbullying, posting hateful speech or comments, sexting, and sharing naked photos of themselves or others (including potential legal issues).

Be clear about what content can be viewed or shared.

Identify which apps are appropriate for your child’s use and which are not.

Establish rules about the amount of time that a child can spend online or on their devices.
Model positive, respectful digital behavior on your own devices and accounts.


thanksgiving joke comic

Simplify!

The “Holidays” can be very stressful for many of us as we try to balance our work commitments with additional family obligations, shopping, decorating, etc.

Now is the perfect time to consider simplifying our lives and focusing on living a balanced, joyful life based on core values and goals.

Start by taking control of your mind!  Your thoughts influence your entire well-being to the extent of affecting your health.  Jealousy, bitterness, anger, and worry never improve the quality of your life and do not change the world around you in a positive way!  They only indulge your negativity and only you can change your mind.  I have a wooden sign on my desk simply stating “just let it go!”

Don’t let social media and technology dominate your life.  This “addiction” can profoundly impact your attitude and outlook all the while you have no idea it is happening.  Media can rearrange your values and dominate your life.  The memories and relations you cherish are not from a post on Facebook but from a conversation or shared experience.  As your mind starts to focus on gift-giving and receiving, try to remember that material possessions complicate our lives to a greater degree than we realize.  They can take our focus away from the ones we love and our values by draining our bank accounts, our energy and our attention.

Look forward to our December Newsletter and gift ideas that are priceless.


Important Crop Insurance Dates & Information

The 2018 Farm Bill increased CAT coverage (this is the lowest level of coverage offered by federal crop insurance.  It insures your protection at 50% of your average, at 55% of the price election) from $300.00 per crop per county to $655.00 per crop per county.

Wheat and forage acreage reports are due by November 15th
Final wheat plant date is October 10th. 
15-day late plant period is October 25th.
Prevented planting claim for wheat must be filed 72 hours after final day of planting, then actual acreage of prevented planted acres must be declared on acreage report.

2019 crop insurance premiums have been billed.  The first of every month, interest is added.
***Interest on Spring crops postponed until December 1st due to wet spring and summer.
Apples grapes, peaches, and cherries premium due by November 20th.
Wheat premium due November 30th.
Onion premium is due February 1st.
All other crops are due March 15th.
!!! If you pay the premium after the termination date, you are ineligible to insure your crop in the next year!!!

When filing a claim…
File the claim as soon as you think you have damage.  The policy says to file within 72 hours of noticed damage.
Some crops require you to leave strips in the field for adjuster to inspect.
The latest you can file a claim is 60 days after the end of the insurance period (for corn and soybeans it is December 10th). 
The end of the insurance is also the last day of the harvest.
Revenue policies, when there is no production loss, have 45 days after the harvest price is released to make a claim.  The soybean price is released November 5th and the corn price is released by December 5th.

Sales Closing for apples, grapes, peaches, and cherries is November 20th
Make sure the correct entity information, insured crops, insured counties, options, unit structure, and insurance level are all selected correctly.

As always, do not hesitate to call  (585 589-6236) if you have any questions.


referral winner

Congratulations Eric McCracken!
Eric won a $50.00 gift card in our monthly drawing.

Everyone here at my office and myself would like to thank you for your continued trust and support in our agency!

We are so thankful for customers like you!

For being such great clients, I want to give you a $20.00 gift card for referring us to your friends and family.

You will also be entered to win a $50.00 gift card in our monthly drawing and a grand prize drawing for an iPad!


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

crops view

The Structure of a Crop Insurance Policy

428 0 15 Oct 2019

Federal crop insurance is often misunderstood and people find it somewhat frustrating. They think of it as bureaucracy on top of bureaucracy sprinkled on top with a little more bureaucracy. Now please understand it is insurance, which most people find daunting and it does start with the word “Federal”!

Where do all the rules regulations and bureaucracy come from in Federal crop insurance? Let us start with the policy structure of a Federal crop insurance policy. I like to call it the birthday cake of crop insurance. 

The first basic layer of our birthday cake is what is known as the common policy or sometimes referred to as the basic policy provisions.

It is a 40-page document. It contains terms, conditions, definitions, rules, and regulations as they pertain to all crops in all counties in all the states of the United States.

 The common policy speaks to reporting requirements, acreage or production reports; it defines terms such as prevented planting, replant, the late plant period, insurance guarantees, coverage levels, and claim requirements and responsibilities.

The common policy also gives rules to insuring your farm and crops in particular units. You can have a basic unit which is all of a similar crop planted in the same county. We can also have a crop insured by units by either irrigated versus non-irrigated practices or we can insure units for our crops by share or common ownership. In New York State this means we can have separate units by separate farm serial numbers.

The common policy also speaks to enterprise units and whole farm units. These are options where all the acreage of one or two crops is combined into one unit. These options can provide discounts to your premium and per acre cost but it will also affect how a possible claim on a certain crop would be handled due to the fact that all the acreage of that crop is in one unit.

You also have the option to insure your farm and crops by a sectional equivalent option. This option allows you to have multiple units, drawn out on a designated map, (for example, a county highway roadmap) following specific rules and guidelines. Using the designated features of that map, the roads, railroad tracks, or the county line, you can draw out a unit or what some people like to call a grid. This grid has to be a minimum of 1 mile x 1 mile square. Then, all your acreage planted in that section stands as a single unit without regards to farm serial number and will stand by itself in a possible claim.

The application process for the sectional equivalent option can be quite perplexing. First you have to fill out a request using an actuarial change form. The request type using this form is for a unit written agreement. On this form it will include the crops that will be insured by the sectional equivalents, all the farm serial numbers, tract and field numbers that are affected by this request. We must fill out a separate request form for each county. For larger farms this could be a very long list.

Next, you have to fill out a written unit agreement for annual crops with geographic dispersion form. Along with this form you will include an addendum where you will physically describe each unit or grid by listing the roads that outline each sectional equivalent unit. We then list all the common land units in that section. That is, all the farm serial numbers, tract and field numbers and the total acres in that unit. Depending on the overall size of the farm and how many individual units you are applying for, we could have a large number of addendum pages.

Then we fill out and attach to the application a data yield line for each sectional equivalent unit and each crop you are insuring as a sectional equivalent unit. On these data lines we will show the previous four years of planted acreage and production for each unit by each crop. We also have to include in this application the previous year’s 578 acreage report from your local county Farm Service Agency office.

Finally, we must provide an individual map for each farm serial number tract and field number. For large farms, farming 4,000 to 5,000 acres I have seen the application be a stack of paperwork 3 to 4 inches thick.

The second layer of my crop insurance birthday cake is what we call the crop provisions.

This is a document that spells out specific terms, definitions, rules and regulations that are specific to a specific crop. The individual crop provisions can be a document of three, four, up to nine or ten pages. For example, the apple crop provisions are a five-page document, the peach crop provisions are a three-page document, the grape crop provisions are a four-page document. Crop provisions can also address a group of crops, for example, the small grain crop provisions include wheat, oats, rye, buckwheat and barley and they are a nine-page document.

The course grain crop provisions include: grain corn, sorghum, soybeans and they are a five page document.

The last layer of our crop insurance policy at the very top of our birthday cake is called the special provisions.

Sometimes you may hear this document referred to as County actuaries. These rules and regulations are applied right down to a specific county within a specific state or applied to a region within a state. Here we find where the insurance value or the price of a commodity is declared. It could determine the price or value of the commodity for the upcoming year. The special provisions may also give us additional unit options that will allow us to strategize your crop insurance and protect your individual farm operation.

The apple crop insurance special provisions, allow you to insure your crop by separate units using varietal groups. There are three varietal groups available, Varietal group A, Varietal group B and Varietal group C. in contrast the grape crop provisions allow us to insure separate units by individual separate varieties. The peach crop provisions do not give us any additional unit options other than that found in the common policy provisions.

How do the layers of this birthday cake relate and respond to each other? What if a conflict exists among the different policy provisions within the different layers of our cake? The order of priority or the hierarchy of Federal crop insurance is as follows; the special provisions will override the specific crop provisions which override the basic policy provisions. The higher we go up in the layers of the cake the more specific rule or regulation overrides the rule or regulation in the underlying provisions.

Let us look at an example. The basic policy provision defines “prevented planting” as a failure to plant an insured crop by the final plant date designated for that crop and your county due to an insured cause of loss that is general to the surrounding area and prevents producers from planting crops with similar characteristics. So, we experience a wetter and colder than normal planting season which causes growers in a certain area not to fully plant all their acreage. These growers would be eligible to apply for a prevented planting claim. This payment would be based on their own actual production history or what we call APH and their chosen level of coverage (50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 85%) and whether they have chosen an additional prevented planting coverage option of 5 %.

The prevented planting provision does apply to the course grain policy as well as to the small grain policy. However, when we look at the apple crop provisions or the cabbage crop provisions, these crop provisions both state specifically that the prevented planting provisions of the basic policy provisions are not applicable.

Here the specific crop provisions for apples and cabbage override the basic or common policy provisions that are applicable to all crops.

When we look at the peach crop provisions we see an example of where the special crop provisions having the highest order of priority and override the crop policy provisions. We already know that a grower could insure a crop on his farm using units by irrigated and non-irrigated practices or by separate farm serial numbers. These rules are spelled out in the lowest level of our birthday cake, the basic crop provisions.

When we look at the three-page peach crop provision document, there are no additional rules or regulations allowing for any additional unit options as we saw in the apple crop provisions or grape crop provisions using varieties. However, when we go to the highest level of our birthday cake, the special provisions, and we look at the special provisions for the peach policy, they do allow us to insure units separated by fresh peaches versus processing peaches. Here we do end up with additional unit strategies for insuring our peaches which is given to us by the special provisions, the highest priority of our birthday cake.

Are the three layers of the birthday cake, the basic provisions, the crop provisions, and the special provisions, the only rules and regulations where as a grower or an insurance agent you can trip up or stub your toe? The answer is no, of course not, with Federal crop insurance it could not be that simple. There are two additional documents we must be aware of. The first is the crop insurance handbook, known as the C. I. H. and the second, the Loss Adjustment Manual, known as the L.A.M.

The crop insurance handbook provides further information and details to the rules, regulations, terms, definitions and procedures all governing the crop insurance program. The loss adjustment manual provides rules, regulations, and procedures for crop insurance adjusters to follow when handling claims for specific crops in specific loss situations. It is not uncommon for a grower to be in a claim situation for a certain crop and for that crop insurance adjuster to give advice on a particular action or procedure that the grower needs to follow. The question then comes up where did that procedure come from? We look at the three layers of our crop insurance policy, the basic provisions, the crop provisions, and the special provisions and we see no such procedure outlined. Well, it came out of the loss adjustment manual and that specific rule or regulation is as important as any other rule or regulation we find in any of the other crop insurance documents.

My last printed copy of the crop insurance handbook was the 2004 printed manual and it was almost 500 pages long. Currently this document is provided on CD or on the Internet. In 2016 the crop insurance handbook and the loss control manual were combined into one single document. This document is now titled the “General Standards Handbook” and is over 800 pages. This document is also available on the Internet.

Now do we have the whole story on where to find all the rules and regulations governing the Federal crop insurance program? The answer is still no. Due to the bureaucracy and complexity of Federal crop insurance, there can be situations that lead to contradicting interpretation of the rules, the regulations and the general policy language.

These contradicting interpretations often arise during the handling of a claim, where two individuals have completely opposite views of a specific rule or a specific regulation or what a specific policy language means. In these instances, it is common to ask for official interpretation. The individual facts of any given dispute are presented along with each individual’s interpretation of that rule or regulation as they see it apply to the given facts.

The government then issues a final agency determination (F. A.D.). Each individual F.A.D. is given a number. The F.A.D. will outline all the background information and restate the exact facts of that situation. Each side’s case and interpretation is restated and the government’s final ruling. The government could agree with one or the other’s individual interpretation or it could agree in part to a given interpretation or the government could issue a completely different interpretation.

Once a F.A.D. is issued it is the overriding authority on any rule, regulation, or policy language no matter where we find that rule, regulation or policy language in the basic policy, crop provisions, special provisions or the General Standards Handbook.

If in the future that same question arises about a particular rule or regulation or policy provision, the government will respond by addressing the previously determined and published final agency determination.

Understanding the basic policy structure and purpose of each Federal crop insurance document can help us build an effective risk management strategy when making choices regarding your federal crop insurance program for your individual farm operation.

Building an effective crop insurance program takes expertise.  Mike Southcott has literally written the book on crop insurance.  At The Southcott Agency Inc. crop insurance is our specialty.  We will take the mystery out of Federal Crop Insurance and give you peace of mind.  Call the office today (585) 589-6236 to get started.

Generic photo coffee newspaper

News You Can Use – October 2019

277 0 02 Oct 2019

Halloween Fun Facts

Halloween candy sales average about $2 billion annually in the United States.  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups rank as the most popular Halloween candy.

Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.

The Count Dracula Society was founded in 1962.  To this day, there are vampire clubs and societies filled with members who claim to be vampires.

The movie “Halloween” was made in only 21 days in 1978 on a very limited budget.  It was shot in the spring using fake autumn leaves.  The setting of the movie is in Illinois, but the vehicles have California license plates.


Overnight Apple French Toast

  • 8 lg slices French bread, cubed
  • 1 (8 oz pkg) light cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 lg Apple, peeled, and chopped
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. cinnamon. powdered sugar
  • Fresh Maple Syrup

Instructions:
Spray a 11 x 7 baking dish with cooking spray.
Place 1/2 of the bread cubes in baking dish.
Cover bread with all the cream cheese cubes.
Sprinkle with chopped apple.
Top with remaining bread.
In a bowl, beat eggs, milk, and cinnamon until blended. Pour over bread mix.
Cover, refrigerate overnight.
Next morning, heat oven to 375°F. Bake for 35 minutes or until set.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Serve warm with syrup.


The Right Way to Plant Fall Bulbs

As you are planting bulbs, there are a few things to remember. First, make sure that you choose a spot with at least 6 hours of sunlight. For early bloomers, like daffodils, you can plant in a spot that gets sun before the trees have leaves in the spring. By the time trees start shading your bulb bed, early blooming bulbs should be almost finished for the year. Bulbs also like soil that is rich with organic matter or compost, and they love well-drained soil. Soggy soil or overwatering will cause them to rot. Finally, when you are ready to plant, the general rule of thumb is to plant a bulb three times as deep as the bulb is tall, making sure the pointy part is facing upwards.


A Simple Way to Save Time & Money

Our agency is always looking for ways to make protecting the things that matter most to you simpler. You may have a to-do list a mile long like mine and could use a break in the monthly paperwork and bill paying category.

Instead of writing a check, finding a stamp and running to post office or to our office, many of our companies offer an EFT, electronic funds transfer, option.  Some companies even give a discount for using EFT.

Some companies allow you to choose the date of the withdrawal that is done automatically from your checking account, savings account, or credit card each month. Call the office (585) 589-6236 to set up an automatic payment withdrawal that works for you.


October
is Breast Cancer
Awareness Month

Most of us know someone who is battling or has battled breast cancer in the past.

Breast cancer awareness is an effort to raise awareness of breast cancer and educate people about its symptoms and treatment options.

Men and women can get breast cancer, however, women are 100 times more likely to be diagnosed with it.

Breast cancer is the 2nd most common type of cancer in woman (second to skin cancer).

About 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer in her life.

Symptoms of breast tumors vary from person to person. Some common, early warning signs of breast cancer include:

Skin changes, such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences in one or both breasts.
Changes in the appearance of one or both nipples.
Nipple discharge other than breast milk.
General pain in/on any part of the breast
Lumps or nodes felt on or inside of the breast

Symptoms more specific to invasive breast cancer are:

Irritated or itchy breasts
Change in breast color
Increase in breast size or shape (over a short period of time)
Changes in touch (may feel hard, tender or warm)
Peeling or flaking of the nipple skin
A breast lump or thickening
Redness or pitting of the breast skin (like the skin of an orange)

It’s important to remember that other, benign conditions may have caused these changes. For example, changes to the skin texture on the breast may be caused by a skin condition like eczema, and swollen lymph nodes may be caused by an infection in the breast or another, unrelated illness. Seeing a doctor for an evaluation will help you determine whether something you notice is cause for concern.


Signs of Winter

Before weather apps, people looked to nature for their winter forecast. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, there are 20 indicators of a hard winter to come that are still relevant today.

  • Thicker than normal cornhusks
  • Woodpeckers sharing a tree
  • Early arrival of the snowy owl
  • Early departure of geese & ducks
  • Early migration of monarch butterfly
  • Thick hair on the nape of the cow’s back
  • Heavy & numerous fogs during August
  • Racoons with thick tails & bright bands
  • Mice eating ravenously into the home
  • Early arrival of crickets on the hearth
  • Spiders spinning unusually large webs & entering the house in great numbers
  • Pigs gathering sticks
  • Insects marching in a line rather than meandering
  • Early seclusion of bees within the hive
  • Unusual abundance of acorns
  • Muskrats burrowing holes high on the riverbank
  • “See how high the hornet’s nest, ‘twill tell how high the snow will rest”
  • Narrow band in the middle of woolly caterpillar
  • Squirrels gather nuts early Frequent halos around the Sun and Moon forecasts numerous snow falls

Prepping for Winter

Get your home ready for winter before the snow falls.  You can prevent water and freeze damage by following this guide from the Insurance Institute of Business and Home Safety.

Inside your home:
Get sufficient insulation in your attic to reduce ice dam risks.
Clean gutters to allow water to drain freely.
Seal all doors with weather stripping.
Insulate pipes in a laundry room or bathroom on exterior walls. Insulate pipes in cabinets on exterior walls.

Outside your home:
Remove tree branches that hang over your roof and gutters.
Buy a roof rake to safely remove snow on your roof.


Thank You So Much!

Everyone here at my office and myself would like to thank you for your continued trust and support in our agency! We are so thankful for customers like you!

For being such a great client, I want to give you a $20.00 gift card for referring us to your friends and family.

We reward you for each referral and have monthly drawings and a grand prize drawing for an iPad!

Just Keep Talking Referral Program

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance…whoever…about us.  When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!
The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules: Available upon request
As always, call the office if you have questions  at (585) 589-6236


Important Crop Insurance Dates & Information

Wheat and forage acreage reports are due by November 15th
Final wheat plant date is October 10th. 
15-day late plant period is October 25th.
Prevented planting claim for wheat must be filed 72 hours after final day of planting, then actual acreage of prevented planted acres must be declared on acreage report.

2019 crop insurance premiums have been billed. The first of every month, interest is added.

***Interest on Spring crops postponed until December 1st due to wet spring and summer.
Apples grapes, peaches, and cherries premium due by November 20th.
Wheat premium due November 30th.
Onion premium is due February 1st.
All other crops are due March 15th.
!!! If you pay the premium after the termination date, you are ineligible to insure your crop in the next year!!!

When filing a claim…
File the claim as soon as you think you have damage.  The policy says to file within 72 hours of noticed damage.
Some crops require you to leave strips in the field for adjuster to inspect.
The latest you can file a claim is 60 days after the end of the insurance period (for corn and soybeans it is December 10th). 
The end of the insurance is also the last day of the harvest.
Revenue policies, when there is no production loss, have 45 days after the harvest price is released to make a claim.  The soybean price is released November 5th and the corn price is released by December 5th.

Sales for apples, grapes, peaches, and cherries are November 20th
Make sure the correct entity information, insured crops, insured counties, options, unit structure, and insurance level are all selected correctly.

As always, do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

Care insurance

How to File an Auto Insurance Claim

279 0 01 Oct 2019

Auto accidents happen all the time and they are scary events.  When you are in an accident, you are overwhelmed and shaken-up even if you are not physically hurt.  Thankfully you’re reading this now and not after an accident.  There is a lot to remember to do, and very little time to do it.

I am going to share with you the information you need to remember to gather at the scene of the accident.  I suggest you put this information checklist with your insurance card in your vehicle so you can refer to it if you have a car accident.

I want to share this information with you because I know peace of mind is so important.  I want to help ensure that your claim is paid in full and as quickly as possible.  Sharing the knowledge I have accumulated as owner of The Southcott Agency, Inc. and insider provides you with great service as a customer.  It is just as good for my business as it is for you.

My clients have filed hundreds, even thousands, of auto insurance claims, and as a result I know what to do and what not to do to get a claim resolved to the satisfaction of my clients.  There are a few steps you should take right now before you have to file a claim.  If you keep these steps handy, having a wreck will not make you panic because you will know what to do as soon as it happens.

Know What IS Covered

Few people read their auto policy, but you should know what your policy covers and what it does not.  No policy can cover every possible situation, but most good policies cover almost all of them.  Sometimes people decide not to have certain coverage because some types of coverage are too expensive or not worth having if a car is fairly old.

An agent at The Southcott Agency, Inc. will do an annual policy review to make sure your coverage is up to date and discuss discounts.  Find out the situations in which you do not have coverage by calling The Southcott Agency, Inc. and asking us to explain what the policy covers and (most importantly) what it does not cover.

Follow The “Conditions” (steps)

Insurance companies have certain steps you need to follow in the event of an accident.  In the policy, these steps are called “Conditions”.  You should know what these conditions are.

You should also determine right now, before an accident, what you would do with your car if it needed repairs.  Do you have an auto body shop that does excellent work?  If so, that is great!

If you do not, ask your agent to recommend a body shop close to where you live.  Most insurance companies have shops they consider ”preferred” auto body shops. These shops have good names from doing good work and insurers trust them.  Ask your agent or insurance company if there are any of these body shops near you.

Ask your agent what to do and who to call when you need to report a claim.

You will need to have paper and a pen to make notes at the scene of the accident.  Keep at least two writing instruments and a notebook in the car.  Keep these in the glove compartment or the console next to the driver’s seat.

In addition, if your insurance agent has a form that allows you to provide details of an accident, including a sketch of the scene, keep some of these forms in the car as well.

Remember that most cell phones have built-in cameras.  You can use yours to take pictures of damage.  Now you are prepared if you have an accident.

What To Do After You Have An Accident

At the scene, you need to do the following:

1. Stop the car and get help for any injured drivers or passengers.

Give whatever help you can to the injured (covering them with blankets, making them comfortable), but do not move them.  You could cause more harm by moving anyone who is badly hurt.  Have someone call 911.  Tell the dispatcher how many people are hurt and how seriously.  The dispatcher will then notify the nearest police and medical units (if needed).

2. Protect the accident scene.

Try to prevent further damage to the vehicles involved by setting up flares or getting your car off the road.

3. Give police officers whatever information they require.

Give your version of what happened, but do not, under any circumstances, admit you were at fault, either to the police or the other driver(s).  Just give the facts as you see them.  Ask the investigating officer how you can get a copy a copy of the police report.  You will need the report when you submit your claim to The Southcott Agency, Inc.  Stay at the accident scene until the police have left.  (If it is a minor accident, the police may not make a report.  In fact, they may not even come to the scene if there are no injuries or serious damage to any of the vehicles involved).

4. Write down the names and information of all drivers and passengers.

Write down the names and information of all people involved in the accident, the license plate numbers, the driver’s license number(s) and auto insurance information of the other driver(s), as well as the make, model and year of each car involved.  Write down the names and addresses of as many witnesses as possible, as well as the names and badge numbers of the police officers and any emergency personnel.

5. Write down all the details of the accident you can remember.

Write these either on the accident forms from your insurance company or in your notebook.

6. If necessary, have your car towed to a repair shop.

This is why I suggested earlier having a repair shop in mind before you have an accident.  This way, you already know where you want the car towed.  Keep the shop’s phone number and address in your glove box, along with the number of a towing company.

7. Call your insurance agent at The Southcott Agency, Inc. to report the claim.

If possible, call from the accident scene.  Write down the phone number of The Southcott Agency, Inc. or ask for your agent’s business card so you can easily call to report a claim.  Keep this number with the numbers of the repair shop and towing company.  To make the process easier, also save these numbers in your cell phone.  If The Southcott Agency, Inc. is involved, it will speed up the claim process.  Also, tell us if you are not satisfied with how your claim is being handled.

8. Ask The Southcott Agency, Inc. how to proceed.

Ask what forms or documents you will need to support your claim.  Your insurer may require you to fill out a “proof of loss” form and supply documents like medical and auto repair bills and a copy of the police report.  Keep copies of any paperwork related to the accident in a secure location.

9. Keep records of any expenses resulting from the accident.

These might include any expenses related to a temporary inability to work or perform basic household functions.  Your policy may allow you to be reimbursed for such things as medical and hospital expenses, lost wages and some of the costs of hiring a temporary housekeeper.

10. Tell your agent at The Southcott Agency, Inc. if you are not satisfied with how the company handles your claim.

Note how they answer your concerns, but be careful at this point with using the word “lawyer”.  Once you raise the prospect of seeking legal help, it changes the way your insurance company deals with you.  When you say “lawyer,” you are basically threatening to sue your insurer.  Do not make this threat until you are absolutely convinced that your insurance company will not resolve the claim to your satisfaction.  If you hire a lawyer, no one at the insurance company will be able to communicate with you directly.  Instead, they will have to go through your attorney.

While no accident is a pleasant experience, remember that proper preparation and following certain steps can help resolve the claim process to your satisfaction.  If your claim has the important documentation and all the key details, there is no reason that it will not be paid in full quickly.

If you have any trouble, please contact us at The Southcott Agency, Inc., phone us at (585) 589-6236 or email us at information@thesouthcottagency.com.  We are here to help you and make sure your insurance policy takes care of you, as it should.

save money on car insurance

9 Ways to Save Money on Auto Insurance

271 0 20 Sep 2019

You’ll find that these nine points are very simple ways to save money on your auto insurance:

1. Higher Deductible + Lower Premium

The deductible is the amount you pay before the insurance company will pay if you have a claim.  For example, if you have a $500 deductible and you have an accident in which your car sustains $1,500 in damage, you pay the first $500 and your insurer pays the balance, $1,000. The lower the deductible you choose, the higher the premium, or price of your auto policy. If it’s been years since you’ve had an accident, you may be better off raising your deductible and paying less each year for insurance.

2. Combine Your policies With One Company

Using one insurance company for your homeowners, auto, life and other types of insurance will save you money. As a driver, you are required by law in most states to have liability insurance. If your car insurance is with a different company than your homeowners or renters insurance, consult The Southcott Agency, Inc. to place all of your insurance policies with one insurance company. Also, if you have had one insurance company for many years and are pleased with their service, keep that company. The longer you’re with one company, the more money you’ll save.

3. Careful Driver = Lower Premium

A good driver who has few or no speeding tickets, no accidents, and no DUIs will have a lower premium than a driver with any of the above.  If you are careful and follow the law, you will be rewarded with a lower price for your auto insurance.

4. Fewer Miles = Lower Price

Check your mileage on your car and then check with The Southcott Agency, Inc.  Drivers who clock fewer miles per month than the national average of around 1,000 miles a  month, might get a discount.

5. Flashy Car – Higher Premium

If your car is fast, flashy, expensive, turns heads when you pass and is more likely to be stolen, you will pay more to insure it.  It’s going to cost more for your custom ride than what average drivers pay.

6. Older cars = Less Coverage

It doesn’t make sense to have collision and comprehensive coverage on an older vehicle that has a resale value in the low thousands.  Considering the deductible has to be paid before your insurance starts paying, it’s just not worth it.  You still need liability and medical coverage for yourself and your passengers, however.  Consult the Kelly Blue Book website, www.kbb.com, to find out how much your car is worth.

7. Safe and Smart = Lower Premium

Safety devices on your car mean savings for you!  Cars that beep until seat belts fastened, have ABS (anti-lock brakes), airbags and car alarms will save you money.  Good grades also pay off in more ways than one.  Students with good grades have lower rates.  Defense!  It may be worthwhile to take a free or inexpensive defensive driving course.  Call The Southcott Agency, Inc. to find out how much you could save.

8. Rural Area = Lower Premium

If you live in a small town or in the countryside, you’ll pay less money for your car insurance.  People living in more heavily populated areas like major cities pay more for their automobile insurance.

9. Good Credit = Lower premium

If you have a good credit score, you could be eligible for discounted premiums from several auto insurance companies.  Many insurers now use your credit history as a major factor in determining what to charge you for auto insurance.  You could save money by shifting your business to an insurer that uses credit as a rating factor, even if you have a so-so or poor driving record.  On the other hand, if you have a poor credit score, you could save money by moving your auto insurance to a company that does not use credit as a rating factor, and many insurers do not.  Regardless of your credit status, you should talk to an agent at The Southcott Agency, Inc. to make sure you have the best rates possible for your credit score.

Having good coverage on your personal auto can also save you money when renting a vehicle.

When you rent a car, you will be asked if you want to buy “coverage” from the rental car company.  You do not have to buy their insurance to legally drive the car.  It is best to be prepared and know that in New York State, your coverage follows you when renting a car.  This means you will have Comprehensive and Collision coverage on the rental if you currently have it on your personal auto policy.  Likewise, if you do not have the coverage on your current policy, you will not have it on the rental vehicle.

If you only have liability coverage and do not have comprehensive and collision coverage, you MAY NEED to buy the rental car company’s insurance coverage, because liability on your auto plan will not cover anything that happens to the rental car.

If your personal auto policy includes liability insurance and most do, your policy will pay for any damage or injuries you cause to other cars or property up to the payout limits of the policy.  If you are comfortable with the amount of liability coverage you have for your own car, you do not need to buy additional liability insurance for vehicles you rent. 

If you do not have a car, and therefore have no auto coverage, be advised that many states require rental companies to provide some liability coverage to you at no charge.  The limit of free liability coverage is usually the same as the state’s minimum liability.

Rental car coverage varies by state, so please check with The Southcott Agency Inc . for details.

Rental car coverage extends to vehicles rented in the US and its possessions only.

Orange truck

Personal Auto VS Business Auto

278 0 07 Sep 2019

We are a very mobile society. We drive every day for some reason, work, school, shopping, and vacations. Most families own more than one vehicle. When you add the farm business now, we have multiple vehicles and in some cases very large trucks.

Most insurance companies will offer you two types of auto insurance policies. We have the personal auto insurance policy (P.A.P.) and the business auto policy (B.A.P.) sometimes called the commercial auto policy. There are similarities and differences between the two types of auto insurance policies. When and where do I insure a vehicle on a personal auto insurance policy vs. a business auto insurance policy is a very important consideration.

Some vehicles can only be insured on a personal auto insurance policy and some vehicles can only be insured on a business auto insurance policy. In some cases, we have vehicles that could actually be insured on either of the two types of insurance policies.

Let us review the basic coverages and similarities:

  1. Bodily injury liability
  2. Property damage liability
  3. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
  4. Personal injury protection (also known as “No Fault coverage” in New York State)
  5. Other than collision coverage (previously known as comprehensive coverage)
  6. Collision

1. Bodily injury liability.

This is the coverage and the amount of money your insurance company will pay another person or persons when hurt in an accident that is caused by you and is your fault. This includes medical expenses for bodily injury as well as pain and suffering.

2. Property damage liability.

This is the coverage and amount of money your insurance company will pay to another person or persons for damage caused when you hit another car, building or another object.

You will see your liability coverage described in two ways. First is what we call split-limits such as, $250,000/$500,000/$100,000. The first number is the amount of money your insurance company will pay any one person when the accident is caused by you. The second number is the total amount of money your insurance company will pay for any one accident that you caused. The third number is the total amount of money your insurance company will pay for all property damage that is caused by you. Second, is what we call combined single limit such as, $500,000. This is the total amount of money your insurance company will pay for an accident caused by you. It could all go to one person, it is also the total amount of money available to pay out for the accident and it will include all property damage to others.

3. Uninsured/underinsured Motorist.

This coverage provides payments to you for medical bills when you are hurt in an accident caused by someone else. You are allowed to come into your own policy for payment when the other person has no insurance at all or has lower liability coverage and you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Example: Let’s say you carry $250,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your personal auto insurance policy. You have a car accident and get hurt being hit by another vehicle and it is their fault. You have $200,000 of medical expenses related to the accident. The other vehicle has $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage. The $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage would pay first and you could come into your own policy for an additional $150,000 of underinsured motorist coverage.

4. Personal injury protection.

In New York State this is also known as “no fault coverage”. This coverage pays your medical expenses and lost wages when you are hurt in an accident no matter who is deemed to be at fault for causing the accident. You can be hit head on by a drunk driver and hurt and your own personal injury protection in your own personal auto insurance policy will pay first. New York State requires a minimum of $50,000 of personal injury protection. You have the option to increase this coverage up to $75,000, $100,000, or $150,000.

This is a very important coverage because your New York State personal injury protection coverage:

  • Follows you into another state.
  • Follows you as a passenger in someone else’s car.
  • Follows you as a pedestrian walking down the street.

I had a client who had a daughter attending college in Florida. She was riding as a passenger in a friend’s car. This car was T-boned by another car. She was seriously hurt with multiple broken bones and a broken pelvis and was hospitalized for an extended period of time. 100% of the medical payments for the hospitalization came from her father’s personal injury protection on his personal auto insurance policies in New York State. It did not come from the liability on her friend’s car or the liability coverage from the car that hit them. Luckily her father carried the maximum amount of personal injury protection of $150,000 in the policy and the insurance company paid the full amount.

5. Other than collision coverage.

When I first came into the insurance business, this coverage was called comprehensive. This covers damage to your vehicle caused by specific named perils. Such as fire, theft, vandalism, falling trees from a storm, flood, and collision with an animal such as a deer or dog. The insurance company will pay the actual cash value of the damage to your vehicle minus the deductible in your insurance policy.

6. Collision coverage.

This covers the physical damage to your car from hitting another car, another object or rollover. Your insurance company will pay you first even when the other car is at fault. The insurance company will pay the actual cash value of the damage minus your deductible. When the other car is at fault you will be reimbursed for your deductible when your insurance company is reimbursed by the other car’s insurance coverage.

Three additional optional coverages are:

  • Full glass coverage. This pays 100% of the cost to fix or repair broken glass without you paying a deductible towards the claim.
  • Rental coverage. This pays you to rent a car when your car is in the shop being fixed from a covered loss. This coverage usually has a per day maximum limit and a per accident maximum limit.
  • Towing coverage. This coverage will pay to have your car towed after an accident. This too will have a maximum limit. Some people may be paying twice for this coverage when people have a membership in A.A.A., that membership could include towing coverage.

Did you know when you go on vacation and rent a car, your New York State personal auto insurance coverages cover the rented car? If you have $250,000/$500,000 of bodily injury liability limits on your New York State personal auto insurance policy, then you also have $250,000/$500,000 bodily injury liability coverage on that rented car. If you have collision coverage and other than collision coverage with a $500 deductible on your New York State personal auto insurance policy, then you also have a $500 deductible collision and other than collision coverage on the rented car.

Warning!!!

Many financial gurus on television and or on radio will advise you to lower your underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage and minimize your personal injury protection as a way to save insurance premiums and build personal financial success. Nothing can destroy your personal financial future more than by having a serious car accident without the proper insurance coverages in place.

Now let us look at some of the differences we may find in a business auto insurance policy.

  1. The liability limit is usually written on a combined single basis including both bodily injury liability and property damage coverage.
  2. The personal injury protection coverage is written to interact with New York State’s worker’s compensation rules and coverages. When you have an employee get hurt in a vehicle accident operating one of your vehicles on a business auto insurance policy, your New York Workmen’s Compensation policy will pay first.
  3. Hired auto liability coverage. This is a liability coverage covering you when you hire a common carrier to haul something for your farm. You could be drawn into a third-party lawsuit when the common carrier gets in a vehicle accident while hauling for you and that accident is the common carrier’s fault.
  4. Employee’s non-owned liability. This is a liability coverage covering you when an employee operating his own vehicle is running an errand for you. Again, you could be drawn into a third-party lawsuit when your employee gets in an accident that is his fault.
  5. Full glass coverage. In most business auto policies this coverage is not available. Broken or cracked windshields are covered but, they are subject to the other than collision deductible in the policy. There may be an insurance company that offers full glass coverage by a specific endorsement but it is not common.
  6. Rental and towing coverage. Again in most business auto insurance policies, these are not available coverages. An insurance company may offer it by a specific endorsement but it is not common.
  7. Business Rental. Your insurance coverage from your business auto policy following you for a vehicle you rent on a business trip is also not an automatic coverage. An insurance company may offer this coverage by endorsement.

You can find more information about auto coverage in Mike’s book The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying your Farm Insurance.

Newspapers

News You Can Use – September 2019

266 0 05 Sep 2019

Autumn officially begins
Monday, September 23rd

One of the greatest benefits of living in the Northeast is being able to experience the beauty of Autumn leaves.

What causes leaves to change colors?

As the autumn days grow shorter, chemical changes in some deciduous trees like oaks, maples, and aspen occur. Because of changes in the length of daylight and changes in temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll in the leaves breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible and give the leaves part of their fall splendor. The pigments, carotene (yellow) and anthocyanin (red) exist in the leaf all summer but are masked by the green chlorophyll pigment. The amount of sugar trapped in the leaves determines how vivid the colors will become.


Just Keep Talking Referral Program

In case you haven’t heard, we want to let you know about our agency’s awesome Referral Program that rewards you for telling your friends and family about us.

We reward you for every referral plus have monthly drawings throughout the year and an annual grand prize drawing for an iPad.


Fresh Green Bean Salad

  • 1-pound fresh green beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1-pound fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper if desired
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Cook beans.
Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Cook onion and garlic in oil 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently until onion is crisp-tender.
Stir in tomatoes, oregano and red pepper. Heat to boiling.
Reduce heat; simmer uncovered about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened and most of the liquid is evaporated.
Spoon drained beans onto serving platter; top with tomato mixture.
Sprinkle with cheese and reserved almonds.


Back to School

The morning school run doesn’t always have to be a mad dash. Follow these tips for getting your child through the school doors on time, fed, clean and with all the right stuff.

  1. Lay out school clothes the night before. Set out your child’s clothes next to his bed. This will give you an early warning if laundry needs to be done.
  2. Keep shoes in one place. Find a spot where shoes always live, perhaps next to the front door. Get your child into the habit of putting his shoes there every time he takes them off. If you do only one thing to prepare ahead, make it this.
  3. Get your child to bed on time. This may be easier said than done!
  4. Prepare the night before. Put homework in backpacks, and check your child’s school bag for permission slips and school newsletters too. Make sure you have lunch and breakfast foods for the next morning.
  5. Encourage your child to get herself ready. Help your child to get as far as she can with dressing herself and brushing her hair. Not only will she feel a sense of accomplishment, it’ll save you valuable time – once she gets the hang of it, anyway!
  6. Keep breakfast simple. Don’t feel guilty if breakfast isn’t an elaborate affair. A breakfast of healthy cereal, a yogurt and a piece of fruit will do. Make it easy for your child to have fruit by slicing a banana or chopping strawberries into her cereal.

Good luck!


Do You Have Enough
Property Insurance?

For most people, their home is the most expensive thing they own and it contains their prized possessions. They probably borrowed money to buy the house from the bank, so there is a lot at stake. Deciding what kind of coverage and how much to buy can be confusing.

Here are the six major types of coverage provided by a homeowner’s insurance policy.

  • Dwelling: the structure of your home itself
  • Appurtenant or Other Structures: detached garage or storage unit
  • Personal Property and contents: furniture, clothing, electronics, etc.
  • Family Liability: Coverage if someone in your family or someone living with you is responsible for injuring another person or damaging their property.
  • Guest Medical: covers medical costs to a guest who is injured on your property, regardless of fault
  • Additional Living Expenses (or Loss of Use): pays for you to live somewhere else while repairs are made on your home.

Mike explains these coverages in detail in his latest blog on our website: www.thesouthcottagency.com and as always, feel free to call the office if you have questions.


Confused about NON-GMO?

You’re not alone. Most of us want to eat a healthy diet – so should we be concerned with GMO foods?

Non-GMO means non-genetically modified organisms. GMOs are genetically modified organisms. They are new organisms created in a laboratory using genetic engineering techniques. Scientists, consumers and environmental groups have cited many health and environmental risks with foods containing GMOs. As a result of the risks, many people in the United States and around the world are demanding “non-GMO” foods.

In genetic engineering of food plants, genes from the DNA of another organism, such as a bacterium, virus, animal, or plant are “recombined” into the DNA of the new altered plant.

By adding these new genes, genetic engineers hope the plant will express the traits associated with the genes. For example, genetic engineers have transferred genes from a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis into the DNA of corn. Bacillus thuringiensis genes express a protein that kills insects, allowing the corn to produce its own pesticide.

Educate yourself about GMO’s by reading trusted information before you draw any conclusions as far as good or bad and how they will affect your diet.


Most will agree that the ultimate reward for your efforts is a healthy, balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun.

So, instead of waiting until January to start the new year with new resolutions—why not end the year with a new healthy attitude?

1. Make up your mind to be healthy and in control of your mind and body.
2. Make a change by clearing the clutter and simplifying.
3. Focus on now instead of the disappointment of yesterday or the fear of tomorrow.


Important Crop Insurance Information

Here are the dates you must be aware of:

Wheat and forage sales closing date September 30, 2019.
Sign up for level of coverage and review options.
Wheat final plant date is October 10, 2019, late plant period October 25, 2019
Wheat and forage acreage report date November 15, 2019

Apples, Peaches, Grapes, and Cherries sales closing date November 20,2019
Sign up for level of coverage and review options
Acreage and Production report November 15, 2020

Intended use: If planted corn reported as grain but now going to be harvested as silage, you need to file a claim and have the field appraised before harvest.

Crop insurance Premiums have been billed.
Interest starts to accrue on October 1, 2019 for apples, peaches, grapes, cherries, wheat and forage.
Interest starts to accrue December 1, 2019 for corn, soybeans, cabbage, onions, processing vegetables, etc.
Premiums must be paid by next sales closing, wheat and forage by November 30th and apples, peaches, grapes, and cherries by November 20th.

Call the office (585) 589- 6236 if you have questions.


13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com
information@thesouthcottagency.com

Newspaper

News You Can Use – August 2019

271 0 22 Aug 2019

August 8th is National Sneak Some Zucchini
onto your Neighbor’s Porch Day!

Zucchini Sausage Casserole

  • 2 lb. zucchini
  • 1/2 lb. bulk sausage
  • 1/4 c. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. fine cracker crumbs
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated pinch thyme and rosemary

Cook zucchini 15 to 20 minutes.
Drain and chop coarsely.
Brown meat.
Add zucchini to sausage and onion.
Add remaining ingredients. Mix well.
Put in greased casserole dish. Bake 45 minutes at 350°F.


Do You Have the Right Stuff?
Do You Know Someone Who Does?


The Southcott Agency Inc. is looking for a “Sales Superstar” and if you refer them to us, we will give you a $500.00 finder’s fee! That’s right – if the person you refer is hired and stays with The Southcott Agency Inc. for 6 months – we will give you $500.00!

Interested? Respond to us via email IMMEDIATELY and you will be contacted for a telephone interview.

You need to do 2 things to apply:

  1. The only way to apply is to email your resume with references attached to mike@thesouthcottagency.com with the subject “I am your next Team Member”. Do not call or stop by the office.
  2. In the body of the email write a short essay (less than 10 sentences) on one of the following topics:
    Describe the person (past, present, dead, or living) you most admire and why? OR
    Describe an experience that has been most valuable to you and why?

How to File an Auto Claim

Auto accidents happen all the time and they are scary events. You are overwhelmed and shaken up even if you are not physically hurt. Thankfully you’re reading this now and not after an accident. There is a lot to remember to do and very little time to do it. Here is an information checklist that you can keep with your insurance ID card in your glove box – just in case.

  • Stop the car. Call 911 and get help for any injured people, but do not move them.
  • Protect the accident scene. Prevent further damage by setting up flares or getting your car off the road.
  • Give the police officers whatever information they require. Do not admit fault under any circumstances to the police or other people at the scene.
  • Ask the officer how you can get a copy of the police report.
  • Write down names and information on all the people involved in the accident:
    – Name, address, license plate #, driver’s license #, auto insurance carrier, make & model of cars involved
    – Names and addresses of witnesses
  • Write down all the details of the accident you can remember.

On a daily basis, we are exposed to questionable offers and opportunities on the internet. It is safe to treat every offer you find online as a scam until you can prove otherwise. Here are three simple measures to protect yourself from scams and to recognize viable opportunities online.

Treat Every Offer/Opportunity as an Investment

You may come across an ad for a product that will cure balding with one use, or an ad for a service that will email you exclusive stock tips. Maybe you find a job offer that will allow you to work from home, or as your own boss. The internet is full of golden opportunities, but it also has scams. Whenever you find an opportunity online, you need to view it as an investment. Be smart and protect your money. Not every online advertisement is looking for your money, but they will still take up your time. You can always make more money, but you can never get time back.

Fully Understand the Offer Before You Invest

Many of the successful online scams are done because the investor did not know about a certain clause or agreement. Read the fine print and do your research. If there is any part of the offer that you do not understand, make a simple attempt to understand it. Do not waste too much time reading up on the aspects that you do not understand. Scammers make sure that the victim cannot fully understand the offer. If something seems too good to be true, then go with your gut. When you get suspicious about an offer, it is usually for a good reason. Do not waste time on opportunities that are not 100% clear. Instead, look for opportunities that are 100% transparent.

Qualify the Party Making the Offer

Whether the opportunity is an entrepreneur looking for salespeople/ recruiters, or an advertisement for a better PC security service, you need to know the party making the offer. Before you invest, research the company’s history, background, and reputation. A good place to start is the company website. Then, search for customer reviews. If you do not have a clear understanding of who the party is and how they do business, then you are better off not investing with them. Information on the company should be easy to find.

GOOD LUCK!


Just Keep Talking Referral Program

Chance #1
Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance, whoever, about us.
When they contact us, we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card!

Chance #2
Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers.
The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

Grand Prize
In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!” Program Rules: Available upon request


Roses come in a wide range of colors. Each different color has a different meaning or significance. It sends a silent, yet extremely important message from the sender to receiver.

Rose Color Meaning

Red Roses—Nothing sends the message of love more clearly! Red roses represent love, beauty, passion, courage, and respect.

White Roses—White represents purity, innocence, secrecy, reverence, and humility.

Pink Roses— Pink roses say “Thank you”, grace, perfect happiness, and admiration.

Dark Pink—Send dark pink to show gratitude

Yellow Roses—Joy, gladness, friendship and the promise of new beginnings

Orange Roses—These show admiration, desire, enthusiasm, and fascination.

Red and White—Given together these signify unity.

Thornless Rose—signifies “Love at first sight”

Summer Care

Once this latest flush of flowers is over – or now, if roses aren’t looking rosy – it’s time to give plants a summer prune. This is not like the major cutting back done in late winter, but a lighter prune to remove spent flowers and encourage leafy, new growth.

Don’t just deadhead and clip spent blooms; cut flowering stems back to two or three sets of leaves. Think of it like cutting roses for a bouquet, and you’ll get the length right.

Expect to see your plants back in full- flower about four weeks from pruning.

Stop pruning 3 to 4 weeks before the first hard frost to discourage new growth that may be damaged by the cold.


Celebrate National Tell a Joke Day on August 16th.


What lights up a soccer stadium?
A soccer match.

Why did the Clydesdale give the pony a glass of water?
Because he was a little horse.

What do you call an alligator detective?
An investi-gator.

Important Crop Insurance
Claim Checklist


Orleans Community Health Foundation
Annual Golf Tournament

✔︎ You must notify the company and receive authorization to replant or destroy a crop.

✔︎ Prevented planting claims require a loss notice and must be submitted in a timely manner.

✔︎ When cropping for silage and a loss is suspected, the crop must be appraised first or adjuster approved check strips must be left in the field.

✔︎ There can be no production from prior years left in storage unless an adjuster or another USDA Agency employee has measured it prior to the current year’s production being added.

✔︎ If mycotoxins such as Aflatoxin are suspected, appropriate samples must be obtained by an Approved Insurance Provider (AIP) adjuster or approved, trained, disinterested third party before production is put in storage.

✔︎ MPCI production losses must be submitted no later than 15 days after the end of the insurance period for the crop.

✔︎ Revenue loss notices must be submitted no later than 45 days after the harvest price is released for the crop.

✔︎ Elevator moisture shrink may be different from MPCI moisture shrink.
Corn is 15%. Soybeans are 13%.

✔︎ Policies with Optional Units or more than one Basic Unit must keep production records separate by unit.

✔︎ Crop-Hail losses need to be reported on a storm by storm basis. Losses will not be adjusted until approximately 10 days after the storm date.

As always, call the office if you have questions concerning your claim.
Phone (585) 589-6236.


13630 Ridge Road 
Albion, NY 14411 
Phone 585 589-6236
information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm
www.thesouthcottagency.com 

property insurance

SAVE on your Property Insurance and still have the RIGHT coverage.

265 0 20 Aug 2019

1. Higher Deductible = Lower Premium

The deductible is what you must pay first before the insurance company will begin paying. A $1,000 deductible means you pay $1,000, and then your insurance will start paying. If the damage costs $5,000, you pay $1,000 and the insurance company pays the rest: $4,000. It may seem like a “no-brainer” to choose a lower deductible except it actually saves you money in the long run to have a higher deductible. A high deductible means your premium, or policy price, is lower per year. Just make sure you have enough money set aside to pay a deductible if something happens.

2. Combine Your Policies With One Company

Using one insurance agency for your homeowners, auto, life and other types of insurance you may need, will save you money. As a driver, you are required by law to have auto insurance. If your car insurance is with a different company than your homeowners insurance, speak to your agent about moving all of your insurance policies to their company. Also, if you have had one insurance company for many years and are pleased with their service, keep that company. The longer you are with one company, the more money you’ll save, plus you’ll be treated better.

3. Protective Device Discounts

Smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and deadbolt locks are usually worth discounts of at least 5%.  Local fire and burglar alarms, and sometimes a gated community, receive discounts of 5% to 10%.  You can get even bigger discounts, 15% to 20%, if you install a sophisticated sprinkler system or an alarm system that rings at the police station or a security company.

However, not all of these systems qualify for discounts.  Before you install one, check with your insurance agent to find out which systems qualify you for a discount and how much you would save on your premium if you installed the system.

4. Make an inventory of your Belongings

Make a list of all of your belongings.  Start with one room and write down the name and the price of each item.  Use a digital camera to take pictures or videos and keep this visual record on a disk or jump drive in a safe deposit box so you’ll have visual proof to match your list.  Every year, look over your policy and check the coverage you have for your valuables.  If you purchase and expensive item, you may need to increase your limits of coverage.  With a visual record you can very easily add new photos of new items and delete the photos of items you have sold.  Pay particular attention to items that have limitations on the amount, such as jewelry and valuable art.  You would need to add endorsements or “floaters” to your policy to insure such items for their maximum worth.  Your agent will have a complete list of these.

5. Location IS important

Where you live and what material was used to make your home?  If you live in the Eastern United States, it’s better to have a brick or stone house because it has a greater resistance to wind damage.  By contrast, frame homes are better in the earthquake-prone West.  The right structure in the right region can save you 5% to 15%.  Additionally, if your home is near a fire station, you will pay less for homeowners insurance.

6. Big discounts if Your Home is NEW

You get a discount if your home is new.  The reason for this is that with a newer home, the likelihood that something will go wrong is smaller.  The plumbing, wiring, and central heat and air systems are major expenses involved in owning a home.  Since the building is newer, it is therefore sounder.

7. Insure the house, Not the Land

Nobody is going to steal your land.  Fire and high winds won’t “destroy” it.  As such, when deciding how much homeowner’s coverage to have, do not include the value of the land, only the value of the house and any other buildings on the property.  Market value is the total value of your home, including the land, so lakefront property could be worth $400,000 ($300,000 for the property and $100,000 for the house).  The bank may ask you to insure up to $400,000, but as we mentioned, land can’t be destroyed.  Your insurance agent may need to step in for you to negotiate with the bank.  If you include the value of the land, you are paying too much.

Is Your Coverage Adequate?

Saving money is important to us all, but we have to make sure we are protected as much as we can be for the money we spend on insurance to be worthwhile.  Ask yourself, “Is my coverage adequate?”  Is it meeting the needs of you and your family?  In the following section, I will briefly outline how to find out if your homeowners insurance is working for you.

I won’t avoid the facts.  There really is more to homeowners insurance than saving money.  In fact, while it’s nice to lower your insurance costs, it’s even more important to make sure you, your loved ones, and your assets are covered adequately.  It is not a pleasant thought, but insurance is about worst-case scenarios.  It is mostly about peace of mind, knowing that you have the worst-case scenarios covered.

I want to let you in on the knowledge I have accumulated as an insurance industry professional and insider.  I want to do this because I have found, time and time again, that generosity and the willingness to provide really great service come back to me tenfold.  In fact, that’s how I have built my business.

Two Steps to Protection

There are two basic steps you can take to protect your and your family’s financial well being.  The first is to have an insurance specialist conduct a risk analysis of your home, car(s) and family.  If you have not had your risks assessed by an insurance professional, you could be inviting financial disaster.  Insuring your home is not a “do it yourself” project.  You need a professional, a knowledgeable insurance insider, to put together a comprehensive insurance plan that truly protects you.

The second step is do not trust the financial protection of you, your family, and your assets to an insurance agent who is not a homeowner’s insurance specialist.  A specialist in the field is an absolute necessity.  I am glad to share my expertise with you.  Your agent should gladly do the same.  Insurance is a huge industry.

There is insurance for almost everything and that is why I am helping you to educate yourself using this book to make informed choices for you and your family’s insurance needs

home property insurance southscott

Homeowners and Property Insurance

256 0 07 Aug 2019

Get the coverage you need at the price you can afford.

For most people, their home is the most expensive thing they own, and it contains all of their prized possessions. If your home is damaged or destroyed and you don’t have enough insurance, you are not only left out of the comfort of your shelter, you have also lost the money you’ve paid into your home (equity) and all of your personal things. Many types of damage happen every day, such as fires, wind damage, and theft.

Like most people, you probably borrowed money to buy your house from a bank.  The bank insists that you insure your home, but deciding what kind of coverage and how much to buy can be confusing.  The best way to get familiar with your homeowner’s policy is to talk to your insurance agent. With a better understanding of insurance, you will be more informed when you meet with an agent at The Southcott Agency, Inc.

Your agent knows what insurance coverage fits your needs. I have specialized in the insurance needs of homeowners and their families for many years, and I want to help explain the basics of homeowners insurance to give you a better understanding so you will feel more prepared, protected and informed. In the following section, you will learn some rules for saving money and getting the best coverage.

The typical homeowner’s insurance policy covers your house, garage and all other structures (buildings) on the property as well as personal possessions inside the house such as furniture, appliances, and clothing against damage, destruction, and theft. The extent of the situations covered depends on the type of policy.

There are six major types of coverage provided by a homeowner’s insurance policy:

  1. Dwelling: the structure of your home itself
  2. Appurtenant or Other Structures: detached garage or storage unit
  3. Personal Property and Contents: furniture, clothing, electronics, etc.
  4. Family Liability: coverage if someone in your family (living with you) is responsible for injuring another person or damaging their property
  5. Guest Medical: covers medical costs to a guest who is injured on your property, regardless of fault
  6. Additional Living Expenses (or Loss of Use): pays for you to live somewhere else while repairs are made on your home

Dwelling coverage pays to rebuild or repair your home.Make sure you have enough insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your house at current construction cost. To find out the amount of coverage needed, take the total square footage of the house and multiply by current local rebuilding costs per square foot.

For example: A 2000 square foot home with local rebuilding costs of $150 per square foot (2000 x 150) comes to $300,000 of dwelling coverage.

Other Structures covers any buildings that are detached from your home itself. This could include a garage that is separate from your house (attached garages are included in your dwelling coverage), a storage building, or any other structure. These are usually covered at about 10% of the cost to rebuild your home.

Personal Property and Contents covers household contents (furniture, clothes, appliances, etc.) usually 50% to 80% of the amount of your house is insured for. This means if you insure your house for $100,000, its contents are insured for up to $50,000 to $80,000 depending on the insurance company limits. This automatic coverage pays only the actual cash value of damaged, stolen, or destroyed household goods. You can get more coverage by paying a higher premium.

Family Liability provides coverage for you or someone in your family who lives with you if they are at fault for injuring a person or damaging their property. If you are sued as being at fault, this coverage also pays your legal fees.

The Guest Medical portion of the policy covers the medical costs for accidental injuries caused to visitors while on the property, such as a guest slipping and falling down improperly maintained stairs. If a visitor trips and falls, injuring themselves badly, they could sue you. These are serious problems that could do damage, if not destroy, your financial security.

Homeowners insurance also covers Additional Living Expenses. Sometimes known as Loss of Use, this reimburses the policyholder for the additional cost of living somewhere else while their home is being restored after a disaster.

Before buying home insurance, you should understand the difference between “actual cost value” and “replacement cost”. Actual cash value is an items replacement cost, minus depreciation (how much the value of the item goes down over time).

Replacement Cost Contents coverage gives you much more protection than actual cash value coverage. For example, what happens if a burglar steals your six-year-old TV? With actual cash value coverage, you get only what you would expect to pay for a six-year-old television set. With replacement cost coverage, the insurance company replaces your old TV with a new TV similar to the stolen one.

Extended Replacement Cost on Dwelling coverage pays a certain amount above the policy limit to replace a damaged home, generally 120% to 125%. It is similar to a guaranteed replacement cost policy, which has no percentage limits. Most homeowner policy limits track inflation in building costs. Guaranteed and extended replacement cost policies are designed to protect the policyholder after a major disaster when the high demand for building contractors and materials can push up the normal cost of reconstruction.

One Final Tip To Remember When Purchasing Homeowner’s Insurance:

Coverage for flood and earthquake damage is excluded in your homeowner’s policy and must be purchased separately.If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, you may be required to buy a flood insurance policy, which costs start at about $300 per year.

If you are not required to buy the coverage and still live in a flood-prone area, your homeowner’s policy will not provide coverage for losses arising from flooding. Ask The Southcott Agency, Inc about flood insurance for more information.

news

News You Can Use – July 2019

264 0 15 Jul 2019

Price of Freedom –
56 Men Who Signed

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

The history books rarely mention the signers’ personal struggles and sacrifices that happened in the Revolutionary War.

They didn’t just fight the British. They were British subjects at that time and they fought their own government. They signed and pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

5 signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured.

9 of the 56 fought and died of wounds or hardships of the War.
24 were lawyers and jurists.
11 were merchants.
9 were farmers and large plantation owners: men of means and highly educated.

They signed knowing full well that the penalty would be death if captured.

Carter Baxton of Virginia saw his ships taken by the British Navy. He sold his home and property to pay debts and died in rags.

Thomas Mckearn was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family constantly. He served in Congress without pay while his family kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr. noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and property destroyed. The British jailed his wife and she died there in a few months.

John Hart was driven from his dying wife’s bedside and their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year, he lived in caves and forests, returning to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later, he died from exhaustion. Norris and Livingston suffered familiar fates.

These soft-spoken men of means and education pledged, with a firm reliance on divine protection, to support the Declaration of Independence at any expense!

Happy Independence Day!


Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Picking Solution:
– 6 cups water
– 2 cups vinegar
– 1/2 cup canning salt
– 1/2 tbsp. alum (optional)
Bring ingredients for the pickling solution to a boil.

Fresh pickling cucumbers to fill a 1 gallon jar
– 1 large bunch fresh dill weed (about 1/4 lb)
– 1 large onion
– 2 whole cloves
– 2 tbsp. sliced garlic

Wash about 4 -5 lbs. freshly picked cucumbers.
Layer whole, unpeeled cucumbers, onion, cloves and garlic and dill.
Pour vinegar solution over the top, let set on counter for 3 to 4 hours.
Refrigerate, ready to eat in 2 to 4 days.
Variation: Sliced cucumbers may be used, and ingredients amounts can be varied to your taste.


How to Grow a Cut
and Come Again Garden

The term “cut and come again” is a mouthful, in more than one way. Cut and come again is a term for harvesting just the older, outer leaves of leafy green vegetables and allowing the center of the plant to continue sending out new leaves. You cut just what you need for one meal and the plant will still be there when you come back later. It’s an easy way to have a succession of harvests, without having to remember to succession plant.

The trick to keeping your cut and come again plants going is to begin harvesting the oldest leaves while they are still young themselves. Rather than waiting for them to reach mature length, start harvesting when they are only about 3 to 4 inches tall. By doing so, the plant never has a chance to mature and take its natural course to seed. It also prevents the leaves from becoming bitter.

No plant lives forever and there will come a time when your cut and come again greens are just exhausted from the effort of continually growing, but you should get a couple of months of harvest before that happens. Not bad for a single planting.

Vegetables Suitable for Cut and Come Again

Leafy greens, whether fresh eating salad greens or cooking greens, make the best candidates for cut and come again and many herbs are also harvested this way. By planting some cool weather greens, following them with heat lovers as the cool greens start to wane, and then finishing the season with a second sowing of the cool weather growers, you’ll have an even longer harvest season.

Lettuce – Lettuce gets credit for creating the cut-and-come-again technique. As with endive, heading lettuce is not appropriate for cut-and-come-again, but there are hundreds of loose-leaf varieties just begging to be used this way. Go crazy. Plant a huge variety. My favorites are:

Spinach – Spinach is another green that fades away in heat. It is also one that gets bushier if you keep pinching off leaves and a bushy plant will shade the soil above its roots, keeping it cool and helping it to stick around longer.

Swiss Chard – Chard is a beet that doesn’t form a bulb, which makes it perfect for cut and come again. But like spinach and kale, it cooks down considerably, so you’ll need leaves from several plants to really get your fill.


Reasons to Support Local Farmers’ Markets

Taste Real Flavor – the tastiest and freshest finds come directly from the field, not storage facilities.

Enjoy the season – seasonal foods connect you with the cycles of nature.

Support family farms – local farmers need your support.

Protect the environment – less shipping and packaging means less waste.

Nourish yourself – minimally processed foods are the most nutritious.

Promote the humane treatment of animals – you’ll find cheeses, meats and eggs that have been raised without hormones, with a natural diet and in sustainable farming environments.

Know where your food comes from – pass on the knowledge of food origins to your children. Food comes from farms, not grocery stores.


Preventing Ticks on Your Pets

Where to check your pet for ticks

Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tick- borne diseases. Vaccines are not available for most of the tickborne diseases that dogs can get, and they don’t keep the dogs from bringing ticks into your home. For these reasons, it’s important to use a tick preventive product on your dog. Tick bites on dogs may be hard to detect. Signs of tickborne disease may not appear for 7-21 days or long- er after a tick bite, so watch your dog closely for changes in behavior or appetite. If you suspect that your pet has been bitten by a tick talk to your veterinarian.

Check your pets for ticks daily, especially after they spend time outdoors.

If you find a tick on your pet, remove it right away.

Tick Removal

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure to remove the tick. Avoid twisting or jerking.
  • After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands.
  • Never crush a tick with your fingers. Dispose of a live tick by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag/ container, wrapping it tightly in tape, or flushing it down the toilet.

Follow up:
If you develop a rash or fever within several weeks of removing a tick, see your doctor. Be sure to tell the doctor about your recent tick bite, when the bite occurred, and where you most likely acquired the tick.


Deadline for Crop Insurance

13630 Ridge Road
Albion, NY 14411
Phone 585 589-6236 information@thesouthcottagency.com
Hours 8:00am – 4:00pm

Acreage reports must be signed by July 15th for corn, soybeans, potatoes, and oats.

Acreage reports must be signed by August 15 for cabbage, processing beans, processing sweet corn, and fresh market beans.

Acreage reports must include:
1. Planted acres and plant dates
2. Prevented planted acres by crop
3. Common land units, farm #’s, tract #’s, field #’s

Please call the office (585)589-6236 as soon as you are ready or as soon as your acreage report is done at the Farm Service office.
Premiums will be issued after the acreage report is filed and will be due by September 1st. Interest will be added as of October 1st and every month thereafter.


Safety and Convenience Make Windshield Repair a Great Option.

Windshield repair is more than just repairing a troublesome crack or chip from your view of the road. It can provide a quick, easy and affordable way to keep their car safe and secure. Small windshield chips can turn into large cracks which may not be repairable, can require full replacements, and are likely to cost more.

Repairs are often fully covered by your insurance. In most cases, the repair can be completed in as little as 30 minutes.

Most repairs are backed by a national warranty and are guaranteed to pass state vehicle inspections.

Give us a call if your car is marred by a windshield chip. (585) 589-6236


Just Keep Talking Referral Program

Chance #1 – Tell a friend, a colleague, a relative, an acquaintance… whoever… about us. When they contact us we’ll send you a $20.00 Gift Card and…

Chance #2 – Every month we’ll randomly draw from the month’s Chance #1 qualifiers. The winner will receive a $50.00 Gift Card

Grand Prize

In December, we’ll conduct a random drawing from all the current year’s entries and the winner will receive a new iPad!

3 Chances, 3 Prizes for YOU to WIN!

The Southcott Agency Inc. “Just Keep Talking!”
Program Rules: Available upon request

Farm Insurance

Farm Insurance Review! Do I really need one?

343 0 16 Apr 2019

While reviewing some insurance matters with a very diversified farm client (he grows apples, grain crops and processing vegetables) he turned to me and said “Remember last week when the weather forecast included thunderstorms, high winds and possible hail?  Well in the past I would lie awake all night with worry.  However, now knowing all my insurance is handled by you I sleep all night long like a baby.”

            For most farmers, sitting down to review their many insurance policies and make decisions on insurance coverage for their farms and families is not their favorite chore.  For instance, there are so many different areas to review property and liability exposures, understand limitations and exclusions; it can all get pretty confusing.

            The National Association of Insurance commissioners (known as NAIC) found in a 2010 survey that 86% of people responding did not understand their liability insurance limitations.  More than half of the respondents did not understand how their financial credit scores can affect their insurance premiums.

            Jerry Hillard, Director of Farm Sales for Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company in Des Moines, Iowa says “Not fully understanding your insurance policy and keeping the policy updated are two of the most common mistakes farmers can make.  This leads to paying premiums for coverages you need or missing necessary coverages and not realize the inadequacy until a claim is filed.”

            “In general, people think they should look for the cheapest premiums but that’s not always going to give them the best coverage” Hillard says “That’s why farmers need to sit down with their agent and review their insurance policies, coverages and exposures at least once a year.  When this is not done the policy and its coverages could become out of date quickly.”

            When reviewing insurance policies, experts say, farm families should pay close attention to:

  1. Valuation:  It is what insurance companies pay for the claim or loss to certain covered property.  Here are four value definitions commonly used and found in farmowners policies.
  2. Replacement cost: This pays the actual amount to replace or repair the damaged property at the time of loss with materials of like kind and quality without a deduction for depreciation.

Most insurance companies use a formula taking into account the age of a home or building, types of materials used in construction, quality of materials used in construction, the area you live in based on ZIP Code, as well as any other special or unique features.  They will determine a replacement cost per square foot and then multiply it by the total size of the home or building and that will equal the home or buildings full replacement cost.

            Example:  after an examination of the home or building and completion of a replacement cost estimator it is determined that the per square foot replacement cost equals $150.  The home that we are looking at is an 1800 sq. ft. one and a half story split-level home.

$150/sq. ft. replacement cost x 1800 sq. ft. = $270,000 replacement cost.

To have replacement cost coverage on this home in your farmowners insurance policy will require you to ensure a percentage of this final calculation. The insurance company requirement could be 80%, 90% or a full 100% percent of this final calculation.  The best way to know what your replacement value on your home is, is to have a qualified building contractor calculate the exact cost to replace your home or a farm building in the event of a total loss due to damage by fire.

Actual Cash Value: This pays the cost to replace or repair the covered property with a calculation to reflect depreciation.

            Let us use the same home from our previous example.  We have our homes replacement cost estimated at $270,000.  We choose to ensure it at an Actual Cash Value for $140,000.  We then experience a windstorm that damages a good portion of the roof.  We get an estimate from a contractor to fix the roof and the estimate is for $40,000.  The roof is 12 years old.  The insurance company uses a 3% per year depreciation factor.  This calculation would look like this:

$40,000 estimate for repair to roof damaged by wind

-$4,000 depreciation factor, 3% per year x 12 years old

$25,000 actual cash value settlement of claim before policy deductible.

Functional Replacement Cost: This is special policy language most commonly used in the section for farm barns and other structures.

It allows us to insure a barn and have coverage when we do not want to have 100% of the true replacement cost but actual cash value with depreciation is not enough.

Think of an older post and beam barn that is still in good shape and still in use for storage of equipment or supplies or even horses or livestock.  The true replacement cost value on a barn of post and beam construction is so high no one would insure it for that value.  Now it is in good shape and we want to replace it without a large deduction for depreciation due to its age.  We can take the needed square footage x the replacement cost of a more modern pole barn=functional replacement cost.

Utility value: Again this might be used on older barns and structures.  It is used when the actual cash value of the barn with depreciation is higher than the value of the barns use.

When using utility value we are most concerned with getting something from our insurance coverage for a total loss.  On a partial loss, as in our wind damaged roof example, we would receive little compared to its repair cost.  Also, utility value insurance rates will be higher than actual cash value insurance rates.  A good comparison of coverage value versus premium cost between utility value and actual cash value will help us make the right decision.

  • Machinery, equipment, inventories of farm personal property
    • New machinery & Equipment
    • Deletion of unused or traded machinery & equipment
    • Peak season or reporting farm coverages

            These are used to cover fluctuating inventories of supplies like seed or fertilizer, hay or    straw.  These are also used to cover grain, apples, cabbage or any produce that monthly          values decrease over time as you sell down your produce.

  •  Liability exposures
    • Any changes of ownership or formations of new entities like partnerships, corporations or LLC’s.  Are these entities named insureds or additional insureds?
    • Any changes to scope of operations, any new land added due to purchase or rented
    • Any exposures to the general public for example “U-Pick” operations of fruits or vegetables, selling through farmers markets.
    • Any new ventures like corn mazes, farm tours or any agri-tourism events.
  •  Understanding exclusions or limitations in your policy language

According to NAIC, losses from earthquakes, floods or water and sewer line breaks are not reimbursed under many standard Farmowner policies.

Farmers should talk to their agents about endorsements for specific coverages.

  • Earthquake coverage can be added by endorsement.
  • Sewer back up and sump pump coverage can be added by endorsement.
  • A separate national flood insurance policy may be needed.

Also be aware that certain items may have a sublimit in your policy such as:

  • Jewelry
  • Guns
  • Money on hand
  • Collectibles

These sub limits can be increased by endorsement and customized to your situation.

This is a good checklist to use during an annual insurance review with a farm insurance agent specialist:

Home

  • Additions or improvements since last review
  • New protective devices (smoke detectors, theft alarms, deadbolt locks)
  • New heating units (wood-burning stove, fireplace insert)
  • New construction (garages, swimming pools, fencing)

Household Contents

  • New major purchases                            
  • Jewelry
  • Firearms
  • Furs
  • Silverware
  • Other

Farm Buildings (review adequacy of actual cash value vs. replacement cost)

  • New construction since last review
  • Planned construction in coming year
  • Additions or improvements to existing buildings
  • New storage units (bins,silos)

Farm Property (review adequacy of inventory limits)

  • Additions or deletions from prior review
  • Planned new purchases during coming year
  • Significant changes in grain, livestock or commodity pricing since last review

Operations

  • Significant change in volume of sales or other business activity since last review
  • New partnerships, joint ventures or other business affiliations
  • New acreage acquired since last review
  • New acreage acquisitions planned in coming year
  • Additional business activities begun or planned
  • Boarding of horses or other animals
  • If you have employees, any change in number

Vehicles

  • Change in ownership, titles of registration of vehicles
  • Add or deletion of any drivers
  • Use, weight or range of trucks
  • Which vehicles should have comprehensive or collision coverage
  • Reasonable deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage
  • Lay-up credits for limited use trucks

Life changing circumstances

  • Marriage or divorce
  • Formation of new business entities
  • Children becoming of driving age

We understand the unique risks and exposures facing modern farms and agribusiness. Because each operation is different, we start with a basic package of coverages most operations need; your home, buildings, machinery, equipment and liability. We then form a menu of options to tailor the coverages to the needs of your specific farm operation. We want to make sure you pay premiums only for the protection you need.

Our Motto

We partner with farms and agri-businesses by implementing proven risk management strategies to protect their hard earned equity and income producing abilities.

Trees

No Fault; what does this mean?

256 0 08 Apr 2019

There is a coverage on your New York State personal Auto insurance called “Personal Injury Protection”, abbreviated P.I P, also known as “No Fault” coverage.

          New York State is known as a “No Fault” state.  What that does NOT mean is when we are in a car accident that no one will be held at fault.  No, someone will be determined to have caused the accident.  In some cases both parties could have contributed to the accident.  This contributing factor could have one party at 100% fault and the second party at 0% fault.  It could be a 50%-50% contributing factor, or 70%-30%, or any varying combination.  This contributing factor determines whose liability insurance pays and when your own collision pays and to what extent.

          Personal Injury Protection is a coverage inside our New York State Personal Auto Insurance policy that provides coverage for us when we get injured from an automobile accident.  Our own P.I. P. coverage pays first, no matter who caused the automobile accident.  We could get hit head on from a drunk driver and our own P.I.P. coverage pays for our medical expenses and possible loss wages.  This is where the term “No Fault” comes from.  No matter who is at fault our own policies provide payment to hospitals, doctors, ambulance rides, follow up visits and rehabilitations.  This coverage pays first before your own health insurance program and before you can sue the other guy even if the other guy caused the accident.  Most people do not realize that their health insurance policy excludes automobile accidents.

          New York State made Personal Injury Protection mandatory in a New York State automobile policy in the late 1970’s.  They did this for primarily two reasons:

  1. Health insurance policies exclude coverage for injuries caused by or in an automobile.
  2. To slow down or eliminate law suites clogging up the court systems and make direct payments to doctors and hospitals.

The doctor and hospital costs were not being paid due to the exclusions in health insurance.  They may be waiting for years for law suits to work their way through the system to determine what automobile liability coverage may pay.

The minimum level for P.I.P. coverage that is mandatory in your New York State automobile policy is $50,000.  This $50,000 coverage pays all necessary medical expenses associated to the injury resulting from an automobile accident.  This $50,000 mandatory Personal Injury Protection pays first party benefits for:

  1. Medical expenses which shall consist of necessary expenses for:
    1. Medical, hospital, surgical, nursing, dental, ambulance, X-Ray, prescription drug or prosthetic services.
    2. Psychiatric, physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation.
    3. Any non-medical remedial care and treatment rendered in accordance with a religious method of healing recognized by the laws of New York State.
    4. Any other professional health services.

These medical expenses will not be subject to a time limitation provided that, within one year after the date of the accident, it is determined that further medical expenses may be sustained as a result of the accident.

2. Work loss which shall consist of the sum of lost wages and expenses up to $2,000/month for a period of up to 3 years from the date of the accident.  We must be aware that the $2,000/month loss wages is part of the total $50,000 Personal Injury Protection coverage.  It is not $50,000 towards medical expenses and $2,000/month loss wage payments.

The basic $50,000 of Personal Injury Protection coverage is by State law mandatory and this coverage is on all New York State automobile policies.

However, we do have the option to increase this coverage for an additional premium charge.  We can increase out P.I.P. coverage to $75,000 or to $100,000 or up to $150,000.  Each of these additional levels of P.I.P coverage also increases our loss monthly reimbursement.

The increase levels and work loss coverage are as follows:

            $50,000 Basic P.I.P has up to $2,000/month work loss coverage

            $75,000 Basic P.I.P has up to $2,500/month work loss coverage

          $100,000 Basic P.I.P has up to $3,000/month work loss coverage

          $150,000 Basic P.I.P has up to $4,000/month work loss coverage

There is one more coverage option that New York State insurance law provides for us.  This coverage option is known as O.B.E.L coverage.  It stands for Optional Basic Economic Loss.  This adds an additional $25,000 of P.I.P. coverage.  This additional $25,000 can be either applied to our medical expenses or towards our work loss wage reimbursement. This coverage is so flexible it can be added to any of the four P.I.P. coverage limits.

Who is an Eligible Injured Person??

  1. The named insured and any relative who sustains personal injury arising out of the use or operation of any motor vehicle.
  2. The named insured and any relative who sustains personal injury arising out of the use or operation of any motorcycle while not occupying a motorcycle. 
  3. Any other person who sustains personal injury arising out of the use or operation of the insured motor vehicle in the State of New York while not occupying another motor vehicle.
  4. Any New York State resident who sustains personal injury arising out of the use or operation of the insured motor vehicle outside of New York State while not occupying another motor vehicle.

          I had a client here in New York State.  This client had all of their insurance with me.  There was a Farmowners policy, Business Auto policy, Personal Auto policy and an Umbrella Insurance policy.  This client had a daughter who attended college in Florida.  One day she was riding as a passenger in a friend’s car.  Their car was T-Boned in an intersection where the other car ran a red light.  It was a very serious accident.  My clients daughter was seriously hurt with multiple injuries, broken pelvis and other broken bones.  She was hospitalized in Florida for an extended period of time and resulting months of rehabilitation.  The ambulance ride, Emergency Room, operations, hospital room, Doctor visits and physical therapy were all covered by my clients Personal Injury Protection on his New York State automobile insurance policy.  It did not come from a health insurance policy or the liability coverage from her friends’ automobile policy or the liability coverage from the other driver’s automobile policy.  Luckily my client carried the full $150,000 of P.I.P. coverage and the policy paid out the full amount.

          Like any insurance policy or insurance coverage there are exclusions (the situations when it won’t pay and provide coverage) to P.I.P. coverage.  Here are two examples:

  1. When any person as a result of operating a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated condition or while his/her ability to operate the vehicle is impaired by the use of a drug.
    1. So drink, get drunk, drive a vehicle, have an accident, get hurt, no coverage.
  2. Any person who intentionally causes his/her own personal injury.

I was told the following story by an insurance company investigative adjuster:

          He was looking into an accident where a car had smashed into a bridge embankment.  The car had a single occupant, the driver.  He was a young man; still in high school.  This young man was seriously hurt.  There were numerous operations and an extended hospital stay.  This adjuster and the insurance company were having a difficult time determining the cause of the accident.

          A couple of weeks after the accident, while still in the hospital, this young man made a Facebook post about how bad his life was and that he could not even kill himself right.  It appears that high school life was not going all that well and that his girlfriend just broke up with him.  The insurance company denied the claim under intentional acts.  The family sued the insurance company.  The courts sided with the insurance company using the Facebook post as evidence.  The insurance company did not have to pay.

          I have had clients tell me that they have had financial planners advise them to lower their Personal Injury Protection on their New York State automobile policy to the mandatory minimum of $50,000.  I guess the Financial Advisor can take this little bit of savings and invest it for the client to help them become financially independent. (Heck, I’ve even heard this strategy encouraged on T.V. by so called Financial Guru’s!!).  It would take many years and an extremely high, greater than average return to become financially independent off the savings of premium between $50,000 and $150,000 of Personal Injury Protection.

Remember:

  • P.I.P provides first dollar coverage-no matter who causes the accident
  • P.I.P. includes loss wage reimbursement
  • P.I.P. covers the policy holder and his/her family
  • P.I.P. covers the policy holder in someone else’s car
  • P.I.P. covers the policy holder while out of New York State
  • Health insurance does not cover car accidents

By lowering your P.I.P. coverage to the state minimum of $50,000, it would only take one car accident with injuries and you could find yourself financially destitute.

Tractor

Equipment Breakdown Protection

299 0 19 Mar 2019

When is it Excluded? When is it Covered?

The Random House College Dictionary defines the word Insurance:

  1. The act, system, or business of insuring property, life, etc. against loss or harm in consideration of a payment proportionate to the risk involved.
  2. Coverage by contract in which one party agrees to indemnify or reimburse another for any loss that occurs under the terms of the contract.
  3. The amount for which anything is insured by contract itself, set forth in a written or printed agreement or policy.

People purchase or invest in different types of insurance policies to insure a host of different things for a host of different reasons.

  • We purchase a homeowner’s policy to physically cover our home and our personal property in and around the house.
  • We purchase auto insurance to physically protect the car and provide liability protection to others when and if we are at fault.
  • We purchase life insurance to provide money to replace our income producing ability and / or to cover a large debt or loan.
  • We purchase other property policies such as a farmowner’s policy to cover the large investments in the physical assets that make up our farm: the buildings, mobile equipment, supplies, and inventories.
  • We purchase insurance policies as a requirement to secure a loan.
  • We purchase insurance due to a law. We purchase auto insurance because the state requires a registered vehicle to have liability protection to others.

It is common in most property insurance policies to describe what we cover for perils and the causes of loss as basic, broad or special coverage. Under basic and broad coverage, the policy would say we cover for:

  • Basic: Fire, Damage from vehicles, Lightning, Smoke, Windstorm, Sink hole collapse, Hail, Volcanic Action, Explosion, Vandalism, Riot, Civil commotion, Theft, Aircraft damage
  • Broad: All basic perils plus, Falling Objects, Weight of ice sleet and snow, Accidental discharge of liquids or steam from plumbing, Sudden & accidental damage from electrical current, Freezing of plumbing, Collapse, Sudden & Accidental tearing apart of buildings
  • Special Forms will include all risk of physical damage to covered eligible property unless specifically excluded by policy language or certain exceptions.

Yes, not everything in life is covered by insurance. All insurance policies are going to have exclusions and exceptions (make sure you read your policy for a full listing of what is not covered).

Here are a few common exclusions and exceptions but by no means a complete list.

  • Civil Authority – if a government agency comes along and says, “Hey, you have to move that barn. We are going to build a new road!” This is not an insurance claim.
  • Earth movement – earthquakes and landslides are not covered. Also, shifting of earth around your basement wall is not covered.
  • Intentional acts or wear and tear. You cannot neglect to care for your property and expect long-term damage and deterioration to be covered by insurance.
  • Ordinance of Law – we do not cover or pay for the loss or increased cost which results from the enforcement of code, ordinance or law.
  • Water damage – this includes water from flood, surface water, waves, water back-up from drains, sewers, sump, and water from below ground surface.

Another common exclusion applied to homes and farm buildings on a farmowner’s policy reads:

-Wear and Tear-

We do not pay for loss which results from wear and tear, marring, deterioration, inherent vice, latent defect, MECHANICAL BREAKDOWN, rust, wet or dry rot, corrosion, mold, contamination or smog.

We are referencing the part of the policy that covers our homes, residences, other dwellings, as well as, farm barns and buildings. So, we are talking about the mechanical breakdown of equipment that is fixed to or part of these structures (we are not talking about our mobile farm machinery and equipment). We are talking about refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. We are talking about computers, electronics, communication systems. We are talking about motors boilers, pressure vessel systems and other mechanical devices.

What could happen to these types of fixed equipment that their exclusion would not
cover?
Examples include:

  • Mechanical breakdown or rupturing by centrifugal force
  • Losses caused by arcing or electrical current (other standard farmowner’s policy  would cover lightning)
  • Explosion of boilers, pipes, turbines, engines.
  • Loss to both hot water or steam boilers, heaters, pipes, turbines, or engines caused by any condition or occurrence with in such equipment.

Not all is lost. There is a coverage endorsement that you can add to your farm policy and in most cases for a nominal premium that gives coverage and buys back the exclusion. It is simply called “Equipment Breakdown Coverage”

There are five parts to this endorsement.

  1. Electrical – We cover power transformers, electrical motors, switchboards, distribution panels, circuit breakers, cables and ducts. We cover common causes of loss that include: supply line surges, excessive moisture, insulation deterioration, poor workmanship, operator error and poor contacts.
  2. Air conditioners and refrigeration – We cover air conditioning, refrigeration, motors, compressors, fans, switchboards, coils, pipes and vessels. We cover common causes of loss from the failure of control systems, vibration, refrigerant slugging, scale build-up, rapid weather change, wear of internal parts and external blows.
  3. Boilers and Pressure Vessels – We cover heating and process boilers, pressure vessels, cookers, sterilizers, and vulcanizers. We cover the common causes of loss from control failure, scale build-up, freezing, vibration, low water condition, operator error, and coldwater slugging.
  4. Computerized production, communications, and computing equipment – We cover common causes of loss from electrical line surges, insulation deterioration, overload conditions, excessive moisture, poor contacts and connections, operator errors and abuse.
  5. Pumps, fans, blowers, engines, turbines, compressors and gear settings – Common causes of loss from oil contamination, misalignment, overload, surging, vibration, overspeed, bearing wear, and operator error.

So what kind of things on the farm would be covered? Here is a list of some of the things (not a complete list).

  1. Electrical panels in our home, buildings, and electrical panels running our grain handling facilities
  2. Milk tank refrigeration
  3. Air conditioning equipment (fixed, not window units) both in homes as well as offices, cooling systems for cabbage, potatoes, onions, apples storages
  4. Refrigerated perishable supplies including semen, medicines, and vaccines
  5. Hot water tanks
  6. Propane storage tanks
  7. Office equipment, computer systems, phone systems
  8. Computerize milking systems
  9. Telecommunications
  10. Precision farming equipment attached to a structure (not attached to a tractor or combine)
  11. Motors as part of milking parlor system
  12. Motors as part of grain handling system
  13. Air compressor pumps
  14. Other pump units

This coverage endorsement also provides some extra coverage with specific sub limits such as:

Expediting expenses$ 25,0000.00
Hazardous substance release$ 25,000.00
Spoilage$ 25,000.00
Data restoration$ 25,000.00

When a farm operation may need more protection than what these sub limits offer, we can make an application asking for an increase in coverage for a corresponding increase in premium.

As always, do not hesitate to call the office with questions and concerns regarding your specific policy needs at (585) 589-6236

Apple Tree

The Importance of Federal Crop Insurance and Why America Relies on Crop Insurance

272 0 05 Mar 2019
  • In 2018 American farmers purchased 1.1 million separate crop insurance policies investing over 3.6 billion dollars in premiums providing production coverage on over 130 crops.
  • Federal Crop Insurance covers over 90 percent of all planted crops in America.
  • Since 2000 American farmers have invested over 54 million dollars of their own hard-earned income to purchase Federal Crop Insurance.
  • Family farms make up 96 percent of Americas 2.1 million farms and 89 percent of all agricultural production

5 Myths about Federal Crop Insurance

  1. Federal Crop Insurance is only for grain farmers

FALSE, it is true that corn, soybeans, and wheat are the three most common crops planted in America. However, farmers in all 50 states rely on crop insurance to manage their production and financial risk. Crop insurance now covers over 130 different agriculturally grown commodities that include many fruits, vegetables, livestock, and hay and the list keeps growing. With the continued growth of available crop commodities and enhancements to insurance policies, crop insurance has become vital to almost every farmer in every county in every state in the United States.

In New York state not only do we cover corn, soybeans, and wheat, but also barley. Crop insurance is also available on processing and non-processing vegetables such as sweet corn, green and yellow beans, peas, cabbage, potatoes, and onions. Many fruit crops also have a federal crop insurance program such as apples, peaches, grapes, and cherries. Not all crops have a federal crop insurance program available in all counties. Call our office at 585-589-6236 to double check which crops are covered in your county.

2. Crop Insurance only covers weather related losses.

FALSE, Federal Crop Insurance does respond to weather related losses caused by hail, drought or too much moisture. It also covers animal damage such as deer damage and insect or disease damage. However, it can also respond to revenue and income losses. Some crops have a revenue option where you can protect the loss of revenue due to falling commodity prices during the growing season. Also, whole farm revenue protection has been developed. This is an insurance policy that insures a percentage of your five-year average agricultural income. This protection can be provided for livestock income as well as income farm crops that do not currently have a specific federal crop insurance policy available. This can help protect very large diversified farms or farms growing many crops in small acreages such as a farm with a retail farm stand.

3. Most farmers do not have crop insurance.

FALSE, the Farm Service Agency recorded planted acres and recorded insured acres. More than 90 percent of all planted agricultural crop acres in the United States are covered by the Federal Crop Insurance Program. True, not all crops have a federal crop
insurance program available in their county or state. For example, peaches are insurable in Niagara and Orleans Counties in Western New York, but are not insurable in Monroe and Wayne Counties. Cabbage is insurable in Orleans and Monroe Counties but not in Genesee County. If coverage is unavailable not all is lost. When growing an agricultural crop not listed as an insurable crop, you can make an application for coverage under a “Written agreement” special request. This process takes a little time and asks for at least three years of production and acreage data. To secure peach coverage for a grower in Wayne County (where an insurance program is not available) we filled out and submitted the written agreement application in September when the sales closing date for fruit crops was not until November 20th.

It is estimated that over 96 percent of the 2.1 million farms in America are family farms, that means that Federal Crop Insurance serves family farms in most counties in all states in the country.

4. Crop insurance is free.

FALSE, the federal government does subsidize the premium paid by individual farmers. The subsidy varies by program area and by the level of coverage the farmer chooses to participate at. In most cases, the higher level of coverage the farmer chooses to protect his crop, the more he pays of the total premium. Farmers invested heavily in their crop insurance policies to the tune of 3.6 billion dollars in 2018 and well over 54 billion dollars since 2000. The lowest level of coverage a farm grower can participate in is referred to as CAT coverage. This provides coverage to protect 50 percent of the grower’s average production at 55 percent of the established commodity price for that crop. In 2018 the farmer’s CAT premium insurance was $300.00 per crop per county. With the newly passed “Farm Bill” the CAT premium will increase. Once a grower chooses to increase his coverage above this basic minimum, he pays a premium based on the planted acres. Depending on the type of crop, this premium can range from 2 – 3 dollars per acre up toward 25 – 30 dollars per acre. With apples, the premiums can be 250 – 350 dollars per acre and sometimes even more. This type of investment helps maintain the financial stability of many rural communities across the country.

5. Taxpayers bear all the risk for crop insurance losses.

False, actually the risks are shared by three groups. One, the farmer absorbs risk through the premiums paid for the level of coverage chosen. The farmer pays a large share of the actual premium. The farmer also absorbs the deductible. This is the amount of his actual production he loses before the insurance responds. This can range from 15 percent up to 50 percent loss even before the insurance responds. The average loss before insurance is probably between 20 and 35 percent. This is a direct out of pocket financial loss before insurance kicks in.

Two, the private insurance companies have risk. Federal Crop Insurance is distributed and marketed to individual farmers through independent private insurance companies. The SRA or Selling and Reinsurance Agreement, between these private insurance companies and the Federal Government spells out the rules and regulations effecting distribution and marketing of Federal Crop Insurance. The private insurance companies have set aside a large portion of their earnings as a loss reserve. Every time there is a major drought, a hurricane, or hail storm, it is the individual private insurance companies who pay first to cover losses.

Finally, through the subsidized premiums, the American tax payers are investing to insure and preserve a plentiful low-cost food supply for all Americans. Thanks to this form of crop insurance the tax payer pays for less to cover these natural disasters than the old “wait and see” ad hoc disaster programs.

Federal Crop Insurance has never been or will it ever be a profit generating mechanism for the American farmers. It is not meant to help farmers pay for their winter vacation or purchase their next tractor or pick-up truck. Federal Crop Insurance is in place to be a safety net. It is designed to help replace loss of income due to loss of crop production. It covers some of the operating costs and gives the American farmer a fighting chance to make it to the next crop year.

Cyber Security

Are you covered if your computer and server are attacked?

368 0 15 Feb 2019

On Wednesday, April 18th, 1906 at 5:12am the famous San Francisco earthquake hit. Over the next three days eighty percent of the city was destroyed and over three thousand people lost their lives.

Believe it or not, it was not the shaking earth that caused a majority of the property damage and death. No, surprisingly most of the damage and death over the next few days was caused by broken gas lines and the resulting major horrific fires.

What does that have to do with cyber-security or cyber liability? What are the secondary consequential costs to a cyber-security breach? What are the cyber issues that are equivalent to those broken gas lines?

Let us look at some recently published statistics:

  • Sixty percent of all the cyber attacks world wide are directed at small to mid-size businesses according to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance.
  • One out of five small to mid-size businesses will fall to cyber attacks despite substantial investment in computer security. (Better Business Bureau)
  • One half of all small to mid-size businesses that experience a major security breach will go out of business in six months. (U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance)
  • The average cost of a cyber-security data breach is more than $650,000. (Ponemon Institute)
  • This damage occurred while American companies spent 85 million dollars on cyber-security software in 2017 and the cost of cyber-security breaches were in the trillions. (IDC Cybersecurity Ventures)

A few years back, our office and computer systems were attacked even though we had contracted with an outside IT expert and had invested in security software. (I am an insurance guy not a computer guy!)

The attack was successful and shut down our computers, server, access to our client files, and all computer communication to our partner insurance companies. We could not email, issue ID cards, file claims or make payments for clients. The attack came over a weekend. The first day I realized we were experiencing a problem we received a single email stating that our system was attacked and taken hostage! The email instructed me to go to Walmart and purchase a $300.00 gift card and put the gift card number in a return email. When they received the number, and were able to use the card, they would release my system back to me. I had twenty-four hours to respond or they would completely burn down our computer system and destroy all programs and data!

I immediately called my IT guy and he advised me to pay the ransom and I did. When my system was released back to me my IT guy came to the office and spent a day going through our computers, server and changing our security. He said the computer pirates only ask for $300.00 to $500.00 in ransom because it is not enough money for the state police or FBI to bother with.

I have a client who recently experienced the same scenario and he decided not to pay the ransom and let the computer pirates take his system down. The reason he made this decision was because his fiscal year had recently ended. He had completely backed up his systems and all information. So, he had his IT people build a new system and his staff input the last few weeks of invoices, inventory, etc. That process took days to return to normal functioning business operations. What if this occurred a few months into the new fiscal year? What would the potential cost and inconvenience be?

Your current farm owner’s policy or business owner’s policy does not have coverage for cyberattacks. It won’t cover lost money from down time or shut down of your business. It won’t cover any stolen money or reimburse the ransom. It won’t pay any liability that you could be responsible for if the computer pirates harm a vendor or customer of yours.

I now cover my insurance business with a Cyber Insurance Policy. The policy provides the following coverages:

  • Privacy liability, including employees $1,000,000.
  • Privacy regulatory claims coverage $1,000,000.
  • Security breach recovery coverage $1,000,000.
  • Security liability $1,000,000.
  • Multimedia liability $1,000,000.
  • Cyber extorsion $1,000,000.
  • Business income & digital asset restoration $1,000,000.
  • PCI, DSS Assessment* $1,000,000. (*These are written demands received by your acquiring bank, or a credit card association for monetary fines, penalties, reimbursements or fraud recoveries)

Of course, all insurance policies will have exclusions, limits and exceptions. These are a part of every insurance policy to clearly define what is covered and will be paid for and what is not covered and won’t be paid for. The following are examples of cyber liability exclusions, but is not a complete list. (Please read your policy for a complete list.)

  • Employment practices
  • Strikes
  • Failures or malfunction of satellite systems, telephone systems, wireless communications
  • Fire, wind, hail, lightning, smoke, explosion (these are your basic coverages provided on a property policy)
  • Express or implied breach of a contract
  • The presence or contamination of, or discharge and disposal of pollutants
  • The selling of securities
  • Wrongful acts
  • Criminal conduct
  • Dishonest acts
  • Intentional acts

My policy has a $2,500.00 deductible with an annual premium of $400.00. Cyber liability insurance can be an integral part of your overall strategy to protect your computer systems. Software programs and important information and data. The premium is driven by:

  • Type of business
  • Overall financial size of business
  • Payroll and how many employees are in the business

Do not hesitate to call us for more information on Cyber Insurance Coverage at (585) 589-6236 or email us at information@thesouthcottagency.com

Farm metal Silo

Grain Bin Safety week February 17th-23rd, 2019

559 0 06 Feb 2019

Every year farmers, their family members and employees are injured or killed in grain bin entrapments. Grain owners store grain to hedge market price fluctuations as well as to keep their harvest on schedule.

Pristine grain management is the key to preventing the need to enter a grain bin.  In reality, that is an objective many farm operators cannot reasonably maintain.

The three most common ways in which people become entrapped in grain are associated with unloading.

  1. Flowering Grain:

During unloading, the grain bin flows downward from the top center of the bin creating a “funnel” effect that drains material and objects down to the conveyor.  A loading auger at the bottom of the bin transports the grain outside.  It only takes two to three seconds to become helpless in flowing grain; flowing grain acts like quick sand and can pull a worker under and cause suffocation.  This hazard can happen inside a gravity wagon.

  • Collapse of a Grain Bridge:

A grain bridge can form when grain on the surface is moldy or is frozen together to form a hard thick crust.  When grain is unloaded from a bin with surface crust, a hollow cavity can form underneath the grain bridge.  If an individual enters the grain bin and attempts to walk on the crusted surface, the additional weight can cause the crust to collapse and the individual could be partially or completely submerged instantly. The shifting grain can move the victim four or five feet from the point of entry where the victim was last seen, making it very difficult for rescuers to determine where the victim is located.

  •  Avalanche of a Vertical Grain Wall:

Grain in poor condition can stick and cake in large vertical columns against the grain bin wall.  Workers may attempt to dislodge the grain by poling it with a stick or shovel.  This can cause the wall of grain to break free, resulting in an avalanche that can completely bury workers inside the bins.

POINTS OF PREVENTION:

  • Educate family members, employees and visitors to the dangers of flowing grain.
  • Place warning signs and decals on all grain bin entrances and gravity wagons.
  • Turn off and lock out power controls to unloading conveyors before entering a bin.
  • Always use a salty harness, safety line and at least two observers during bin entry.
  • Tie a permanent life line in the bin, possibly a rope with knots tied in it, so a trapped person has something to hang on to.
  • Secure your grain bin areas to prevent entry by unauthorized persons.
  • Teach your employees to detect whether a grain bin exists; always look for an inverted cone after unloading from a grain bin.  The newly exposed grain surface should look shiny. If it does not, a bridge may have formed.
  • Use a pole or other object to free the bridge from the grain bin roof hatch or from the inside ladder while tied to the ladder securely.  Do not stand on the grain surface.
  • Carry a long pole when entering grain bins to probe grain for cavities and stabilize the worker in case of sudden grain flow.
  • Use a body harness and safety rope that is securely tied off.
  • Work top to bottom of a vertical grain wall; always staying above the highest point of the wall.
  • Be prepared for the entire grain wall to break free and fall at any time.
  • Manage grain in storage to avoid conditions that cause spoilage and fermentation of vertical grain walls.

Grain Bin Rescue Procedures:

  1. Be sure the auger or loading equipment is shut off and locked.
  2. Contact an emergency rescue or fire department.
  3. Ventilate the bin with an aeration system, if one is present.  Never activate the heat source.
  4. Avoid putting additional pressure on the victim
  5. Stay away from the area immediately around the victim
  6. Use a ladder, plywood or other material to distribute weight
  7. Keep unnecessary personnel out of the grain bin
  8.  Protect first responders and other rescuers
  9. Attach safety lines to rescuers
  10. Use respiratory protection as required; dust filter masks, filter respirators or SCBA
  11.  Construct a retaining wall when the surrounding grain slope is above the          entrapped persons head.
  12. Use plywood, sheet metal, garbage cans with bottoms removed or heavy cardboard to keep grain from entrapped persons chest and head.
  13. Multiple retaining walls may be necessary.
  14. Remove grain from around the entrapped victim.
  15. Attach a harness to the entrapped victim to prevent further submission into the grain.  Do not try to pull out the victim without removing the grain (hoist or block and tackle removal can cause serious injury).
  16. Use a vacuum conveyor or scoop to remove grain from around entrapped victim.
  17. Be careful when parts of the entrapped victim are not visible to avoid further injury.
  18. Cut holes in the grain bin wall and drain the grain.
  19. Do this immediately if the victim is completely submersed.
  20. Cut at least two holes on opposite sides of the bin; three to four holes symmetrically spaced are recommended.  More holes may be needed on large bins.
  21. Use a “U” or “V” shaped cut.
  22. Make a cut 30” to 40” across between the bolt lines of a single sheet (never cut across vertical or horizontal bin sheet joints).
  23. Locate holes just below the feet of a partially submerged entrapped victim or as low as possible if the victim is not visible.
  24. You can use an air chisel, power saw, cutting torch or even the bucket of a loader tractor
  25. Drain the grain uniformly from two, three or four holes evenly around the grain bin.
  26.  Provide care for the entrapped person.
  27. Assist the victims breathing by using oxygen or SCBA
  28. Maintain body temperature with saline plasma I.V. or other means
  29. Communicate with patient about his/her condition and rescue activities taking place.
  30. Plan ahead for removal of patient from the grain bin.
  31.  Stay calm, be patient and don’t give up.  There have been situations where victims have survived complete burial in grain for up to two hours.
Crushed roof

How Do Deductibles Work?

390 0 11 Sep 2018

How Do Deductibles Work?

Deductible: that is the amount of money you pay first on any covered property loss before the insurance company pays a claim. You do not have to use the same deductible amount across all property sections of your farmowner’s insurance policy.

You could have a smaller deductible on your home while receiving a premium discount for the use of a higher deductible on higher value buildings. Also your specific scheduled farm personal property could have a different deductible than your blanket farm personal property coverage.

Watch the language in your farmowners insurance policy as to how the insurance company applies the deductible. The deductible could be applied on a per item, per section or per occurrence basis.

Let us take an example where we have experienced a large windstorm. We have damage to the roofing of our home, the roofing on two buildings and a grain auger has blown down.

Under a per occurrence deductible you would pay only one deductible because the windstorm is the one occurrence.

Under a per section deductible you would pay three deductibles, one on your home, one under the building section and one under the farm personal property section for the grain auger.
Under a per item deductible you would pay four deductibles, one on your home, two for each of the buildings and one for the grain auger.

(Excerpt from Mike’s book The Ultimate Guide To Simplifying Your Farm Insurance)

Farm Picture

The Foundation of your Insurance Program

1k 0 11 Sep 2018

The Foundation of your Insurance Program

A good starting point and foundation for building an insurance program for our farms and families is to understand your farmowners policy. Generally the farmowners policy has four parts, or four sections of coverage protection.

  1. A section for our homes, personal property, and other dwellings.
  2. A section for farm barns and other structures.
  3. A section for our farm personal property, machinery and equipment, supplies and other inventory.
  4. A section for our liability protection both personal as well as for our farms.

Before we can make any decisions about your business, you must understand Perils and Valuation. These terms are used in the first three sections of your policy.

A. Perils:

They are the causes of loss or the things that could cause physical damage to our property. Generally there are three groups of perils or causes of loss that you can choose insurance coverage for.

Yes, not everything in life is covered by insurance. All insurance policies are going to have exclusions and exceptions. Make sure you read your policy for a full understanding. Here are a few common exclusions and exceptions, but by no means a complete list.

  • Civil Authority- If a government agency comes along and says “hey, you have to move that barn, we are going to build a new highway.” not an insurance claim.
  • Earth movement- earthquakes, landslides are not covered. Also, shifting of Earth around your basement that causes the basement wall to crack not covered.
  • Intentional acts or neglect, wear & tear-you just cannot neglect your property and expect long-term damage and deterioration to be covered by insurance.
  • Ordinance or law- we do not cover or pay for loss or the increased cost which results from the enforcement of the code, ordinance or law.
  • Water damage- this includes water from flood, surface water, waves, water backed up from drains, sewers, sump, and water below the ground surface.

B. Valuation:

It is what insurance companies pay for the claim or loss to certain covered property. Here are four value definitions commonly used and found in farmowners policies.

• Replacement cost:
This pays the actual amount to replace or repair the damaged property at the time of loss with materials of like kind and quality without a deduction for depreciation.

Most insurance companies use a formula taking into account the age of a home or building, types of materials used in construction, quality of materials used in construction, the area you live in based on ZIP Code, as well as any other special or unique features. They will determine a replacement cost per square foot and then multiply it by the total size of the home or building and that will equal the home or buildings full replacement cost.

Example: after an examination of the home or building and completion of a replacement cost estimator it is determined that the per square foot replacement cost equals $150. The home that we are looking at is a 1800 sq.ft. one and a half story split-level home.

$150 / sq.ft. replacement cost X 1800 sq.ft. = $270,000 replacement cost.

To have replacement cost coverage on this home in your farmowners insurance policy will require you to ensure a percentage of this final calculation. The insurance company requirement could be 80%, 90% or a full hundred percent of this final calculation. The best way to know what your replacement cost value on your home is, is to have a qualified building contractor calculate the exact cost to replace your home or a farm building in the event of a total loss due to damage by fire.

• Actual Cash Value:
This pays the cost to replace or repair the covered property with a calculation to reflect depreciation.
Let us use the same home from our previous example. We have our home’s replacement cost estimated at $270,000. We choose to ensure it at an actual Cash value for $140,000. We then experience a windstorm that damages a good portion of the roof. We get an estimate from a contractor to fix the roof and the estimate is for $40,000. The roof is 12 years old. The insurance company uses a 3% per year depreciation factor. The calculation would look like this:

$ 40,000 estimate for repair to roof damaged by wind
-$ 4,000 depreciation factor, 3% per year X 12 years old
$ 25,000 actual cash value settlement of claim before policy deductible.

• Functional Replacement Cost:
This is special policy language most commonly used in the section for farm barns and other structures.
It allows us to insure a barn and have coverage when we do not want to have 100% of the true replacement cost but actual cash value with depreciation is not enough.
Think of an older post and beam barn that is still in good shape and still in use for storage of equipment or supplies or even horses or livestock. The true replacement cost value on a barn of post and beam construction is so high no one would insure it for that value. Now it is in good shape and we want to replace it without a large deduction for depreciation due to its age. We can take the needed square footage x the replacement cost of a more modern pole barn = functional replacement cost.

Utility value:
Again this might be used on older barns and structures. It is used when the actual cash value of the barn with depreciation is higher than the value of the barn’s use.
When using utility value we are most concerned with getting something from our insurance coverage for a total loss. On a partial loss, as in our wind damaged roof example we would receive little compared to its repair cost. Also, utility value insurance rates will be higher than actual cash value insurance rates. A good comparison of coverage value versus premium cost between utility value and actual cash value will help us make the right decision.

(Excerpt from The Ultimate Guide To Simplifying Your Farm Insurance by Mike Southcott)

Spill Kit

What Stinks?

275 0 08 Aug 2018

Animal waste, farm pesticides, herbicides and farm fertilizers are a vital practice in many farm operations to sustain their businesses.

The need for pollution liability insurance is evident for farms whose business involves the application, transport and storage necessary for farm operations.

Many pollution liability policies built in your Farmowner policy will have some of the following reading.

The discharge, dispersal, seepage, migration, release, or escape must be instantaneous and take place at a specific time, place and date during a single 12 month policy period, and result in “bodily injury” or “property damage” within 180 days of the date of the discharge, release, or escape. The most “we” will pay for each “occurrences” regardless of the number of policy periods is $25,000.

The exclusion relating to any loss, cost or expense arising out of testing for, monitoring, cleaning up, removing, containing, treating, detoxifying, neutralizing, or in any way responding to or assessing the effects of a claim covered. Losses, costs and expenses must result from a loss away from the “insured premises” and the most  “we “ will pay for the total loss is $25,000 regardless of the number of losses or “occurrences”

Agriculture today is vulnerable to many situations where a pollution issue could happen. Chemical storage buildings could have a fire; a manure lagoon could over flow after extreme rain fall and run off to a