Jacksonville, Fla. votes Brightway Best Home and Auto Insurance Agency

Brightway Insurance has been named Best Home Insurance Agency and Best Auto Insurance Agency by the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville’s hometown, daily newspaper.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Jacksonville-based Brightway Insurance, a national property/casualty insurance retailer selling through a network of franchised independent agencies throughout the country, has been named Best Home Insurance Agency and Best Auto Insurance Agency by the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville’s hometown, daily newspaper.

The newspaper held a contest where readers nominated their favorite local businesses for the Bold City Best awards and featured winners in a special section in the Sept. 24, Sunday paper.

“Brightway offers expert counsel, more choice of insurance brands and world-class service from a recognized brand name, ensuring you and your family are totally protected,” said Michael Miller. “We’re thrilled that consumers in Jacksonville, which is where the company got its start, value the services we offer and voted us the No. 1 Agency for Home and Auto Insurance. Thank you, Jacksonville.”

With 27 stores in Northeast Florida (Duval, St. Johns, Clay and Nassau counties), consumers in Northeast Florida are sure to find a local Brightway Agent who can help you find the best coverage for your home, apartment, car, boat, motorcycle and much more. Brightway agencies also offer Umbrella insurance. 

Brightway began franchising operations in 2008 and is now one of the largest property and casualty agencies in the United States with more than 750 people in 17 states. Nearly 240 people work at Brightway’s Home Office in Jacksonville, and more than 140 people have realized their dream of business ownership through Brightway. Click here to learn more about becoming a Brightway Franchise Owner.

Brightway is currently recruiting for its next training class slated to begin Monday, Nov. 6. Click here to learn about career opportunities at Brightway.

About Brightway Insurance
Brightway Insurance is a national property/casualty insurance retailer selling through a network of franchised independent stores throughout the country. With more than $479 million in annualized written premium, the company is one of the largest property and casualty agencies in the United States.

Brightway began franchising operations in 2008 and has since grown to more than 700 people in 17 states serving customers in all 50 states. Forbes has recognized the company as America’s No. 1 Franchise to Buy. Additionally, the company was named a top franchise three years in a row by Entrepreneur magazine and one of the fastest-growing private companies in America nine consecutive years by Inc. 5000. People wishing to learn more about franchise ownership with Brightway may visit BrightwayDifference.com and find us on LinkedIn. Consumers seeking a better insurance buying experience may visit Brightway.com and find us on Facebook.

Attachments:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/92f0627e-51af-41f3-92f7-d6116515fea4

Attachments:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/d58a7ca8-2c80-47c1-aa0c-b1c6ee5a9c12

Courtney Heidelberg
Brightway Insurance
904-405-1883
courtney.heidelberg@brightway.com

Coles and Woolies come out on top in low cost home insurance awards

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Article by Kelly Emmerton

Mozo’s recent Experts Choice Home Insurance Awards have revealed that when it comes to low cost home insurance our major supermarkets are holding their own, with Coles and Woolies taking out two top gongs apiece.

Coles and Woolies come out on top in low cost home insurance awards

Renters on a tight budget might like the look of a Coles insurance policy, after it picked up an award for Low Cost Contents Insurance. It also won for Exceptional Value Home Building Insurance, for those property owners who want a step up in coverage, while keeping premiums affordable.

Woolworths took out awards for both Low Cost Home and Contents and Low Cost Building Insurance, making it a good pick for homeowners looking to insure their home and everything in it, without breaking the bank.

Mozo Data Manager Peter Marshall said the Award results showed that Coles and Woolworths are living up to their promise of budget-friendly financial products.

“When it comes to insurance, Coles and Woolies have both built their brands on the idea of being “cheap and cheerful” – good for the everyday Aussie – and now we’re seeing the numbers back that up. Supermarket insurance is effectively putting its money where its mouth is,” he said.

In the Exceptional Value category, where Coles’ Home Building Insurance was a winner, Mozo’s experts compared 35 home insurers to identify the best-priced policies for the features on offer.

“For these Awards, we ran the numbers in over 19,000 possible home insurance scenarios to work out which products would be the cheapest while still meeting a given level of cover,” explained Marshall.

The Low Cost category, which three out of four of the supermarket insurance wins fell under, is designed to recognise the most price-conscious policies.

“When it comes to buying insurance, it really is a personal choice in terms of how much cover you need and how much you’re willing to pay for it,” said Marshall.

“Our Experts Choice Awards were split into different categories to help people find the right policy for their needs. And if you’re after cost-effective coverage, turning to your local Coles or Woolies may be the right choice.”

If you’re in the market for a home insurance policy, head over to take a look at the complete list of Experts Choice Home Insurance winners and pick out a policy that suits your needs.

Jacksonville, Fla. votes Brightway Best Home and Auto Insurance Agency- Florida Times-Union reader poll ranks Jacksonville-based franchise company No. 1 in two categories. –

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Jacksonville-based Brightway Insurance, a national property/casualty insurance retailer selling through a network of franchised independent agencies throughout the country, has been named Best Home Insurance Agency and Best Auto Insurance Agency by the Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville’s hometown, daily newspaper.

The newspaper held a contest where readers nominated their favorite local businesses for the Bold City Best awards and featured winners in a special section in the Sept. 24, Sunday paper.

“Brightway offers expert counsel, more choice of insurance brands and world-class service from a recognized brand name, ensuring you and your family are totally protected,” said Michael Miller. “We’re thrilled that consumers in Jacksonville, which is where the company got its start, value the services we offer and voted us the No. 1 Agency for Home and Auto Insurance. Thank you, Jacksonville.”

With 27 stores in Northeast Florida (Duval, St. Johns, Clay and Nassau counties), consumers in Northeast Florida are sure to find a local Brightway Agent who can help you find the best coverage for your home, apartment, car, boat, motorcycle and much more. Brightway agencies also offer Umbrella insurance. 

Brightway began franchising operations in 2008 and is now one of the largest property and casualty agencies in the United States with more than 750 people in 17 states. Nearly 240 people work at Brightway’s Home Office in Jacksonville, and more than 140 people have realized their dream of business ownership through Brightway. Click here to learn more about becoming a Brightway Franchise Owner.

Brightway is currently recruiting for its next training class slated to begin Monday, Nov. 6. Click here to learn about career opportunities at Brightway.

About Brightway Insurance
Brightway Insurance is a national property/casualty insurance retailer selling through a network of franchised independent stores throughout the country. With more than $479 million in annualized written premium, the company is one of the largest property and casualty agencies in the United States.

Brightway began franchising operations in 2008 and has since grown to more than 700 people in 17 states serving customers in all 50 states. Forbes has recognized the company as America’s No. 1 Franchise to Buy. Additionally, the company was named a top franchise three years in a row by Entrepreneur magazine and one of the fastest-growing private companies in America nine consecutive years by Inc. 5000. People wishing to learn more about franchise ownership with Brightway may visit BrightwayDifference.com and find us on LinkedIn. Consumers seeking a better insurance buying experience may visit Brightway.com and find us on Facebook.

Attachments:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/92f0627e-51af-41f3-92f7-d6116515fea4

Attachments:

What Is PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance)?

What Is PMI Private Mortgage Insurance?

You know you need to pay homeowner’s insurance when you purchase a home. And for good reason: that policy protects you should anything unexpected happen to your property.

As expensive as homes can be to keep, maintain, and repair, the right home insurance is a great investment in your long-term financial security. If something goes wrong, you won’t be on the hook for 100% of the cost that it takes to put everything back in place.

But there’s another type of insurance on your home that you may not know about — and it’s not quite as helpful to you as homeowner’s insurance.

It’s called private mortgage insurance, or PMI. As the name suggests, this insurance applies to your mortgage.

The Purpose of PMI

Whereas homeowner’s insurance protects you and your home, PMI protects your mortgage lender. Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you take out a mortgage with a lender. They decide to approve your request and agree to originate a loan for you. But you don’t have enough or a full 20% down payment on the home. To protect themselves in case you stop paying your mortgage or default entirely on your mortgage, the lender requires you to pay monthly for private mortgage insurance (PMI) on your loan. This insurance policy will pay out to the lender if you default on your loan.

That means the lender can recoup some or all of the money they let you borrow. But keep in mind this insurance does not protect you, the borrower. PMI is designed to protect the lender, and the lender is the one who requires it in cases where the borrower doesn’t have 20% down.

See how a home ownership investment can double your down payment.

But you’re on the hook for paying the premiums each month. It’s part of your monthly mortgage payment along with the principal and interest on your loan and homeowner’s insurance and property taxes.

When Do You Need to Pay PMI?

PMI is almost always required if you don’t have enough money to put 20% down on the home.

There is some good news: if you need PMI, you should know that you can likely remove the monthly PMI payments when you reach at least 20% equity in your home. At that point, you can call your lender and request PMI be taken off your mortgage.

How to Avoid Paying Private Mortgage Insurance

Private mortgage insurance can cost around $30-$70 per month for every $100,000 you borrow, That’s no small number and it’s an avoidable cost if you know the steps to take.

The first and most straightforward way to cut out PMI? Make a 20% down payment on the home you want to purchase.

This means you finance 80% of your home with a mortgage. Lenders see that as less risky than if you put down anything less, so don’t charge PMI to protect the money they let you borrow.

But 20% of a home’s purchase price can be a lot of cash. Many buyers simply don’t have this money on hand and available to put down when they take out a mortgage.

You could try getting a different type of mortgage to avoid the PMI if you don’t have 20% to put down. For example, an 80/10/10 mortgage or piggyback loan, allows you to take out a mortgage for 80% of the home’s cost. Then, you take out a second loan on top of the mortgage for 10% of the cost to combine with 10% you put down in cash. That’s where the “80/10/10” breakdown comes from.

This can help you avoid PMI, since the mortgage lender ends up receiving the full 20% down payment in cash (which is made of the money you got from the second loan and your own cash).

Piggyback loans are helpful if the interest and origination fees on that second loan are less than what you would pay in PMI each month.

Make sure you run the numbers in your specific situation to determine which way saves you the most: putting 10% down on your mortgage and paying PMI, or taking out a 80/10/10 mortgage and paying the additional loan origination fee plus interest on the second loan.

Learn how a home ownership investment makes it easier to buy a home.

Another way to avoid PMI is to ask your lender to pay for it. This is called Lender Paid Mortgage Insurance (LPMI) and it usually comes with a higher interest rate. While this sounds like an appealing option at first glance, there is a significant possibility that it could cost you more in the long run due to the higher interest rate.

Use a Home Ownership Investment to Avoid PMI

There’s also a third option to avoid PMI if you don’t have the full 20% of your home’s price in cash to use as a down payment and you don’t like the idea of getting a piggyback loan.

It’s something called a home ownership investment. Companies like Unison offer programs that allow you to receive cash for a down payment in return for a share of the future change in the home’s value. If you have enough for a 10% down payment, the company will contribute another 10% so you can put a full 20% down. The money provided is not debt. There are no monthly payments or interest charges. You can use the money for up to 30 years until you sell your home. Meanwhile, your monthly mortgage payments still go toward building your equity in the home.

Conclusion

Paying PMI may make sense depending on your situation. You can still buy a home with 10% down and include PMI in your budget for monthly mortgage payments. If the fee is manageable, you might prefer to pay it until you have at least 20% equity in your home rather than put off your dream to own a home.

But buying a home without incurring charges from PMI is possible — even if you don’t have 20% of your home’s purchase price to use as a down payment.

Explore all the options available to you, including different loan types and home ownership investment, to purchase your home even with a smaller down payment and still avoid PMI.

Posted-In: unisonEducation Personal Finance General Real Estate Best of Benzinga

On the market: Top 10 priciest and cheapest homes (photos)

It’s the nature of real estate’s seesaw. High-end homes take longer to sell than lower priced ones. That’s true, of course, if properties are priced right for the market.

Our monthly Bidding Wars series shows that lower-priced homes, which are affordable to more people and investors, often sell in a few days. Almost half of the residential transactions in this region go for more than their asking price, according to real estate database Estately.

In this week’s real estate gallery, we look at the top 10 priciest and cheapest homes in the Portland area and reveal the estimated monthly cost for mortgage principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance.

MOST EXPENSIVE HOMES FOR SALE

$74,403 a month: 1707 SW Schaeffer Road in West Linn is listed at $15 million, a price drop from $18 million when put on the market 470 days ago. Villa de l’or is set on 35.42 acres. The main house, built in 1996, has 14 bedrooms, 10 baths and 16,359 square feet ($971 a square foot) plus there’s a pool salon, wine vault building, producing vineyard, soccer fields, tennis court, home theater and gym. “A palatial paradise,” says listing agent Tina Wyszynski of Cascade Sotheby’s International Realty. Annual taxes are $123,605. With 20 percent down — $3 million — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $74,403.

$55,778 a month: 1500 Northshore Road in Lake Oswego is listed at $15 million. The custom house with basalt rock exterior, built in 2006 on 0.66 acres on Oswego main lake, has five bedrooms, 7.5 baths and 13,462 square feet ($1,114 a square foot) plus an elevator, full bar, media room, game room, workout rooms, covered outdoor entertaining spaces, infinity pool, two boat lifts with access from inside the home and two gated entries. The listing agent is Mary Jo Avery of Avery Bunick Luxury Properties, who says the property has it all. Annual taxes are $79,743. With 20 percent down — $3 million — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $55,778 a month.

$31,967 a month: A house in Northwest Portland just listed at $7 million. Annual taxes are $64,924. With 20 percent down — $1.4 million — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $31,967.

$33,121 a month: 1900 Twin Points Road in Lake Oswego is listed at $6,999,000. The pagoda-style house with a blue handmade ceramic tile roof was remodeled in 1973 on 2.19 waterfront acres. The main house has five bedrooms, four baths and 6,776 square feet ($1.033 a square foot). There is also a Robert Oshatz-designed studio-boathouse and Kurisu Japanese garden landscaping, says listing agent Terry Sprague of Luxe Platinum Properties. Annual taxes are $71,142. With 20 percent down —  $1.399,800 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $33,121.

$27,141 a month: 1527 Lake Front Road in Lake Oswego is listed at $5,985,000. The French Provincial estate, built in 1939 on 0.26 acres on on Oswego Lake, has five bedrooms, 6.5 baths and 7,220 square feet in the main house ($829 a square foot), including a separate, self-contained living quarters plus two offices, music room, wine cellar, bar, gym and indoor spa as well as a lakeside pool, outdoor kitchen and boat house, says listing agent Justin Harnish of Harnish Properties. Annual taxes are $43,979. With 20 percent down — $1,197,000 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $27,141.

$27,777 a month: 24140 SW Petes Mountain Road in West Linn is listed at $5.6 million. The Mediterranean riverfront estate, built in 2000 on 6.79 acres, has five bedrooms, eight baths and 10,115 square feet ($554 a square foot) plus a vineyard, says listing agent Mimi McCaslin of Luxe Platinum Properties. Annual taxes are $34,676. With 20 percent down — $1.12 million — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $27,777.

$25,545 a month: 26350 SW Petes Mountain Road in West Linn is listed at $5.15 million. The two-level custom estate, built in 2001 on 19.01 acres on the 18th hole of the Oregon Golf Club, has five bedrooms, seven baths and 9,910 square feet ($520 a square foot) plus outdoor kitchen, patio water feature, pond and hot tub, says listing agent is Jennifer Weinhart of Hasson Company. Annual taxes are $41,910. With 20 percent down — $1.03 million — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $25,545.

$23,128 a month: 4175 Southshore Blvd. in Lake Oswego is listed at $4,999,999. The Paul Marto custom house, built in 1996 on 0.59 lakefront acres, has four bedrooms, 4.5 baths and 6,332 square feet ($790 a square foot) plus a media room, and his and her offices, says listing agent Krista Britton of Hillshire Realty Group, Inc. Annual taxes are $44,418. With 20 percent down — $1 million — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $23,128.

$21,193 a month: 11000 SW Riverwood Road in Portland is listed at $4.9 million. The three-level contemporary house, built in 1991 on 0.71 acres, has three bedrooms, 3.5 baths and 7,249 square feet ($676 a square foot), says listing agent Mimi McCaslin of Luxe Platinum Properties. Annual taxes are $25,866. With 20 percent down — $980,000 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $21,193.

$21,337 a month: 1600 SW Greenwood Road in Portland is listed at $4.85 million. The Elliott Corbett Estate, built in 1916 on 1.77 acres, has six bedrooms, six baths and 9,007 square feet ($538 a square foot) plus a pool, gardens and outdoor terraces, says listing agent Mimi McCaslin of Luxe Platinum Properties. Annual taxes are $29,926. With 20 percent down —  $970,000 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $21,337.

LEAST EXPENSIVE HOMES FOR SALE

$496 a month: 23508 NW Saint Helens Road Unit S16 in Portland is listed at $100,000. The floating home, built in 1940, has one bedroom, one bath and 600 square feet ($167 a square foot), says the listing agent Lea Chitwood of RE/MAX Powerpros. Annual taxes are $1,030. With 20 percent down — $20,000 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $496, plus moorage fees.

$460 per month: 13775 SW Scholls Ferry Road #317 in Beaverton is listed at $89,900. The condo, built in 1996, has one bedroom, one bath and 565 square feet ($159 a square foot), says listing agent Lisa Werner of RE/MAX Equity Group. Annual taxes are $1,334. With 20 percent down — $17,980 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $1,005, including homeowner fees of $545.

$399 per month: 21100 NE Sandy Blvd #56 in Fairview is listed at $89,000. The manufactured home, built in 2014, has three bedrooms, two baths and 1,488 square feet ($60 a square foot), says the listing agent Sharon Alexander of RE/MAX Equity Group. Annual taxes are $640. With 20 percent down — $17,800 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $1,185, including space rent of $786.

$408 per month: 12450 SW Fischer Road in Tigard is listed at $87,500. The manufactured home, built in 1987, has three bedrooms, two baths and 1,344 square feet ($65 a square foot), says listing agent Diane Webster of America At Home Real Estate. Annual taxes are $689. With 20 percent down — $17,500 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $1,162, including space rent of $754.

$370 per month: 15155 SE Lala Dr #13 in Clackamas is listed at $85,000. The manufactured home, built in 1989, has three bedrooms, two baths and 1,450 square feet ($59 a square foot), says listing agent Connie Abell of JMA Properties. Annual taxes are $482. With 20 percent down — $17,000 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $1,033, including space rent of $663.

$357 per month: 3500 SE Concord Road in Milwaukie is listed at $84,500. The manufactured home, built in 1999, has three bedrooms, two baths and 1,296 square foot ($65 a square foot), says listing agent Marjorie Baker of McKenzie-Baker Properties. Annual taxes are $345. With 20 percent down — $16,900 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $945, including space rent of $588.

$372 per month: 23538 NW St Helens Road Unit S05 in Portland is listed at $75,000. The floating home, built in 1940, has one bedroom, one bath and 722 square feet ($104 a square foot), says listing agent John Wesley McPherson of Premiere Property Group. Annual taxes are $892. With 20 percent down —  $15,000 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $372, plus moorage fees.

$369 per month: 5200 SE 132nd Ave. in Portland is listed at $75,000. The manufactured home, built in 1998, has four bedrooms, two baths and 1,404 square feet ($53 a square foot). Financing is available through lenders like Vanderbilt and manufacturedhomeloans-Oregon.com, says listing agent Gail Worrell of John L. Scott NE Portland. Annual taxes are $931. With 20 percent down —  $15,000 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $369, plus space rent.

$335 a month: 27293 SW Melissa Place in Sherwood is listed at $68,000. The manufactured home, built in 2000, has three bedrooms, two baths 1,568 square feet ($43 a square foot), says its owner, who is selling the home. Annual taxes are $603. With 20 percent down — $13,600  — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $335, plus space rent.

$164 per month: 2980 NE Division St. #28 in Gresham is listed at $34,998. The manufactured home, built in 1997, has two bedrooms, one bath and 728 square feet ($48 a square foot), says listing agent Jay Russell of John L. Scott /PTL Metro. Annual taxes are $340. With 20 percent down —  $7,000 — the monthly cost for principal, interest, property taxes and home insurance is estimated to be $164, plus space rent.

— Janet Eastman

jeastman@oregonian.com
503-799-8739
@janeteastman

Direct Line, why has my home insurance gone up by 442% in one year? | Money

When Paul Barlow from south London opened his latest home insurance renewal quote from Direct Line, he was staggered by the increase in the premium. The year before the insurer had charged just £189 for his property: a ground-floor, two-bed flat he rents out in Bermondsey, near Tower Bridge. But this year it wanted £1,025 – an increase of 442%. When he rang, thinking it must be some sort of mistake, the representative said he was lucky because if he had been a new customer the insurer would have turned him down entirely.

Barlow’s home is not in some hell-hole location where burglary is rife; he has not been making large claims for subsidence or other matters that usually make insurers hike premiums. What Barlow has fallen victim to is a new flood-mapping tool used by Direct Line called geospatial analysis, which attempts to assess flood risk with pinpoint accuracy and could see huge premium increases for thousands of other homes, not just in the capital but all over the UK.

“I spoke to a number of Direct Line staff who told me that my area, Bermondsey, is deemed high risk for flooding now, and if we had come to them for new insurance we would have been refused.

“Given there are huge swathes of London in the same boat, they are effectively declaring much of the highest-cost Thameside properties uninsurable,” says Barlow, 54, a partnership manager for a small school academy chain.

He adds that Direct Line could easily have helped itself to the giant hike in premiums, as he had opted for automatic renewals. “Given that renewal is automatic and I could have missed the email, it would have been easy for me just to let it go and be stung for £1,025!”

When Guardian Money put Barlow’s case to Direct Line, it confirmed it is using a new geospatial analysis system when setting premiums – though it adds that it may mean some people’s bills will fall rather than rise. A spokesman says: “We recently updated our assessments to include geospatial analysis of risk, which has meant that in some cases  renewing customers may have seen an increase or decrease in the premium quoted.

“The software we use to determine the risk is updated regularly to help ensure we are able to provide the appropriate level of cover at the correct price. With this in mind, the risk and therefore the premium can fluctuate due to reoccurring weather events or climates which are likely to change.”

But how accurate is the modelling? Barlow is no stranger to flood risk, having been brought up in a part of east London that was prone to flooding before the building of the Thames Barrier. “The woman I spoke to at Direct Line was very patient and led me through their new risk software. After putting the phone down I realised the scale of what they were saying. The London flood risk map is pretty much etched into my mind, having grown up in one of the lowest parts of the East End, receiving regular information and hearing the flood warning sirens being tested [all well before the flood barrier].

“The Thames Barrier is one of the most advanced in the world – £2bn worth – and now a major insurance company is saying that isn’t good enough, and huge swathes of what is some of the most expensive real estate in the country is so at risk that the insurance costs need to be hiked by five times.”

Paul Barlow



Paul Barlow

Barlow says the flood barrier proved its worth in 2007 and prevented flooding from storm surges, such as the one in 1953 that inundated low-lying areas along the Thames such as Rotherhithe, near Bermondsey.

“It seems totally bizarre that Direct Line don’t seem to be taking the prevention measures into account when assessing risk. The only difference since 1984, when the barrier opened, is that properties are worth so much more, so perhaps they see an opportunity here, too.”

Direct Line is a customer of Esri UK, which describes itself as “pioneering the world’s most powerful mapping and analytics software”. Its website lists both Direct Line and RSA among its customers. Below a picture of a flooded landscape it says that it is “making risk more profitable” for the UK’s biggest home and motor insurer, and that the UK floods of 2007 were the main catalyst for a project it handled for the Direct Line subsidiary NIG.

Money asked the London mayor’s office if the flood risk for homeowners in places such as Bermondsey really is as high as Direct Line appears to be suggesting. It pointed us towards Environment Agency maps which suggest that Barlow’s home is within the tidal floodplain, but the risk of flooding is low, estimated at between a 0.1% and 1% chance per year (or between once in a 100 and once in a 1,000 years). The area contains hundreds of thousands of properties which are protected to a very high standard by the barrier and associated tidal flood defence walls, embankments and other gates and barriers.

For Barlow at least there is a happy ending. He shopped around for a new insurer and found one willing to give him cover for a premium of just £167. Presumably it is not using the same sort of maps as Direct Line, or doesn’t agree with its risk analysis.

“I find it both mind-boggling and worrying that this might be the direction of travel for insurers in London, despite one of the most expensive flood prevention systems in the world,” he says.

What your homeowners insurance won’t cover after a hurricane.

NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA (WCJB)- John Starr stayed in his home as Hurricane Irma unleashed rain and wind outside.

“You hear the howling and the rain and you hear things falling and that’s when it gets a little scary,” Starr said.

That morning, Starr noticed his home took a quite a hit.

“We have some roof damage that’s worse than I realized,” Starr said.

Starr also had some damage to his patio and pool.

After checking to see if his sheep, dogs, and horse were safe he called his insurance company.

Then he was assigned an adjuster.

One of the first things an insurance company does is walk through the home with the homeowners to to take a look at the damage.

“They’ll scope an estimate and then go back to the office and write an estimate. Then, they’ll send you a check with the estimate. The turn around time is usually a couple days,” Senior Claims Adjuster for Florida Farm Bureau Insurance, Burt Pitts said.

After the hurricane, flooding was a major issue.

Pitts tells us some homeowners insurance will not cover that damage at all.

“One of the things that’s excluded a lot of times with these hurricanes, is the flood. And the flood doesn’t provide any coverage for your house under your homeowners policy, you need a FEMA flood policy,” Pitts said.

Wind damage to trees or plants in yards are also typically not covered, unless it affects the home.

Thankfully, Starr’s home did not flood.

“The biggest thing is you just got to everyday make it a little bit better, a little bit better. Then you know, down the road, you’re gonna look back on it and say it wasn’t that bad,” Starr said.

He also says he’s happy his insurance company was there for him every step of the way.

Does your home insurance cover earthquakes? Probably not

The night before a deadly magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocked central Mexico and killed hundreds, a much milder magnitude 3.6 temblor rattled nerves around Los Angeles — reminders big and small that home owners and renters everywhere should know if their property insurance covers damage from earthquakes. Here are 5 facts to know about earthquakes and insurance: 

1. Home insurance doesn’t cover earthquakes

Standard homeowners insurance won’t pay to replace your house or belongings after an earthquake.

In California, home insurers are required to offer supplemental earthquake coverage, for an added price. But if you live elsewhere, you might need to shop for a separate policy dedicated to these disasters. 

Ask your home insurer for help finding companies in your area that sell stand-alone earthquake coverage or visit your state’s Department of Insurance website. While you’re at it, see if the rest of your current homeowners insurance is as good as it can be.

2. Earthquakes can happen in every state

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no such thing as an earthquake-free zone. They can happen anywhere.

California grabs most of the headlines when it comes to earthquakes, and understandably so, given the state’s frequent seismic activity. But no state is immune from earthquake damage.

Indeed, the U.S. Geological Survey — using data going back to 1900 — says there more than 14,000 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or great every year, or an average of about 40 per day if they were equally distributed across a calendar.

3. Aftershocks can be more destructive than earthquakes

It’s fairly common for large earthquakes to trigger a series of smaller earthquakes, called aftershocks. These tremors, usually relatively mild, are the result of the earth realigning after the initial quake.

Occasionally, however, an aftershock is so intense that it overshadows the initial event. In California, for instance, between 5% and 10% of earthquakes produce an even more powerful earthquake within a week, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

4. Insurers won’t sell coverage immediately after severe earthquakes

If you don’t have insurance once an earthquake hits, buying a policy ahead of its aftershocks could prove difficult. Insurers typically suspend sales of earthquake insurance after a severe quake occurs. They won’t offer coverage again until a certain amount of time has passed and any earth-shaking encores have subsided.

These moratorium periods typically kick in after earthquakes of 4.5 to 5.0 magnitude or greater, and they generally last for one to two months. Specifics vary by insurer.

Make sure to solidify your earthquake insurance purchase before the next big disaster — or you might wind up paying the price for multiple tremors.

5. We can’t predict how strong earthquakes will be

Unlike with tornadoes and hurricanes, it’s impossible to pinpoint when or where an earthquake will occur or to predict its potential for severe damage.

The Richter scale measures an earthquake’s size in terms of how much energy is released. The “intensity” of the quake refers to its possible effects on people, property and natural environments.

Scientists can make long-term estimates regarding the likelihood of severe earthquakes. But predicting how strong the next tremor will be isn’t yet possible.

That’s why it’s crucial to stay ready for major earthquakes all year round, which includes maintaining your earthquake insurance. There’s no “right” time of year to buy a policy or increase your limits.

More about earthquakes from NerdWallet:
How to prep for an earthquake and its insurance claims
How to make insurance claims after an earthquake
Complete guide to buying earthquake insurance

San Diego Could Face $40B In Earthquake Damage. So Why Are So Few People Insured?

This map shows the Rose Canyon Fault that cuts through the heart of the city ...

Credit: USGS

Above: This map shows the Rose Canyon Fault that cuts through the heart of the city of San Diego, stretches across La Jolla and continues north along the coast.

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San Diego Could Face $40B In Earthquake Damage. So Why Are So Few People Insured?

GUEST:

Janiele Maffei, chief mitigation officer, California Earthquake Authority

San Diego got an eye-opening report last week about its earthquake risk. The Earthquake Engineering Research Institute reported that San Diego’s Rose Canyon fault could trigger a 6.9 magnitude quake, resulting in up to 2,000 fatalities and $40 billion in property damage.

The study underscored the ever-present risk of a major earthquake in Southern California. But despite that risk, only 12 percent of Californians with home insurance or rental insurance have earthquake protection.

Unlike floods, there is no national, government-backed program to insure people against earthquake damage. And there are no requirements from mortgage lenders to get it.

RELATED: San Diego Researchers Estimate Damage From ‘Big One’ Along Rose Canyon Fault

More people used to buy earthquake insurance before the 1994 Northridge quake, when companies that offered home insurance were required to sell earthquake protection too. But after paying out $12.5 billion in claims, many companies cut back on home insurance entirely.

The California legislature eventually created the California Earthquake Authority, a state-run non-profit, that creates earthquake insurance policies which are sold by private insurance companies. Until last year, CEA only had plans with 10 percent and 15 percent deductibles. Now, they offer plans with deductibles of 5 percent, 20 percent and 25 percent. Higher deductible plans have lower premiums.

Before that change, the average annual earthquake insurance premium was about $800. Consumer advocacy group United Policyholders said homeowners with 15 percent deductible plans were not likely to see a payout unless a truly catastrophic earthquake hit.

California Earthquake Authority’s chief mitigation officer, Janiele Maffei, joins KPBS Midday Edition Thursday to discuss how earthquake insurance differs from federal disaster aid and how that Rose Canyon study could affect San Diego insurance rates.

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Esurance launches in Ontario with smart technology and financial savings for today’s consumer

New data shows that almost half of Ontarians do not believe their insurance company wants to save them money

TORONTO, Sept. 19, 2017 /CNW/ – Esurance is expanding its online auto and home insurance to Ontario. Esurance uses advanced technology to offer an easy online experience and intuitive tools that help take the hassle out of insurance – something that’s sure to appeal to digitally-minded Ontarians.

Esurance (CNW Group/Esurance)

Esurance is here to help Ontarians understand their insurance options so they get the best value for their money. As Ontario residents continue to experience some of the highest home ownership and auto insurance costs in the country, a recent survey conducted by Leger found that almost half (45%) of Ontarians do not believe that their current insurance company wants to save them money and eight in ten (79%) would consider switching providers for one designed to save them money.

“We are absolutely thrilled to enter the Ontario market, because we know Ontarians are looking for an insurance company that will provide better value and an easy, effortless experience. Not only do we offer value in terms of dollars, we also help our customers save time by leveraging technology whenever we can,” said Saskia Matheson, General Manager, Esurance Canada.

Insurance can be complicated. That’s why Esurance simplifies the process starting with the initial quote, explaining in plain English how rates are calculated. This helps customers become well-informed and empowered to make smart decisions about their coverage. And the claims process is just as easy. Esurance responds fast using smart technology to help customers get back to normal as quickly and painlessly as possible.

“Our customers love that they have access to our services and their policy from anywhere, at their convenience.  What’s more, through our intuitive online tools, consumers can see exactly what coverage is right for them and where they’re saving money, bringing a new level of transparency to the insurance process,” said Matheson.

Better value at an affordable price

The survey also found that almost one in four Ontarians (38%)  believe their insurance provider doesn’t give them better value, and more than half (52%) would consider switching to one that offers value-add tools. Online policy management and easy billing are at the core of Esurance’s value-add approach.

Esurance is changing insurance for the better, leveraging technology to reduce some of the costs that encumber traditional insurance companies, so customers receive quality coverage at an affordable rate, with more ways to save. For instance, the Esurance DIY Home Inspection app is the industry’s first home inspection app tool that enables customers to self-inspect their homes for additional policy discounts.

In fact, there are more than 10 ways for Ontarians to easily reduce their home insurance costs with Esurance. For example, customers can bundle their home and auto insurance for additional savings, and new customers can take advantage of the “Welcome Home” discount when they switch to Esurance.

Drivers in Ontario can also benefit, with special rate savings for safe experienced drivers, including a good driver household discount.  At Esurance, the way drivers manage both their auto policy and their behaviour behind the wheel can qualify them for cash-saving discounts. And to help Ontarians make smart decisions about auto insurance, Esurance created Coverage Counsellor, a proprietary online tool that provides a customized car insurance estimate in minutes.

Though Esurance is one of the first companies to offer online auto and home insurance in Canada, knowledgeable experts are also available to review coverage options over the phone. As a member of the Allstate family, Esurance has the financial strength and reliability of one of the most trusted names in insurance.

Survey highlights and methodology

A survey of 1,000 Ontarians was completed online from July 10 – 13, 2017 using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. Key findings include:

  • Three quarters of Ontarians (76%) carry car insurance and more than half (54%) carry homeowner insurance
  • More than half (52%) of Ontarians noted that if there was an insurance company that provided value-add tools such as online policy management and easy billing, they would consider switching from their current provider and eight in ten (79%) felt the same way about a company designed to save them money
  • Almost half (47%) of Ontarians didn’t agree that their insurance company wanted to save them money
  • One in four (38%) people didn’t feel that their insurance company wanted to give them better value
  • Almost a quarter (22%) of Ontarians do not trust their insurance company to look out for their best interest

Esurance is an Allstate company, with homeowner and auto insurance available across the US, Alberta and Ontario. For more information, visit www.esurance.ca.

About Esurance®
Esurance provides homeowners and auto insurance direct to Canadian consumers in Ontario and Alberta and offers multiple insurance products in the U.S. including auto, homeowners, motorcycle, and renters. Esurance was a pioneer in offering insurance online in the U.S. in 1999. With an award-winning website and innovative tools, Esurance is the smart choice for tech-savvy consumers in Canada and the U.S. As a member of the Allstate family, Esurance is a reliable choice for insurance, offering anytime, anywhere service just a click, call, or tap away. For more information, visit www.esurance.ca or call 1-888-ESURANCE (1-888-378-7262).

SOURCE Esurance