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Insurance Basics for starting a new Business in Shawano County

Posted on November 17, 2017 in insurance 101, Products, Shawano - 0 comments -

Insurance Basics for starting a new business in Shawano County

If you have or are Planning on starting a new business in Shawano we would like to offer the following basics as a guide for you.  Small businesses are the lifeblood of America and we are behind you 100%.  Shawano businesses are among some of the most unique and vibrant I have seen throughout the state of Wisconsin.  Below are some basic business insurance terms to get you through the planning process and well on your way to success.

General Liability Insurance (GL)

Whether you are a business in a strip mall renting space or a home-based business you need liability insurance.  Your home policy will specifically exclude these business risks as they are not designed to cover that.  General Liability policies provide defense and damages that may arise if you, your employees or your product or services cause bodily injury or property damage to someone.

Property Insurance

If you purchase a building for your business Property Insurance will cover that building.  Property insurance will also cover you “Business Personal Property” inside the Building even if you rent the space.  Business Personal Property would include office equipment like copiers and computers, tools you would use on and off premise (away from your building), inventory or stock and general items like coffee makers and Televisions.  The Property Policy will protect you from fire, vandalism, theft, smoke damage etc…

Business Owner Policies and Package Policies

Business Owners Policies or “BOP” as they are more commonly known packages all required coverages in one policy.  A BOP will often include “Business Interruption Coverage”, “Property Coverage”, “Vehicle Coverage”, Liability Insurance and Crime Coverage.  A BOP can be Taylor fitted for your own unique business with coverages added or excluded per your discretion.  These Businessowner policies may even be rated lower than a typical Package policy because they bundle services at a lower cost.

Commercial Auto Insurance

Commercial or Business Automobile policies protect your company’s vehicles.  This includes vehicles that carry your employees, products or equipment.  Many take out Commercial Auto policies for ride-sharing gigs through services such as Uber and Lyft.  Commercial Auto policies cover risks that normal Personal Auto policies exclude.  This will in many cases include ride sharing or driving while “on the clock” if you are in outside sales, food delivery or transport (livery).  Some Businesses will require their employees to use their own vehicle for work.  “Non-Owned Vehicle Coverage” can cover this and may even be added right to the BOP Policy.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation or “Work Comp” provide insurance to employees who are injured on the job.  Work Comp replaces wages lost while recovering from an injury and medical bills incurred due to that injury.  In exchange for these important benefits the employee relinquishes the right to sue their employer for this incident.  This is an obvious benefit the the employer as well in order to maintain their business operations after an injury.  State laws vary, but most require you to have Workers Compensation policies in place if you have W2 employees.  Wisconsin’s Workers Compensation Guide will outline our state’s laws.  If you have questions about your own business please give us a call or consult your legal counsel.  Penalties for non-compliance are very stiff!

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional Liability Insurance or Errors and Omissions Insurance provide defense and damages for failure or improperly rendering professional services.  Your general liability “GL” policy does not provide this protection.  Professional Liability coverage is applicable for any professional firm including Consultants, Accountants, Lawyers, Notaries, Real Estate Agents, Insurance Agents or Technology providers to name a few..

Data Breach Coverage

If you are in the business of storing “private”, Sensitive or non-public data for your clients, customers or employees on your servers or on other office equipment you are responsible for protecting that data.  If a breach occurs either electronically or in paper form a data breach policy will protect from that loss.  It can offer defense for the incident and help your clients recover their Identities in some cases.

Life Insurance

Most people don’t like to think about life insurance let alone purchase it.  Most people understand the importance of a life insurance policy for their loved ones.  Life insurance provides a financial benefit after you die.  Let’s put that into the direct context of your business’s operations.  If you unexpectedly die do you expect your business to continue to operate and your employees to continue to have a job?  If you unexpectedly die how many people will it take to replace you in your daily job duties?  Many small business owners wear many hats and hiring those services can be daunting after the initial shock wears off.  Life insurance can be purchased by your company to at least fill the financial void your death would create.  Life insurance can also be used to fund a buy-sell to pass on the ownership of your business in a non-disruptive manner.

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distracted driving leading to higher premiums

Posted on June 27, 2017 in insurance 101 - 0 comments -

stop texting and drivingDistracted Driving is now leading to higher premiums in Auto Insurance

 

Distracted driving, we’ve all seen it.  Sitting at a stop light or driving down the highway people cannot stand to be out of the loop for  even a minute.  Distracted driving isnt a new phenomenon but it has increased with the emergence of smartphones.  Messing with the radio or eating and drinking while driving have been problems for years.  We could blame drive-thrus or musicians but we could probably just use common sense and avoid the whole problem entirely.

The Law

Wisconsin Law is clear when it comes to distracted driving.  Texting is always prohibited for any wisconsin driver.  Using a hand-held device while driving through a work zone is prohibited for any wisconsin driver.  Using any hand-held device is prohibited for ALL probationary licensed driver.  The penalties for violating these laws are very steep!  It could lead to large fines or loss of license.  Is sending that text really worth the risk?  Not just the risk of fine but loss of life or injury to you or others?  We would all say no but we need to remind ourselves more often because the accidents keep occuring and the tickets keep going out.

The Stats

According to the Zero in Wisconsin website,  “If a driver is going 55 miles per hour and gets distracted for less than 5 seconds, they’ve traveled the length of an entire football field without paying attention.”  How long does it take Aaron Rodgers to drive the entire field?  Longer.  According to available statistics, In 2015, there were 24,089 car crashes related to distracted driving in Wisconsin.  That is one in five crashes!

Helpful Tips

Simply Turn off your phone or run silent while driving.  You may even think about doing this as a passenger.  Distractions come from all around the vehicle.  We have so many more obsticles on Wisconsin roadways like Deer and Other Drivers, lets take phones out of that equation!  Pull over and stop in a safe area if you must use your cell phone.  Its actually pretty easy to do this, if the message is that important give your recipient you full and undivided attention from a rest stop or parkinglot and let them know you did this, they will appreciate it!

Insurance Carriers and Claims Personelle see these horrible situations far to often which is why many of them are not even answering their phone wierelessly as they drive.  They even have vopicemail indicating why they did not answer.  Its a great concept.  Lets all keep our eyes on the road and keep each other safe!

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Moving to Shawano a handy guide

Posted on June 26, 2017 in Shawano, Wisconsin - 0 comments -

Beautiful Wolf RiverAre you moving to shawano soon?

Congratulations on a great decision in moving to Shawano in the first place.  Shawano is a great place to raise a family.  With our numerous recreation options and low crime Shawano has been a prime city to live in for Wisconsinites looking to get away from the city.  We would love to make the transition to shawano that much easier.  Below are some resources to get you started.  Whether you are buying or renting in Shawano there are so many options right in the city.  We have downtown, rural, wooded and waterfront properties in both categories.

As a transplant to Shawano myself I can tell you that I have not second guessed my decision once to relocate.  Moving from a different state or even anywhere nearby can be a daunting task if you have no idea where to go.  Of course, the internet has made that a bit easier but I will try to give you some tips.

First lets work on proper pronunciation!

Shaw-no

Great!  That’s the hardest part.  Now you’re ready to surf!

Realtors

We have some amazing local realtors who are knowledgeable in both buying and renting.  I would suggest checking Hilgenberg Realty or Hometown Realty.  If you like to check more than two places for properties you can go to the realtor section on our chamber page or sites like Zillow or Realtor.com.

Insurance

We can help you there and you can get most of that started right online.  It will only take you ten minutes and you will get real numbers right away.  Of course this wouldn’t be a very good moving to Shawano guide if I only offered you one choice so here is the link to the chamber listing for Insurance in Shawano.

Hotels

You’ll want to visit here and unless you know someone personally you will need a place to stay.  Shawano can oblige happily.  Check out the beautifully redesigned Four Seasons Hotel or if you want to stay on the highway Boarders Inn is a great spot.  Pro tip: There are numerous eateries near the Four Seasons.  Of course you can also check out the chambers hotel listing.  I do not work for the Chamber, really.

Let’s pause and work on pronouncing Shawano correctly again.  It’s fun!

Shaw-no.

That was amazing.  Have you lived here all your life??

Here are some final tips.  Drive around the lake.  It will take you about a half hour but is beautiful.  There are some great places to eat as well.  The Chamber, which I do not work at, is right on Main Street if you need some brochures.  Their info Center is open 24 hours.  Make sure to check out our annual Sundrop Dayz or the Sundrop museum if you have some time.  Pro tip: Sundrop is available pretty much anywhere here.  I was from Illinois and let’s just say I was stuck with lesser options until i moved to Shawano.   That reminds me stop by and see me if you are in town.  I can personally answer any questions you may have.  We also have a Sundrop machine right in the insurance agency.

The Wallrich Agency Sundrop MachineI can’t wait for you to move here.  It really is a great town.  See you soon!  I will provide some more category Links below for your convenience.

Shawano Fitness Centers

Shawano Storage Centers

Shawano Landscape Companies

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Shawano Wisconsin Storm Warning System for Severe Weather

Posted on May 19, 2017 in insurance 101, Shawano - 0 comments -

Shawano Wisconsin Storm Warning System

For Severe Weather

Photo By: Lee Pulaski

Spring Storms and Severe Weather are upon us in the Shawano area.  The bad news is that property damage will occur.  The good news is that we have technology to help us be prepared as ever.  With apps on our phones and 24/7 media we can get ahead of storms and take measures to secure our property while staying safe.

Shawano County has implimented the CodeRED Weather Warning system.  As outlines by the Shawano Leader you can sign up on this website to get alerts about Severe weather.  This could give you and your family extra time to protect your property and get to safety.

If you have any questions as to how your home is covered in the event severe weather damages your property you can read about it here or give us a call locally at 715-526-2156.  We insure property all over the state and around Shawano County so we see more storm damage than most.  Wind has been a major contributing factor to some home rates increasing.  Over the last five years we generally have more wind losses than neighboring states.

We would be happy to help put your mind at ease so you can enjoy your Spring when the sun is out.

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What factors go into an auto insurance premium

Posted on June 19, 2015 in insurance 101 - 0 comments -

The main factors in an auto insurance premium

One of the most misunderstood facets of insurance are how an auto policy is rated.  There are many insurance mysteries but not everyone needs to take out a Workmans Comp policy or get a personal disability policy – everyone who drives is required to carry auto insurance.  I get questions all the time like, “if my car is a year older why did its premium increase?” or, “why did my insurance premium go way up just because I moved to Milwaukee?”.  These are all great questions and stem from the fact that Vehicle make and model are only a tiny part of how your auto insurance premium is determined.

There was a time when an insurance agent took out a slide rule to rate your policy and it had vehicle type and date of birth.  Then we added sex, zip code, coverage options, claim experience, driving record and even credit to the equation.  It gets complicated which is why commercials flat out telling you you “COULD” save 15% is just purely a slogan – there is no way to know.  One great reason to have an indie-agent like us is that we inherently understand all these factors as they apply to your situation and have several companies that we can shop in order to get you the best rate.  We also understand that some insurance companies prefer younger drivers, some prefer older drivers and some specialize in classic cars.  Its in our heads already, why not put that to work for you.

Your garaging location

Your garaging location is one of the main base factors in how your auto insurance premium is determined.  This is where the insurance company adds in all their claim experience data.  If there are more theft claims in a specific city you will see your comprehensive rate increase.  But, if you live in the city you may also drive less, so you may also see your liability rate is less then if you live in a suburb like Howard or Grand Chute.  In our county, Shawano, we see more deer claims than any other county so we pay more for comprehensive coverage.  Garaging location is a big factor in auto insurance.

Your driving record

Your driving record is an obvious factor.  Why should someone with no tickets pay the same for insurance as a person who has three speeding tickets.  Insurance companies typically charge for accident and violations for three years.  We also have companies that are offering accident and violation forgiveness.  This is a coverage you pay a premium for, up front, and if you are involved in an incident it will be overlooked.  I typically recommend this coverage for someone about to add a new driver to their policy.

Your Vehicle Type

Your vehicle type is another big rating factor for auto insurance.  Items like horsepower and vehicle type as well as statistics like how many Dodge Caravans get into accidents all play into this rate.  Safety features, speed and the ability to easily buy repair parts are also things insurance companies consider when rating your car.  They also know how likely a medical bill will creep up if you are involved in an accident.  If you are in a large pickup truck you might be less likely to sustain certain injuries than if you were driving say a tiny sports car.

Your credit level (insurance score)

Insurance companies call it an insurance score but lets be real, its your credit rating.  While a few states have banned this rating factor insurance companies are convinced year after year that they can better determine what type of driver you are based on that credit score.  When you look at your policy you will likely see a discount for “good credit”.  Some companies offer a 0-50% discount based on your credit score.  You can always check your credit score online but its important to understand that this doesn’t easily correlate to your insurance rate.  Your score gets matched to a discount or credit level and usually the agent or company employee has no clue what your actual FICO score is.  This enhances privacy but often further mystifies the credit factor in your Insurance Premium.

Your age

Your age is a large rating factor.  Younger people often pay more for auto insurance then around your mid twenties rates level out.  What people don’t anticipate is that rate creeping back up after the age of 50 or 60.  This isn’t because the company feels older individuals drive horribly – or younger individuals for that matter…  It is all based on the company’s statistics with how many claim they see from drivers in that age group.  They adjust the rate accordingly.

New Factors

With all of the above factors you may be asking yourself – why isn’t my actual driving the main factor.  The answer is, up until recently we haven’t been able to plop an agent or company rep in your vehicle for enough time to understand how you operate your conveyance.  Now we have telematic devices that determine how you drive and give you a discount (or surcharge) accordingly.  Wish granted =) Of course, this too adds complexity and further mystifies your auto insurance rate.

I hope we have described some of the biggest rating factors.  We encourage you to give us a call or stop in.  Let us explain all this and put our knowledge to work for you.

Demystify Car Insurance

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Shawano Summers bring Shawano Tourists

Posted on June 12, 2015 in Shawano, Wisconsin - 0 comments -

Shawano Summers bring Shawano Tourists

Lake Sunset

W Shawano Lake Sunset

We have some of Wisconsin’s most beautiful scenery in Shawano.  As year-long residents we get to enjoy our lake, forests and country roads year round but we don’t keep them to ourselves.  More than half of our local economy depends on the fine folks that like to catch a glimpse at our wonderful natural resources.  Some come to boat on the glassy surface of Shawano Lake.  Some stay at any number of our beautiful lake-side cabins and resorts.  Some just like to browse our Main Street shopping district.  Any resident of a community like ours knows that comes with traffic and an even slower pace than what we have come to enjoy.

When I first moved here from a city I immediately noticed that you drive different in Shawano.  You dont hit the gas as hard and you sometimes cruise under the limit on Green Bay Street.  Sometimes you just aren’t going to pass that slower vehicle on 22 heading to Cecil.  I learned fast just to chill out – if I hadn’t I would be a participant in many more parking-lot and street accidents especially on the weekends.  This revelation was only made possible because I was used to city driving.

Light turns green HIT THE GAS!  Light turns yellow HIT THE GAS!  In a bustling city it takes you forever to get to the grocery store so the urgency is bred into us.  Here I know it only takes five to six minutes, heck I could probably drive around the lake in less than 40 minutes without traffic.  I have grown accustomed to the pace, now when I go back to the city, I cannot stand driving.

We have to give our visiting guests some understanding.  Not only are they used to a faster traffic pace but here in Shawano they are constantly bombarded with beauty out their side window.  Looking at the lake or checking out the speedway dust on a Saturday Night.  We have to treat our guests with respect and cut them some slack.

Next time you have someone honk the horn behind you or rush past you at Charlie’s County Market just do that thing I have grown to love so much about Shawano….wave and smile =)

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wisconsin insurance law changes

Posted on April 9, 2015 in insurance 101 - 0 comments -

gavel gavelWisconsin Insurance Law Changes

updated June 27, 2017

There have been a couple law changes in Wisconsin this past decade which dramatically impacted insurance coverages and rates. We include a very brief summary of the two most pivotal law changes impacting Wisconsin Auto Insurance Consumers.

2015 Ride-sharing Law

The legislature signed into law requirements for companies like Uber and Lyft to be held to statewide standards.  A minimum liability limit of $1,000,000 must be retained by the company on any of their drivers.  It is important to remember this insurance only covers the driver as they are transporting a customer.  That driver’s personal liability will cover them under normal operations for personal use.  A coverage gap will exist for that driver between the time they are “on the clock” but riderless and the time they pick up a rider.  They must obtain a gap coverage endorsement which is avaialble through many companies OR a commercial policy which would be prudent.

2011 Act 14

This Assembly bill essentially rolled back many of the changes from 2009’s Act 28 but left in place mandatory insurance coverage.  The entire summary of that bill is here.

For other Wisconsin insurance law changes please visit the OCI site’s laws, rules and bulletins.

2009 Act 28

  • Wisconsin Drivers must have active Auto insurance coverage when operating a vehicle.
  • Wisconsin Drivers must carry valid proof of that active coverage
  • The minimum liability limits for insurance companies issuing policies in Wisconsin shall be $100,000 per person bodily injury, $300,000 per accident bodily injury and $100,000 property damage.
  • Minimum uninsured and underinsured liability limits for insurance companies issuing policies in Wisconsin shall be $100,000 per person bodily injury, $300,000.
  • Medical payments coverage has increased to the amount of at least $10,000

There are additional changes including the stacking provision.  The entire summary of that bill is here.

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Boat insurance to keep you above water

Posted on April 9, 2015 in Products - 0 comments -

Stay afloat with Boat Insurance from the Wallrich Agency

The Wallrich Agency provides affordable boat insurance coverage options for recreational boaters in Wisconsin. Low-cost policies, available for most boat types, are available through our top national carriers like Progressive and Nationwide insurance. Find the right policy for your boating lifestyle.

Stand Alone policies for your boat

Many agents will slap your beautiful watercraft right on a homeowners policy.  There are two problems with this.  The first, if you have a boat claim it is technically classified as a “home claim” which can cause your homeowners rate to go up and lock you out of many preferred programs.  The second reason is your coverage will not be adequate for the modern boater.  Our stand-alone policies come with plenty of options for specialized coverage, such as Roadside Assistance, Towing, Total Replacement, and more.

Coverages you may not know about:

Don’t wait until you have a claim to learn about special coverages.  On-Water Towing is a popular coverage which will help you in case you’re stranded on the water.  You may also want to have Uninsured Boaters coverage because not everyone zooming past you will have insurance. You can also choose Fuel Spill Liability and Wreckage Removal coverage. Without these watercraft insurance coverages, you may end up getting stuck with the bill for cleanups and removals. Personal Effects and Fishing Equipment coverages are also available with our carriers.

No matter what propels your watercraft be it wind, inboard, outboard or jet we can cover it at the Wallrich Agency.  Contact us today.

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hit the highway with motorcycle insurance

Posted on April 9, 2015 in Products - 0 comments -

Hit the Highway with Motorcycle Insurance from the Wallrich Agency

Count on the Wallrich Agency for quality motorcycle insurance coverage from top insurers like Nationwide, Dairyland and Progressive with great, low insurance rates.

Low Motorcycle Insurance Rates

The Wallrich Agency covers a wide range of motorcycles including standard bikes, cruisers, sport / high performance motorcycles, off-road vehicles and more.

The Wallrich Agency also offers motorcycle insurance packages, and the best motorcycle insurance discounts including OEM Parts and Multi-Policy discounts to your auto and home insurance policies. We also didnt forget scooters and mopeds, ATVs, UTVs & Off-road vehicles, and off-road motorcycles & dirt bikes.

Custom Parts – covered properly

Some policies require you to add coverage for your custom parts and equipment.  The bike you carefully choose and outfit needs to be protected fully – this includes all your accessories.  All the policies we sell come with two to three thousand dollars of custom parts coverage.  Many agents will fail to explain this but it can become a huge problem if you bike is stolen for instance.  Coverage over the minimum amount is very inexpensive.

Year-round coverage

We live in Wisconsin so we understand you only get half a year to enjoy your motorcycle.  Many riders will take out policies to cover their bikes during the riding season then remove the coverage in the Winter to reduce their costs.  There are two problems with this: The first, You may get excited to get that motorcycle out of the garage on the first day of Spring and not have insurance coverage in place.  What’s worse, you don’t have coverage for your bike while it is in storage.  The second problem, insurance carriers will sometimes rate you higher if you do not have continuous coverage.  Our solution is simple, we only sell policies from companies that understand our climate.  They have tweaked their rates to account for those months you do not ride.  Some build it into the rates and some give you a seasonal discount.  The best part about having a flexible annual policy is when the sun comes out you can hit the road worry-free.

 

With hassle-free service and great low rates for motorcycle insurance, you’ll have no worries about having the right insurance coverage for your motorcycle or ATV/Off-Road vehicle.  Contact us today for a quote or to get coverage started!

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hometown insurance expert

Posted on February 18, 2015 in insurance 101 - 0 comments -

Hometown of Shawano WI

We Love our hometown of Shawano Wisconsin

From our main street festivals like Holiday Stroll and Octoberfest to our Shawano County Fair we feel very lucky to have a business in Shawano.

As your Hometown insurance leader we are always searching for better products to bring you.  With the vast amount of insurance products on TV and, well, everywhere – you might ask yourself why buying insurance in shawano is the best option.  The answer is simple.  Because we live here we understand which companies will value your business and which companies are simply targeting our area.  We dont want to sell you a car insurance policy for instance and have the rate double in the course of 2 or 3 years.  That doesnt make sense to us.  We also don’t want to sell you a homeowners insurance policy just to watch the company leave the state.  We chose stable companies who will value your business.

Many times you will see a car with an insurance company logo painted on it.  They do this because you see their presence in your hometown.  That doesn’t mean they have invested anything in the community or are sponsoring any local events – theyre just driving through.  We are here with you and so we want to represent companies that are here too, that is why we represent some great Wisconsin insurance companies like Secura and Germantown.

From the Wolf River to Shawano lake we understand our hometown insurance market and strive to protect it with great insurance.

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