FAQ Articles

When is Medicare's Annual Election Period?

American Insurance reminds area seniors to take note of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period each year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. This is when everyone who has Medicare – not only seniors – can change to different Medicare Advantage or Part D (Prescription Drug Plans).

For seniors already enrolled in a Medicare option, the enrollment period ensures that their changes will take effect on Jan. 1st. 

Seniors have more choices at AMERICAN INSURANCE! We are independent and represent many insurance companies to provide you multiple choices for your family. 

Medicare’s Yearly Enrollment Period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 is the best time to compare your options to choose the plan that is best for you. During this Annual Enrollment Period, you can:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from Jan. 1 to March 31, you can:

  • If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage), you can switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage).
  • You can disenroll from your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare. If you choose to do so, youll be able to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can change to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage) or go back to Original Medicare (with or without drug coverage) within the first 3 months you have Medicare.

Get local assistance at AMERICAN INSURANCE.

We have two local agents who are available by appointment to discuss Medicare and many other health care options with you, at your convenience. You can call Tim Gleason or Dave Root at 208-746-9646 or contact us online or email us at Medical@Am-Ins.com to set your appointment today.

Do you need more information about Medicare? Here are some answers to some questions you may have.

Do you still have questions? You can contact us to make an appointment here, or call us at 208-746-9646 or email us at Medical@Am-Ins.com.

Source: Medicare.Gov - Joining a health or drug plan


4th Annual Hometown Business Food Drive set

We invite you to partner with us for a no-cost community event.

Read more archives of our past food drives:

Here’s how it works:

  • COLLECT FOOD DONATIONS: You, your employees, suppliers, customers and friends bring bags of food donations into your business location. You may want to announce this to your staff soon so you have a few days to collect these items. 
  • PICTURES & PICKUP: Pick a day and time the week of Nov. 18-22 for an Agent from American Insurance to pick up your food donations. We will also want to include your staff for a publicity picture with all of your donations.
  • PUBLICITY: American Insurance will be posting the picture of your employees with your donated items to our Facebook page, on our website, and sent out in an email to more than 4,000 area residents.

Need more information or ready to sign up?

Contact our Event Coordinator Stephanie Herbert at Community@am-ins.com or call her at (208) 413-6242.

Watch for updates along the week on our Facebook event page here


RISK TRANSFER BY CONTRACT

In business it is routine to sign contracts for leases, construction projects, service contracts, and the like.  Every business owner has probably signed these contracts without knowing the significance of many of the boiler plate provisions it contains.  Many of those provisions relate to liability risks which are being transferred to you that may or may not be covered by your insurance.  Those contracts and agreements usually are coming from larger businesses that have the resources to manage risk in their favor.

Powerful Tool

Written agreements are a powerful tool to create, transfer or limit liability risks. Without these agreements in place, insurance companies are paying claims for you that could easily be limited or transferred to a more responsible party. Increasingly, insurance companies are encouraging small business owners to implement these risk transfer methods.  When you lower your claims exposure you can keep your insurance premiums lower and more stable.

Key Contract Clauses that Transfer or Limit Risk

Indemnity – a clause in a written contract that creates an obligation to reimburse the other party for a loss including claim costs and expenses.

Hold Harmless – a clause in a written contract that absolves one or both parties of legal liability for any injuries or damage suffered by the party signing the contract.

Waiver of Liability (exculpatory agreements) – a clause in a written contract in which one party releases the other party from liability for their actions, if not contrary to public policy.

Waiver of Subrogation – a clause in a written contract that waives the rights transferred to insurance companies to recover damages from other parties to a contract.

Insurance requirements and endorsements – a clause in a written contract that describes the insurance coverage that must be maintained to fund certain obligations assumed in a contract.

Small Business: Take Note!

It is becoming important for small business owners to also transfer risks to anyone providing them services or for whom they provide services by creating written leases, service agreements, insurance and additional insured requirements and other written documents to limit the liability risk exposures for their own business operations with vendors and customers.  These written agreements may define your services, terms & conditions, clarify expectations, make disclosures, limit any warrantees, and in some cases provide for indemnity, hold harmless, release of liability and waiver of subrogation (where permitted by law).

Lowering Your Exposure

In cooperation with your attorney, the agents at American Insurance can help you understand these basic risk transfer concepts. Call the Sullivans at (208)746-9646 or email for more information. 


Is my contractor insured?

Here's how to find out. 

Hiring an uninsured contractor can end up embroiling you in lawsuits and cost you more than you ever imagined. Summer is when we hire contractors for repairs, roof replacements, remodeling, landscaping and other projects for our home or business. These contracting arrangements are often done on a hand-shake or bid estimate rather than a formal written construction contract.

So, what insurance should you require and how can you verify that your contractor has the insurance protection you need?

What can go wrong?  Plenty! 

Contractors, from one-man artisans to big general contractors, are in one of the riskiest business ventures in America. Consider these real-life scenarios if your contractor ...

  • Digs a whole for the sprinkler system, doesn’t block it off and someone falls in breaking their leg (liability for bodily injury).
  • Pounds a nail in your wall and accidentaly hits a water pipe that floods the basement (liability for property damage).
  • Is re-roofing your property when his employee falls off the roof breaking his neck and is a now a quadriplegic (no workers compensation coverage).
  • Doesn’t pay for the materials for your project and goes broke leaving you with a half-finished project and a materials lien against your property (no performance bond). 

No matter what size the project, property owners should verify that their contractor at a minimum is properly licensed and bonded if required by law, has in-force Commercial General Liabilityinsurance and Workers Compensation insurance (if there are employees), and Auto Liabilityinsurance (if vehicles will be on your premises).

Request Certificates of Insurance

It is usual and customary to request proof of insurances with evidence provided in the form of a Certificate of Insurance from your contractor. DO NOT allow the contractor to start the project until you receive the Certificates you requested. 

Verifying Licensing and Insurance

Idaho Contractors must register with the Idaho Bureau of Occupational Licenses. No insurance or bonding is required. However, legal contact information and disciplinary documentation is available to the public on-line. Advice on how to hire a contractor and file a complaint is also provided.

o   www.ibol.idaho.gov  - Click "Search Licenses & Registrations"

Washington Contractors, general and specialty contractors, are required to register and have in-force at all times Commercial General Liability, Performance Bond and Workers Compensation insurance.  Consumers can verify this information including filing complaints online.

o   www.lni.wa.gov/tradeslicensing  click - “Verify a Contractor, Tradesperson or Business Tool"

For more information and free assistance to prevent a claim on your home or business insurance, contact an Agent at American Insurance at or (208) 746-9646.


2019 - Philip Sullivan receives 2nd SOAR award from Safeco

Safeco Insurance Senior Territory Manager, Amy Faucheux, CIC, is shown with Philip Sullivan, CIC and Vice President, and his second SOAR award.


Philip Sullivan, CIC, has received a second Safeco Outstanding Agent Recognition (S.O.A.R.) Award for 2019.

The S.O.A.R. Award recognizes Philip for his commitment to customer service and performance for American Insurance. Only a select group of employees at local independent insurance agencies across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska are given this honor by Safeco Insurance. 

“American Insurance is pleased that Safeco has honored Philip Sullivan with his second S.O.A.R. Award for his hard work with Safeco and our other agency partners,”  said Shawn Sullivan, Agency president.

Philip joined the agency in 2004. He is a licensed agent for property, casualty, surety, life and health insurance. Since 2010, Philip has the added responsibility of managing our Personal Lines Department and became Vice President in 2019.


2019: WA adds mandatory insurance law for motorcyclists

Washington motorcycle drivers now have a new state law related to their insurance. It might surprise you to know that  Washington state law previously did not require motorcycles to be insured for state mandatory liability limits. 

The 2019 Washington State Legislature changed that and passed a new law that all motorcycle drivers must carry liability coverage and proof they have insurance. They are no longer exempt from Washington state's Mandatory auto insurance law.

So motorcycle drivers in Washington state who had not previously insured their motorcycles for liability will need to do so before driving on Washington roads and keep proof of insurance with them. However, this law does not apply to the following registered vehicles: Motor Scooters and Mopeds.

MINIMUM MOTORCYCLE LIABILITY INSURANCE LIMITS: The law now requires anyone who drives a motor vehicle or motorcycle in Washington state to:

  • Carry motorcycle insurance with liability limits of at least $25,000 for injuries or death to another person
  • $50,000 for injuries or death to all other people
  • $10,000 for damage to another person’s property

If you cannot provide proof to a law enforcement officer that you have this insurance, you can be ticketed. .

For motorcycle insurance quotes and information please Contact your Agent at American Insurance online here or call  (208) 746-9646 or (208) 882-8544 to ensure you meet these new requirements.   

Source: Washington state's mandatory auto/motorcycle insurance law (effective July 28, 2019)


Certificates of Insurance – Why are they required?

Any business owner that signs a lease, takes out a loan, or does work on the premises of others will likely be required to provide proof of liability, property or auto insurance.  In nearly every case, the insurance requirements are a means to transfer risk to an insurance company as added security for the other party to your business relationship.  This proof of insurance is provided on a standardize form called a Certificate of Insurance (COI) issued and signed by your insurance company or their agent (read more at What is a Certificate of Insurance?).

The contract, service agreement or loan document specifies the insurance requirements that must be provided by the Named Insured including the coverage form, minimum limit of insurance, when and how long the coverage must be maintained, and often many other very complex requirements. The Named Insured must comply with these insurance requirements on a first-party basis and at their own expense or risk breach of contract which exposes them to penalty or lawsuit.  The reasons for these insurance requirements will become crystal clear in the common examples outlined below:

Why must you provide a Certificates of Insurance?

Any time you enter into a contract that has insurance requirements, you will need to provide proof of compliance with a Certificate of Insurance.   Common examples are that the insurance is covering real property or a vehicle that was the subject of a loan or the liability exposure for the work being done by the Named Insured.  

OTHER COMMON EXAMPLES:

  • Contract for Services
    – construction, repair and service type businesses that require work to be done on the client’s premises or to their property (ie: build, repair, service, clean, etc) may require proof of liability insurance before work can begin or workers can enter the premises so that any liability claim caused by employees or because of the work done will first be defended and paid from the service provider or contractor’s insurance policy rather than the premises owner’s insurance policy.
  • Lease of Business Premises – the landlord requires proof of Commercial General Liability insurance from the Lessee so that any liability with first be defended and paid from the Lessee’s insurance policy. 
  • Business Property Loans -  the building or line of credit loan requires proof of commercial property insurance with special form coverage including theft to protect the lender’s unpaid interest in the property from fire, theft and other perils.
  • Auto Loans – the business vehicle loan requires proof of auto physical damage insurance (comp & collision) with a maximum deductible of $1,000 to protect the lender’s unpaid interest in the vehicle.
  • Auto Liability Cards – state compulsory auto liability law requires you to carry in your vehicle proof of auto liability insurance with certain minimum limits.  You routinely receive with your business auto policy an auto liability card to place in your vehicle at every policy renewal.

There are countless variations of these common examples cited above.  A Certificate may be “Proof Only” to verify insurance is in-force only or may include other special endorsement requirements like - Lender Loss-Payable, Additional Insured, Primary and Non-Contributory limits, Waiver of Subrogation and others.  COI are often very complicated, especially for those in the construction business. Your agent will want to read the actual insurance requirements in the contract you have signed.

American Insurance routinely receives requests from our business clients to issue Certificates of Insurance. We handle each request as a priority and complete “Proof Only” requests within four (4) business hours.  Our agents will review the insurance requirements in our client’s contract and provide advice as to the basic compliance of the current insurance policy and limits. You are invited to Contact Us or your American Insurance agent for more information about Certificates of Insurance.

NOTE: The contracts you sign have broader obligations than can be or may be insured under any insurance policy.  A COI cannot modify any coverage or change the terms of the insurance contract.  Seek competent legal advice before signing any contract.

 


Fireworks -- Family traditions worth celebrating

Family traditions come in all shapes and sizes. Maybe an annual trip to a cabin or destination, an event you go back to annually, relatives you visit - it seems it is in our nature to commemorate important dates and events. Traditions are a way to hold on to and make memories we never want to forget. I think the tradition we keep are a reflection of the things we really value.

I grew up here in Lewiston and Clarkston and my dad’s summer tradition was to invite friends over for a BBQ on the 4th of July and watch the Independence Days fireworks show together. I played until it was dark. Then I would wait impatiently for the big aerial fireworks to fill the sky with booms and colored bursts of light. Everyone ooh’d and ahh’d. It was spectacular! 

As I grew up, I understood that it is important to celebrate America’s birthday and remember the sacrifices from 1776 to today made by so many brave Americans in the cause of freedom and justice. When I had children of my own, I continued that tradition  while raising my family. 

Then one year, in 1984, we waited but were disappointed because there was no fireworks show. So, thirty-four years ago I made a commitment to help organize and support financially my family summer tradition – the annual Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Show for the Lewiston/Clarkston valley. Others joined in and Community Spirit was born. 

Since then, I have had the pleasure of watching my kids and grandkids “ooh and ahh” at each fireworks burst of light. Nothing has been more rewarding than having my family join with thousands of other valley families to keep the tradition alive as we all enjoy the Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Show together.

PASSING TRADITION TO NEXT GENERATION

The next generation has committed to keeping our tradition going. My sons, Shawn and Philip, on behalf of American Insurance, are committing their resources and time to support our Independence Day Celebration. As long as I’m able, I will be out setting up the American flags at Adams Field as usual.


2019 - Best of the West winner

The votes are in! AMERICAN INSURANCE is honored to be once again selected as “Best of the West” insurance agency for 2019. 

The Sullivans & staff are very proud to be chosen and always strive to be worthy of your continued trust.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTES!

Did you know that American Insurance has won BEST of the WEST for 6 years now? 

You named our agency the Best of the West and we want to keep it that way. How do we rate in your eyes? Fill out our very short Customer Service Experience form online and receive a $5 lunch or coffee Gift Card (some restrictions apply). Find out more about that offer here.

THANKS, AGAIN, FOR YOUR VOTES!



CERTIFICATES OF INSURANCE - Explained

Every business owner, at some point, needs to understand when to provide proof that they are currently insured or ask for proof of insurance from someone with whom they have a business relationship.  Most typically those relationships are either statutory, like auto liability requirements or contractual, like loans with lenders, lease contracts or contracts for services provided by your business. 

COI-Blank

What are Certificates of Insurance? 
Certificates of Insurance (COI) are standardized insurance forms issued by the insurance company or their agent that briefly describe an insurance policy’s coverage and limits in order to provide evidence of insurance to a third party on behalf of the Named Insured. There are two basic types – Certificates of Liability Insurance (for the liability of operations and complete operations) and Property Insurance Certificates (for real and business personal property and vehicles), but a COI can list any number of insurance coverage forms and limits insured under multiple policies. For practical reasons, a COI is provided as a short form substitute for the actual insurance policy coverage documents that could be 300 or 400 pages long. 

How to request a Certificates of Insurance?
You must request a Certificate of Insurance from your insurance agent or if direct, the insurance company issuing your policy.  There is generally no extra premium charge for Certificates issued by admitted insurers but specialty or brokerage policies may charge a fee for certificates. 

Get answers to these other important questions about Certificates of Insurance:

  • Why are Certificates of Insurance required?
  • When should a business owner provide a Certificate of Insurance?
  • When should a business owner require a Certicate of Insurance from others?
  • What common endorsements are requested on a Certificate of Insurance?

American Insurance routinely receives requests from our business clients to issue Certificates of Insurance. We handle each request as a priority and complete “Proof Only” requests within four (4) business hours.  Our agents will review the insurance requirements in our client’s contract and provide advice as to the basic compliance of the current insurance policy and limits.

You are invited to Contact Us or your American Insurance agent for more information about Certificates of Insurance.


Idaho 2019 Workers’ Comp Rates to Decrease

A (minus) -4.2 percent overall rate decrease to Idaho workers’ compensation insurance was approved effective January 1, 2019 by the Idaho Department of Insurance.

Employers should see this rate relief in 2019 on the annual renewal date of their policy. The actual rates will vary based on the payroll class codes applicable to that particular business. Other rating factors may affect the final renewal estimated premium like the experience modification factor, which is based on past claims, and any changes in estimated payroll for the new policy term.

This 2019 rate decrease follows a similar decrease of 3.4 in rates on May 31, 2018. The new rate change comes from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCIC). NCCI annually collects information about Idaho’s workers’ compensation system and submits proposed rates to the Department of Insurance for review and approval. Once adopted, the workers’ compensation insurance rates are used in Idaho by all insurance companies and the State Insurance Fund.

“We are pleased to announce this reduction, a move which will benefit Idaho businesses, their employees and the economy in general,” said Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron. “The change in the 2019 workers’ compensation rates reflects an improvement in our state rating factors, including a slight decline in both the frequency of claims for lost work time, and the average cost of those claims.”

Idaho employers are required to maintain statutory workers’ compensation insurance coverage for the benefit of their employees and uninsured independent contractors. The state’s workers’ compensation benefit system is designed to cover medical costs associated with workplace injuries. It also provides wage replacement benefits to injured workers for lost work time.

Source:  Idaho Department of Insurance News Release, Workers’ Compensation Rates to Decrease in Idaho for 2019

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Questions? 

Contact your Agent for more information. 


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Data Breaches In the News

Hacking from worldwide organized crime and state actors are compromising millions of private records and creating liability for business, industry and governments. To learn more about Cyber Liability Insurance read Cyber Liability – should I insure this new business threat?

Here is a list of some prominent data breaches and cyber attacks to hit the news....

For more information and a quotation for Cyber Liability Insurance or any other liability coverage, please contact us or request a quote online here.


Auto Insurance – Why did my rate increase?

Sometimes auto insurance rates change with no apparent explanation. The answer may have more to do with general auto expense trends than your individual claim or driving experience.  It is frustrating to realize that auto insurance rates are affected by two things – circumstances under your control and circumstances out of your control. 

One thing you should know is that competition for your Auto Insurance policy is intense! Insurance companies all compete and try to attract you with the best coverages, high quality service and lowest premiums.  Insurance companies in most states are highly regulated by their Department of Insurance and must provide statistics and studies to prove that any rate changes they request are justified and in the public interest.  So, when premium rates do change – up or down - that decision has been thoroughly reviewed.  But, any change in rating formulas can have a dramatic and unpredictable effect on individual policyholders.

Verify Premium Discounts.

Call us first, if your auto insurance rate takes a noticeable change.  The first thing our agents will do is verify that you are getting all the premium discounts available to you.  You may qualify for some new discounts now available that will bring your rates back in line.     

Factors under your control.

If you don’t have tickets or accidents and have excellent credit and payment history, then you have done everything possible under your control to deserve the lowest insurance rates.  How much you are rewarded for being an excellent insurance risk varies from company to company.  If your auto insurance rate still seems too high then the next thing under your control is shopping for new auto insurance.

American Insurance makes shopping easy. We offer a freeMarketplace Double Check.” With one call, we shop dozens of America’s largest Independent insurance companies to find you the best price and coverage available in the marketplace right now. Update your policy with the latest coverage extras like – New Car Replacement and Accident Forgiveness. You may save up to an additional 15% with a multi-policy discount by combining your auto and home insurance. New customer discounts can save you up to $600 a year on your car insurance premium. 

Factors beyond your control.

The fundamental nature and purpose of insurance is to spread the financial risks of individuals to a larger group by transferring your risk to an insurance company. Your premiums are calculated to pay for all the claims – your neighbor’s claim today and perhaps your claim tomorrow – plus the expenses of operating an insurance company.  In recent years, the upward pressure on claim costs has translated into generally rising premiums for all of us.  The main factors driving claim costs today are:

Liability and medical expense costs - The rapidly increasing costs of medical care that affect medical insurance rates also impact auto insurance claims for bodily injury liability and medical expense paid under auto insurance policies. From 2005 to 2013, the average cost for a bodily injury liability claim rose 32.1 percent, according to the Insurance Research Council.  Additional costs include pain & suffering, loss wages and legal expense. 

Vehicle repair costs - Previously minor repairs have become major due to the addition of sensors and other tech which need to be calibrated after repair. Advanced driver assistance systems may employ radar, cameras and other technologies.  Repairs take longer and are more complicated which drives up labor costs on top of parts and materials.  The technology is making us safer but there is a corresponding new cost.

More of everything – There are more new cars on the road, more miles driven, more accidents. The U.S. registered a 7.2 percent increase in annual traffic-related deaths from 2014 to 2015 and it has stayed steady since.  Distracted driving continues to significantly add to increased accidents.  

Based on these and many other economic factors, auto insurance premium rates are rising faster than the general growth of the economy.  Consumers may never know the specific reason from their own premium increase so need to be proactive to shop the marketplace when warranted. 

Related articles 

Source: III.org presentation on Rising Auto Costs


Employee or Independent Contractor?

Every employer needs an answer to this question, “Is this worker an employee or independent contractor”?  Getting it wrong can subject you to very large fines and penalties that could literally put you out of business.  Misclassification of workers is the subject of crackdowns by three major agencies - The Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor and Workers Compensation Industrial Commissions.  

Here’s why…

THE MISCLASSIFICATION OF WORKERS:  Employers are either uninformed of the rules or tempted to misclassify workers as independent contractors because they not only avoid the expense of preparing and reporting payroll and withholdings but also avoid matching FICA, FUTA, state disability taxes, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, overtime, health insurance, pension and profit-sharing benefits. Violating the legal requirements of these various statutory programs triggers a complicated and very expensive unwinding process back several years.  Paying back contributions, paying fines, refiling tax returns, etc. is more time and money than you can imagine.  

WHAT IS AN INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR:  According to the IRS, “the general rule is that an individual is an independent contractor if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done.” 

WHAT IS AN EMPLOYEE: According to the IRS, ”under common-law rules, anyone who performs services for you is your employee if you can control what will be done and how it will be done.  This is true even when you give the employee freedom of action.  What matters is that you have the right to control the details of how the services are performed.”

The IRS provides guidance to properly classify a worker under three category tests – Behavioral Control, Financial Control and Relationship of the parties. The Department of Labor and Workers Compensation use similar but not identical tests.  

A common sense test would be this: If they don’t advertise their business of doing this specialized work for anyone who calls them (ie: plumber, painter, electrician), then they probably aren’t an Independent Contractor.  A seasonal or day worker is NOT an independent contractor even if they work for you and someone else at the same time. They are an employee. When in doubt, get HR or legal advice.  Getting it wrong is just too big of a risk.   

Here at American Insurance, we routinely get this question in regards to how Workers Compensation and General Liability rates are charged and calculated. You are invited to contact your Agent online or call us at (208) 746-9646 or text us at (208) 518-0823 or email us at to request the white paper “Hiring and Managing Independent Contractors” free for our clients. 


Medicare – Yearly “Wellness” Visits

If you’ve had Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) for longer than 12 months, you can get a yearly “Wellness” visit once every 12 months to develop or update a personalized prevention plan.  If you are covered by a Med Advantage plan or have a Supplement plan in addition to Medicare you may have additional wellness benefits. For more information, consult your plan or for Idaho and Washington residents please contact us to speak with an experienced health agent at American Insurance.  

Your costs in Original Medicare

You pay nothing for this visit if your doctor or other qualified health care provider accepts assignmentThe Part B deductible

 doesn’t apply. 

However, you may have to pay coinsurance, and the Part B deductible may apply if:

  • Your doctor or other health care provider performs additional tests or services during the same visit.
  • These additional tests or services aren't covered under the preventive benefits.

What it is

This plan is designed to help prevent disease and disability based on your current health and risk factors. Your provider will ask you to fill out a questionnaire, called a “Health Risk Assessment,” as part of this visit. Answering these questions can help you and your provider develop a personalized prevention plan to help you stay healthy and get the most out of your visit. It can also include:

Related resources

  • Preventive visits
  • For more information, consult your plan or for Idaho and Washington residents please contact us to speak with an experienced health agent at American Insurance.  

Source: Medicare.gov, Yearly “Wellness” visits,  April 1, 2019


Claims – Theft of Autos with Keys Left Inside Up 88%

On every single day from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2018, an average of 209 vehicles were stolen across the U.S. because drivers all made this one mistake…..they left their keys or fobs in their vehicles making them attractive targets for thieves. A report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows that during this three-year period, a total of 229,339 vehicles were stolen in this manner—a 56 percent increase since 2015. When including the numbers from 2013, the 5 year increase balloons to 88 percent.

While national vehicle thefts have enjoyed a steep decline since 2003, in recent years, there have been some upticks in thefts; most notably in 2016 when 765,484 vehicles were reported stolen—an increase of 57,726 from 2015. According to today’s report, in that same year, 69,351 vehicles were stolen as a result of keys or fobs remaining in the vehicle. Had those complacency thefts not occurred, 2016 would have posted a decrease rather than an increase in annual vehicle thefts.  

Warming and cooling vehicles seems to have played a part in these thefts since the most occurred in winter and fall. December was first with 22,155. It was followed by January (21,384); November (20,080); October (19,918) and July (19,811). 

 We can’t stress enough the importance of locking your vehicle and taking the key or fob with you when you leave it,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Anti-theft technology works, but only if you use it.”

NICB advises drivers to:

  • Lock the vehicle, set the alarm and take all keys or FOBS.
  • Do not leave the garage door opener in the vehicle.
  • Take a picture of your registration on your cell phone and do not leave the registration or other papers with personal information in the vehicle.
  • Never leave a car unlocked and running to warm it up or while stopping for a quick cup of coffee. It only takes a moment for the opportunistic thief to jump inside and drive off.

Source: NCIB, News Release – March 26, 2019, Thefts of Vehicles with Keys Left Inside Continue to Rise


Auto Policy: Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Many people don’t fully appreciate what Uninsured Motorist (UM) Insurance covers or why they really need it as an essential part of their Personal Auto Policy (PAP).  

Idaho and Washington are among the 49 states that legally require all drivers to have mandatory auto liability insurance.   Despite that, about one out of every eight drivers do not carry auto liability coverage; in some states, that number is one out of five.  Hit and runs, drunk or impaired drivers, old vehicles without proper maintenance - the odds are high that you or a family member may suffer bodily injury or a significant financial loss caused by an uninsured driver. There have been so many of these uninsured accidents that UM/UIM coverage is now required and considered critical financial protection on your auto insurance policy.   

UM/UIM COVERAGE NOW REQUIRED TO BE OFFERED IN IDAHO AND WASHINGTON STATES

Both Idaho and Washington states now require that all car insurance policies must include uninsured motorist coverage (UM), in an amount equal to the policyholder's chosen public liability coverage limit for bodily injury, unless this coverage is waived in writing by the policyholder. Uninsured Motorist insurance was specifically designed to protect you and your family under three specific circumstances:

UM COVERAGE PAYS YOU FROM YOUR OWN POLICY

Specific options for uninsured motorist coverage vary by state and insurer, but in general there are three types of protection available.

  • Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance – Also known as Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) insurance, this coverage will pay for you and your passengers’ medical bills and other compensation if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist who is at fault. UM coverage also pays if, as a pedestrian, you are hit by an uninsured driver, or if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run accident.
  • Underinsured Motorist (UIM) protection – An at-fault driver may have liability insurance, but their policy limits do not cover the full extent of the bodily injury claim for you or your passengers. UIM insurance will cover the “underinsured” shortfall up to your own UIM limit.
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD) coverage – Remember, Uninsured Motorist insurance covers bodily injuries, not damage to your car or property. So, for your vehicles without collision coverage, you need UMPD coverage to pay for physical damage caused by an uninsured driver.  Generally, UMPD also covers the uninsured auto damage to other personal property like your house or your fence.

GET A FREE REVIEW:  Contact Us for a free coverage review on your personal auto policy. We will quote up to 7 top companies with your one request to find you the right coverage at the best price. Call and speak with one our experienced agents or quote online.

SOURCE:  Insurance Information Institute, Inc., “Protect yourself against uninsured motorists


EPLI - Guide To Employee Discrimination Lawsuits (2017 Hiscox)

Employment discrimination lawsuits now hit small business. Request a free Guide to Employee Lawsuits to learn more.

What if you opened your mail today and found a discrimination complaint had been filed against you with the State Human Rights Commission or US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?  Or worse yet, a civil lawsuit for discrimination had been filed. Your worst day ever would likely stretch to your worst year ever!

Discrimination complaints flow out of State and Federal laws against employment discrimination. They apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, training, wages, and benefits. These laws are complicated and with the recent #metoo movement complaints are on the rise. 

The 2017 Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits reports that US companies had at least a 10.5% chance of having an employment charge filed against them in 2016, the most recent year statistics are available. A representative study of 1,214 closed claims reported by small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 500 employees showed that 24% of employment charges resulted in defense and settlement costs averaging a total of $160,000. Even though 76% of cases resulted in no payment for judgments, the defense cost and the time, energy and resources expended can significantly impact any business. On average, those matters took 318 days to resolve.

Is special insurance needed?  YES!  Employment discrimination claims are specifically excluded on Commercial General Liability policies (that primarily cover accidental bodily injury or property damage liability claims on your premises or because of your business operations or products).  A newer, specialized form of insurance called “Employment Practices Liability” (EPLI) has developed to help employers insure the litigation costs and judgments resulting from employment discrimination claims.  

Request a quote and a free copy of the 2017 Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits from American Insurance. Learn three ways to protect your business in the event of a complaint and what constitutes discrimination, how charges are brought, the high-risk states for lawsuits, key state laws, the most common type of discrimination and the cost of employee lawsuits. Request your free copy by emailing or call your American Insurance agent at (208)746-9646 or text us at (208)518-0823 or contact us online for more information and a quotation.

Click to download report 2017 Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits.


Vehicle deaths stable for third year in US

For the first time since the Great Recession, the U.S. has experienced three straight years of at least 40,000 roadway deaths, according to preliminary estimates released recently by the National Safety Council.

In 2018, an estimated 40,000 people lost their lives to car crashes – a 1% decline from 2017 (40,231 deaths) and 2016 (40,327 deaths). About 4.5 million people were seriously injured in crashes last year – also a 1% decrease over 2017.

The Council’s preliminary estimate signals a leveling off after years of consecutive rises. Discouragingly, last year’s estimated 40,000 deaths is 14% higher than four years ago. Driver behavior is likely contributing to the numbers staying stubbornly high. The Council’s estimates do not reveal causation; however, 2017 final data show spikes in deaths among pedestrians, while distraction continues to be involved in 8% of crashes, and drowsy driving in an additional 2%.

  • In 2018 in Idaho, there were 233 deaths, down 4 percent from 2017.
  • In 2018 in Washington, there were 541 deaths, down 2 percent from 2017.
  • In 2018 in Oregon, there were 468 deaths, up 7 percent from 2017.
  • In 2018 in Montana, there were 182 deaths, down 2 percent from 2017.

To help ensure safer roads, NSC urges motorists to:

  • Practice defensive driving. Buckle up, designate a sober driver or arrange alternative transportation, get plenty of sleep to avoid fatigue, and drive attentively, avoiding distractions.
  • Recognize the dangers of drugged driving, including impairment from prescription opioids. Visit StopEverydayKillers.org to understand the impact of the nation’s opioid crisis.
  • Stay engaged in teens’ driving habits. Visit DriveitHOME.org for resources.
  • Learn how to use your vehicle’s safety systems. Visit MyCarDoesWhat.org for information.
  • Fix recalls immediately. Visit ChecktoProtect.org to ensure your vehicle does not have an open recall.
  • Ask lawmakers and state leaders to protect travelers on state roadways. The NSC State of Safety report shows which states have the strongest and weakest traffic safety laws.
  • Join the Road to Zero to understand how safety professionals are addressing motor vehicle fatalities. Visit nsc.org/roadtozero to get involved.

Source: National Safety Council article, Vehicle Deaths Estimated at 40,000 for Third Straight Year


Welcome to our Agency!

To our new insured:

First and foremost, the Sullivans and staff want to say a sincere “thank you” for choosing American Insurance to protect what you value most. We appreciate your trust and will deliver to you superior insurance coverage at the lowest marketplace price, backed by service that is prompt, accurate and caring.

Welcome! Look inside your mailed folder to find some free gift items, resources and reference information – everything you need to know to make insurance easy

For future reference, here is an outline of what you can find inside your folder....

  • Policy File Folder – Use this handy file folder to organize your insurance policies, renewal declarations pages, and billings.
  • 2019 Calendar – Find our free gift calendar inside to thank you for your business!
  • Our Agency – We provide unique services giving you the “American Advantage”. Learn more about who we are and what we do that benefits you.
  • Communications – Our relationship is built on 2-way communication. Learn how easy it is to stay in touch with us and how we communicate with you. 
  • Community Ties – Learn how we support our local communities and how you can partner with us to make a difference.
  • Customer Service – You have been assigned a specific local Customer Service Agent (or CSA) to help you. Find their contact information in person, by phone, email, or text for any insurance need.
  • Online Resources – Get 24/7 service, free resources, FAQ answers, and important insurance news all at your fingertips.
  • Referrals & Reviews – Gift cards for you!  Refer your family, friends and coworkers to us. Review our service, tell us how we are doing and read reviews from our other customers.

Thank you again!  We appreciate your business. If you have any questions, please contact me or your personal CSA who will be more than happy to assist you.

Shawn D. Sullivan, CIC President & Agency Manager


Life Insurance - Business needs

Unfortunately, one of the biggest fundamental threats to any business is what happens if you or a key employee dies or becomes disabled?

In most small businesses, you are responsible for two families: the one you have at home, and the one you have through work. 

If you or a key employee dies or becomes disabled, insurance can help protect your family and your business.  But, no matter what size or type of business you manage, a well-conceived insurance and benefits program is essential to your business value and survival.

QUESTIONS TO ASK AND ANSWER

  • What will happen to my business and family if I die or become disabled? 
  •  What will happen if certain key employees die or become permanently disabled? 
  •  How can I attract and retain the best employees? 
  •  How can I help ensure that my business will be able to weather unforeseen financial hardships? 
  • What will happen to my business when I retire? 

We can help!

American Insurance Life Agents can help you answer these questions with these resources and their professional knowledge.

  • Free Planning Guide - Click and download this free business planning guide “Taking Care of Business,” available from Life Happens, a nonprofit education organization. 
  • Let’s talk  We invite you to contact us at American Insurance to make an appointment with one of our Life Agents.  We have resources and advice concerning how to fund Business Continuation, Buy-Sell Agreements and Key Persons with the right life insurance program.  

SOURCE: Insurance 101 for Business from Life Happens, a nonprofit education organization. 


Employment Practices Liability (EPLI) – Guide to Employee Lawsuits

Employment Discrimination Lawsuits Hit Small Business

What if you opened your mail today and found a discrimination complaint had been filed against you with the State Human Rights Commission or US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)?  Or worse yet, a civil lawsuit for discrimination had been filed. Your worst day ever would likely stretch to your worst year ever!

Discrimination complaints flow out of State and Federal laws against employment discrimination. They apply to all types of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, training, wages, and benefits. Most federal employee discrimination laws apply to companies with 15 or more employees. States may require compliance from even smaller companies and have laws in place that exceed US Federal recommendations.  These laws are complicated and with the recent #metoo movement complaints are on the rise. 

The 2017 Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits reports that US companies had at least a 10.5% chance of having an employment charge filed against them in 2016, the most recent year statistics are available. A representative study of 1,214 closed claims reported by small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 500 employees showed that 24% of employment charges resulted in defense and settlement costs averaging a total of $160,000. Even though 76% of cases resulted in no payment for judgments, the defense cost and the time, energy and resources expended can significantly impact any business. On average, those matters took 318 days to resolve.

Is special insurance needed?  YES!  Employment discrimination claims are specifically excluded on Commercial General Liability policies (that primarily cover accidental bodily injury or property damage liability claims on your premises or because of your business operations or products).  A newer, specialized form of insurance called “Employment Practices Liability” (EPLI) has developed to help employers insure the litigation costs and judgments resulting from employment discrimination claims.  

Request a free copy from American Insurance of the 2017 Hiscox Guide to Employee Lawsuits.  Learn more about what constitutes discrimination, how charges are brought, high risk states for lawsuits, key state laws, the most common discrimination finding, the cost of employee lawsuits, and three ways to protect your business in the event of a complaint.  Request your free copy by emailing or call Shawn Sullivan, CIC at 208-746-9646 or text to (208) 518-0823. American Insurance agents can provide you information and quotations to consider Employment Practices Liability Insurance to protect your business.

We invite our small business members to contact us online or call (208) 746-9646 or text (208) 518-0823 to make an appointment with one of our Agents. 


2018 - We won Business of the Year Award

AMERICAN INSURANCE was chosen as the “Business of the Year for 2018” by the Lewis Clark Chamber of Commerce.  

This recognition from the business community is an true honor. We strive to be a leader within our industry and actively support our communities.  We live here, work here, and are locally owned and operated for 96 years,” said Shawn Sullivan, President of American Insurance. 

The Sullivans, Philip, John and Shawn (pictured left to right) were presented their award by outgoing Lewis Clark Chamber of Commerce president, Michael Gruben, at their annual awards banquet on January 9, 2019. There were 6 other business nominations in the small business (25 employees or less). 

 American Insurance was selected based on 1) their business mission, stability, and the quality of our business operations, and 2) on their Community activities and leadership, time and resources given to the Chamber, and their business impact on our community. 

“Even though we are considered a small business, American Insurance has tried to make an over-sized impact for our community.  What we lack in funding or resources we make up with hands-on work,” said John B. Sullivan, Chairman of American Insurance.

2018 COMMUNITY EVENTS RECAP: (linked items provide more information)

  • SoupPort YWCA – American Insurance was recognized in February 2018 for being dessert sponsor and multi-year support of the event.
  • Community Sprit Fireworks - John B. Sullivan (our 3rd generation) helped found and for 34 years has continued to support Community Spirit.  He is past president and continues to serve as an officer to spear-head and work at the valley’s Independence Day Fireworks display. This event draws about 3,000 people to Adam’s Field and thousands more watch from other vantage points. It draws surrounding people to the valley over the holiday to benefit local business. In 2018, we set up a PayPal website for online donations.
  • Make More Happen Award – In 2018 American Insurance applied for and received a grant of $10,000 from Safeco Insurance to benefit  our local Community Action Food Bank. The grant was based on our direct work for the food bank and leading a social media campaign to collect 200 likes and shares to publicize their needs. The grant purchased a badly needed fork lift for the warehouse.  
  • Hometown Business Food Drive – 2018 was our 3rd and most successful year! American Insurance created, sponsored, solicited, coordinated 28 other businesses and our employees physically collected and delivered 2,650 lbs of food for our local Community Action Food Bank.
  • Interlink - John Sullivan currently serves on the board of directors and is actively involved in their mission of providing ADA home ramps and essential transportation for local Seniors.  
  • Twin County United Way – American Insurance has provided Stephanie Herbert as a loaned executive to for the last 2 years. 

Our 2018 business achievements include:

Shawn Sullivan, President added, “This is a great honor and would not have been possible without the efforts of Stephanie Herbert, our Events Coordinator and a Chamber Ambassador, as well as entire American Insurance staff who support our Community projects."

John Sullivan got interviewed by Keith Havens of KLEW-TV for a story about this award.

You can watch the interview on the KLEW-TV website here.


2018 - Adding text options for policy services

For your convenience we have added a new way to communicate with us – texting! Cell phones have become part of our everyday life. Now all you have to do is text this number and the message will be routed to your agent. Our new text number is 208-518-0823! 

WHEN TO TEXT US?

Anytime you need policy service or have a claim you can send a text. You can text us a short message and also send pictures.

  • Text message to add or remove vehicles from your auto policy
  • Text pictures of your VIN number, purchase papers 
  • Text claim pictures of your damaged vehicle or home loss 
  • Text accident scene photos, other driver’s license and insurance info 
  • Text us for any insurance service need! (Make sure you identify yourself, if we don’t already have your cell number) 

Your American Insurance agent also has a direct phone number and email address you may want to note. That information is available online in our Staff Directory.

ADD US TO YOUR CONTACTS 

  • 208-746-9646 - Lewiston Office 
  • 800-735-6355 - Toll Free 
  • 208-746-9640 - Lewiston Fax 
  • 208-518-0823 - Text 
  • - Email 
  • 208-882-8544 - Moscow Office 
  • 800-767-0895 - Toll Free 
  • 208-882-7336 - Moscow Fax 
  • 208-518-0823 - Text 
  • - Email 

Need service when we're closed?


2018 - Philip Sullivan receives SOAR award from Safeco

Safeco Insurance Senior Territory Manager, Amy Faucheux, CIC, is shown with Philip Sullivan, CIC and his SOAR award.

Philip Sullivan, CIC, has received the Safeco Outstanding Agent Recognition (S.O.A.R.) Award for 2018.

The S.O.A.R. Award recognizes Philip for his commitment to customer service and performance for American Insurance. Only a select group of employees at local independent insurance agencies across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska are given this honor by Safeco Insurance. 

“American Insurance s pleased that Safeco has honored Philip Sullivan with the S.O.A.R. Award for his exemplary representation of Safeco, passion for excellence, diligence and hard work,”  said John B. Sullivan, Agency president.

Philip joined the agencyin 2004. He is a licensed agent for property, casualty, surety, life and health insurance. Since 2010, Philip has the added responsibility of managing our Personal Lines Department.


Tips on adding a teen driver to your auto policy

Here are 10 teen driving stats that may surprise you and some ways to save money on your auto insurance with a new driver.

Signing your teen up for an approved driver education program can not only reduce their crash risk, but can potentially save you money with the Safeco driver training discount. Other companies may also offer a discount.

Six out of 10 teen crashes are caused by driver distraction.

Before your teen hits the road, set clear rules and expectations of their behavior while behind the wheel - such as a no-phone rule and passenger limit. Reviewing Safeco's Parent-Teen Contract with them is a great place to start.

Help your teen develop safe habits by regularly observing their driving and providing constructive feedback. Safeco's RightTrack program is an excellent coaching tool that can also provide a discount on your insurance.

Contact your American Insurance agent to answer any other questions you have about your teen driver.

Source: Safeco News article, Adding a teen driver to an auto policy?


2018 - 2,655 lbs. of Food Drive donations!

Thanks-a-TON for 2,655 lbs. of Food Drive donations!

Here are John and Philip Sullivan with one of three full pallets of food donations. Also pictured is the new Fork Lift purchased with the Make More Happen $10,000 Award from Safeco Insurance on behalf of American Insurance.

We received 2, 655 lbs. of donations from 28 local small businesses who partnered with American Insurance for the Community Action Partnership Food Bank. YOU HELPED US GIVE THEM A TON OF THANKS-GIVING! 

See pictures below of your friends and neighbors from local hometown businesses who donated for the event. 

HOMETOWN BUSINESSES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE

We have exceeded our goal for the 3rd Annual Hometown Business Food Drive. We appreciate our partnership with these businesses for their food donations large and small.

The Sullivans – John, Shawn, Philip & Staff

American Insurance staff in Lewiston (above) and Moscow (below) brought in their donations for the event.

We welcome Bill Steiner with Steiner Electronics for his 3 years of contributions to our annual event and newcomers Brian Ruddell and staff at Ruddell Chiropractic!

We appreciate our neighbors and 2 year donors Su Brown & Associates here in the Southway Plaza and our 3 year partners Paul and Becky Wright with Sunrise Home Center!

Diana Hughes and her staff with Express Employment Professionals (above) and Hill's Valley Floral & Gift (below) were first time donors for our event. 

Thank you to neighbors Dr. Bret Christensen with Christensen Orthondontics and his staff for their donations to our event.

Larry & Dan with Dan's Helping Hand have helped us for 3 years now. Northwest Engraving Service (below) is a new face for our event so we're happy to welcome him.

Thanks to 2 year donor Andrea Fallon and her staff at Holiday Inn Express, a fellow Lewis Clark Valley Chamber Ambassador with Stephanie Herbert, our Medical Administrative and Marketing Assistant. Newcomer Dave Clark (below, at right) with HomeStreet Bank is also a fellow Chamber Ambassador with Stephanie.

Special thanks to our neighbors and 2 year donors Dr. Mark Sheppard, DDS, and staff for their donations! We appreciate newcomers Robin and the Christmas decor crew at Paramount Pest Control on Snake River Avenue, too!

We appreciate Living Waters Lawn & Landscape for their 2 years of partnership with us! 

Thank you to Karen, Alison and Pete Larson with Precision Signs and new donor Southway Animal Clinic (below) for their animal food donations to help those with furry friends.

A wonderful thank you to Tom & Ryan Turnbow and staff at PrintCraft Printing for their partnership for our event and 2 year donors Jeff and Dr. Anne Simon of Simon Audiology.

A great thank you to 2 year donors from the Institute of Physical Therapy (above) on Southway Avenue and to Paul Markwalter with King Services (below) for his cash donation toward our event.

Thanks to 2 year donors Isaac Mendez and his friends with Ideal Fitness.

A wonderful thank you to close clients Tobe and Alicia Finch and their staff at Happy Day Catering and Taylor and Denver with Denver's Window Shine for all their donations to our event. 

A few businesses that didn't have a chance for a staff photo but are just as important for their donations include Hogan's Pub in Clarkston, Deranleau's in Lewiston, Guardian Plumbing, Heating & A/C and JetCo Machine & Fabrication, and Motion Industries. Thank you for your donations!

 

Need more information or ready to sign up for this year's event?

Contact our Event Coordinator Stephanie Herbert at or (208) 413-6242.

Watch for updates along the week on our Facebook events page here

Read more archives of our past food drives:


Business Planning - SWOT it!

SWOT IT! 

As a business owner it’s time to make plans for a new year of success! One common planning technique is listing out your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats -  also known as the SWOT test.

THREATS 

Unfortunately, one of the biggest fundamental threats to any business sometimes doesn’t make the list, “What happens if you or key employee dies or becomes disabled?” In most small businesses, you are responsible for two families: the one you have at home, and the one you have through work. 

If you or a key employee dies or becomes disabled, insurance can help protect your family and your business.  But, no matter what size or type of business you manage, a well-conceived insurance and benefits program is essential to your business value and survival.

QUESTIONS TO ASK AND ANSWER

  • What will happen to my business and family if I die or become disabled? 
  •  What will happen if certain key employees die or become permanently disabled? 
  •  How can I attract and retain the best employees? 
  •  How can I help ensure that my business will be able to weather unforeseen financial hardships? 
  • What will happen to my business when I retire? 

We can help!

American Insurance Life Agents can help you answer these questions with these resources and their professional knowledge.

  • Free Planning Guide - Click and download this free business planning guide “Taking Care of Business,” available from Life Happens, a nonprofit education organization. 
  • Let’s talk  We invite our fellow chamber members and other small business community members to contact us at American Insurance to make an appointment with one of our Life Agents.  We have resources and advice concerning how to fund Business Continuation, Buy-Sell Agreements and Key Persons with the right life insurance program.  

SOURCE: Insurance 101 for Business from Life Happens, a nonprofit education organization. 


Shawn Sullivan named President in 2019

Fourth generation takes helm of family owned agency  

Shawn D. Sullivan, CIC, is now serving as President of American Insurance effective Jan. 1, 2019. The announcement was made at the agency’s Dec. 14 annual staff meeting. Shawn represents the fourth generation of Sullivans to serve as president of American Insurance, now in its 97th year of business.

Shawn (pictured left) received the ceremonial passing of the gavel from his father, John B. Sullivan (pictured right), who has served as president since 1996.  John has taken the title of Chairman and will continue to service his select clients while providing transition guidance over the next four years.

John’s son, Philip J. Sullivan, CIC, was named as vice president of the Agency.  He will also continue as Personal Lines manager with added duties of operations management.

Shawn Sullivan joined American Insurance 25 years ago in 1994.  He is a licensed agent for all lines of insurance and is experienced in every type of personal and business insurance – auto, property, liability, crime, inland marine, bonds, and workers compensation. Shawn specializes in insurance for non-profit organizations, public/government entities, public schools, assisted living homes, contractors and bonding.

Shawn received and maintained his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation since 2002. He is a past president of the Lewiston Independent Insurance Agents Association. Shawn has managed the Moscow branch office since 1996 and now will provide the vision and strategic planning for American Insurance. The agency has 20 employees in two offices with insurance customers in seven western states. Shawn will continue to split his time between Moscow and Lewiston to best serve his customers.

Shawn was born and raised in north Idaho. He graduated from Culdesac High School in 1989, received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho in 1994 and then immediately joined the family insurance business at American Insurance.


2018 - Transforming & Moving our Moscow office

We have purchased the former Whitney Attorney building at 604 South Washington in Moscow. It sits on the SE corner of Washington and 6th Street, across from Umpqua Bank and kiddie corner from the Moscow Food Co-Op downtown. Renovations were done inside and out.

We are excited to have a permanent home to match our commitment to Moscow and the Palouse.

New location at 604 S Washington St, Moscow 

The Moscow office has moved now into our new office location at 604 S Washington St (the former Whitney Law office). 

The Sullivan family owns the building and AMERICAN INSURANCE occupies the entire main floor. The lower level is occupied by the Jay Johnson Law Office and Express Employment Professionals. After we settle in, we will invite you to a Holiday Open House, tentatively set for the week of Dec. 10-14. 

CHANGES INSIDE AND OUT

We have made extensive changes inside and out. 

Outside – As you can see there is new paint to brighten up the building! At press time we are finishing up the new landscaping, new stairs leading up to basement stairwell, new hand railings and new signage. 

Inside – Everything is new! New wiring and cabling, new light fixtures, new ceiling texture, new inside paint, new tile and carpet, new ADA bathroom and new reception bathroom. We will confirm the dates in Newspaper ads and email invitations. We are excited to have a permanent home to match our commitment to Moscow and the Palouse. 

Thank you for your business and continued confidence that makes this progress possible. 

The Sullivans - John, Shawn, Philip & Moscow Staff (Jeremy, Dina, Aimee, & Karyl)

More articles related to…


2018 - Make More Happen Award winner

YOU MADE IT HAPPEN!  

Our thanks to all who “liked” and “shared” the Safeco Make More Happen post to benefit our Community Action Partnership (CAP) Food Banks.  Safeco offered to double the original grant through a social media campaign to help bring more awareness to the good work and needs of our local food banks. You responded with more than 200 “likes” and "comments" and "shares" that secured the additional $5,000 award for a total grant of $10,000 to the CAP Food Banks.  

Steve Small, the food bank program manager for CAP in Lewiston, thanked the community members who helped us to reach our goal, Safeco Insurance, and John Sullivan and the staff at American Insurance and for making this wonderful contribution possible.

“The award from the Make More Happen will be used to largely defray the expense of a new forklift for our Food Bank warehouse,” Steve said. “Our existing forklift  approximately 20 years old, and no longer is functional in moving food into and around the warehouse, so the award could not have come at a better time, and makes it possible to fulfill an urgent and immediate need.”

$10,000 CHECK DELIVERED -- A $10,000 check was presented by Safeco Insurance Senior Territory Manager, Amy Faucheux, CIC (center) for the Make More Happen Award to Community Action Partnership’s food bank program manager, Steve Small (first left) and Executive Director, Lisa Stoddard (second from left) on behalf of American Insurance, John B. Sullivan, President (second from right) and Shawn Sullivan, VP (far right).

American Insurance, the largest Safeco Insurance representative agency in Lewiston, applied for the grant based on our support of the food bank though our annual “Hometown Business Food Drive”.

We thought if we could coordinate, partner and empower other  local small businesses we could make a huge impact together,” John Sullivan said. “The success of our Hometown Business Food Drive reinforces the fact that businesses like these are the backbone of a community.”

Small said American Insurance has been a wonderful partner to families in need in our community. 

“The contributions from the food drive, and the cash donations are very helpful, and greatly add to our ability to serve these families,” he said. 

In 2016, more than 700 pounds of food was gathered from agency staff, friends and eight businesses in Lewiston, with a $500 American Insurance donation added for good measure. The following year, those numbers jumped to over 1,800 pounds of food, plus a $1,000 donation with 22 businesses involved. That’s not even counting the efforts of American’s Moscow office, about 30 miles away, which held a separate drive.

Safeco presented a Make More Happen Award plaque to the staff of Community Action Partnership.
A closeup of the plaque.

CAP puts those donations to good use — in 2017, the organization reached more than 37,000 households and nearly 90,000 individuals in five Idaho counties, Small said. Those in need can receive fresh produce and perishable foods regularly, boxes with non-perishable items several times a year, and even hygiene and personal-care items as needed.

Small called the ongoing partnership between CAP and American Insurance inspirational. 

“They identified a need within their hometown, decided to take action, and did so in a well- planned and coordinated effort that brought in other businesses and individuals to assist in the effort,” he said. “And looking forward, the effort continues to make it a bigger and better drive every year. Add to that the application for, and successful award of, the Make more Happen Award, and it would be hard to imagine a more committed and effective partner in implementing our vision at Community Action Food Bank.”

Read more about the Safeco Make More Happen Award and our annual food drive on the Safeco note here.

More articles related to…



Are you liable for an accident?

Questions of liability follow every incident that hurts someone or damages their property. For a variety of reasons, the general person's understanding of what constitutes ”legal liability” is different from the reality. For example, would you be legally liable in the following examples:

  • Your tree limb blew down in a windstorm and damages your neighbor’s car. 
  • You suffer a heart attack while driving your car and hit another car injuring the occupants. 
  • A customer visits your business, loses their balance and falls down breaking their hip.

It might surprise you to know that in each of these cases you are not presumed to be legally liable. Generally, in accidental tort cases, to be found legally liable you must have committed an act of “negligence”.

Negligence is the failure to exercise the degree of care considered reasonable under the circumstances, resulting in an unintended injury to another party.

In the business examples above, as a business owner you owe a duty to your customers (invitees) to provide a reasonably safe shopping environment free of hazards that might cause injury. If a customer trips over an extension cord you put across an aisle, falls and is injured you would likely be held liable due to negligence. But, if a person loses their balance and falls without encountering a hazard, then there was no breach in your duty and no negligence has occurred.

So, accidents happen but not all accidents are caused by negligence. You are not liable just because someone asserts you are. Technically, you are not legally liable for damages unless declared so by a jury or judge. When lawsuits are filed and taken to a jury the litigation costs can be very high and judgments are unpredictable. That’s why the vast majority of tort cases alleging negligence are negotiated and settled before trial.

AMERICAN INSURANCE has liability insurance coverage available for every kind of personal and business need. 

Contact your Agent for the advice of our professional agents and free coverage quotations. 

Find more articles from American Insurance related to…



2018 - Best of the West winner


The votes are in! AMERICAN INSURANCE is honored to be once again selected as “Best of the West” insurance agency for 2018. 

The Sullivans & staff are very proud to be chosen and always strive to be worthy of your continued trust.

Check out all the “Best of the West” winners for 2018 here

THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTES!

Did you know that American Insurance has won BEST of the WEST for 5 years now? 

You named our agency the Best of the West and we want to keep it that way. How do we rate in your eyes? Fill out our very short Customer Service Experience form online and receive a $5 lunch or coffee Gift Card (some restrictions apply). Find out more about that offer here.

THANKS, AGAIN, FOR YOUR VOTES!


2018 - Soup-Porting the YWCA!

American Insurance was recognized by the YWCA of Lewiston-Clarkston for being the dessert sponsor for their Soup-Porting the YWCA fundraiser.. The 2018 fundraising event was held on Feb. 23. 

Amanda Wilhelm, YWCA community engagement manager, presented a framed certificate of appreciation and Soup-Port wooden spoon to John Sullivan, President of American Insurance.

Sullivan said, “We ordered soup for our entire staff and also sponsored dessert for attendees.  The soup is delicious and the one-of-a-kind hand painted bowls are great collector’s items. We look forward to the event each February.”

The annual event was an overwhelming success to raise money for the support of the vital shelters for adults and children that are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and other crimes.


Fireworks - Community Spirit adds online donation option

By John B. Sullivan, Agency President

You are part of something BIG!  Your trust and confidence in AMERICAN INSURANCE has made it possible for us to be a major sponsor of the valley’s Independence Day Fireworks Celebration since 1985. As costs have risen for the big fireworks display, Community Spirit is needing to broaden its community support to fully fund a bigger and better show. We receive some donations from those who attend inside Adam’s Field.  But, the thousands of valley residents who enjoy these 4th of July fireworks from their homes, boats, levees and scenic vantage points have not had a way to support the show – until now. Now, there is a convenient way for everyone to join us in supporting this important patriotic event with a small donation.

HOW TO DONATE TO THE FIREWORKS DISPLAY

Secure donations can now be made to Community Spirit by credit card online at www.lcvalleyfireworks.org. 

It’s easy, quick and secure!  Your $10 or more will go a long way to sustain our annual birthday celebration of America. Admission to Adam’s Field is free with donations welcomed and accepted also on July 4th.

If you'd rather donate offline, you may mail a check to:

  • Community Spirit, c/o American Insurance
  • 55 Southway Ave
  • Lewiston, ID 83501

For more information or to donate offline, contact Stephanie at American Insurance at (208) 413-6242 or .


2019 - Idaho health rates proposed

by American Insurance News Release on Aug 07, 2018

The Idaho Department of Insurance (DOI) has posted proposed health insurance premium rates and the requested increases for plans sold starting January 2019.

Health insurance companies have submitted their rating information including explanations for the rate increases. The Department encourages consumers to carefully review all of their options with a licensed insurance agent whether purchasing coverage on or off the exchange (Your Health Idaho) once the final rates are published. 

AMERICAN INSURANCE, as an independent agency, can write coverage through many companies allowing us to quote and find our clients the best rate options – no matter whether they need individual or group health coverage. “Our Certified Health Agents can review options for deductible amounts, premium subsidies and tax credits for each company with our clients,” said John B. Sullivan, AMERICAN INSURANCE President. Sullivan added, “Just call us for free quotes – both inside and outside the Exchanges. We represent Blue Cross of Idaho and Regence BlueShield of Idaho for our Idaho clients, or Premera Blue Cross and LifeWise for our Washington clients.” 

For Individual plans that are most popular in the LC Valley and Palouse region:

See rates by specific plan types for the 838 zip codes published on the DOI website here and for the 835 zip codes published on the DOI website here.

For Small Group Rates, the increases in plans popular in our area are even smaller.

See rates by specific plan types for the 838 zip codes published on the DOI website here and for the 835 zip codes published on the DOI website here.

The DOI will continue to review the insurance carriers’ submissions. Final rates will be publicly available around mid-September or early October.

You may contact AMERICAN INSURANCE certified health agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, at (208) 746-9646 or at or online here for more information about individual or group health insurance.


NEWSLETTERS from American Insurance

Here are some of our recent newsletters! Find older archives, listed below.

2019 SUMMER NEWSLETTER  - Read about ...

  • Traditions Worth Celebrating
  • Why did my rate change?
  • Direct Customer Service information
  • Certificates of Insurance
  • Best of the West award winner
  • Moscow Office Changes

2019 SPRING NEWSLETTER - Read about ...

  • The Gavel has Passed to the 4th Generation
  • Free Document Shredding Event April 15-19
  • Uninsured Motorist Coverage Now Required
  • What Customers Say 
  • Welcome Natasha Sullivan 
  • Preventing Email Scams

2018 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about ...

  • Together We Make More Happen
  • Third Annual Food Drive
  • Customer Service Reviews
  • Text Us At 208-518-0823 - Convenient New Way to Contact Us!
  • Final 2019 Health Premium Rates - Individual Medical Plan Rates - ID & WA
  • Workers’ Comp Rates Decrease in Idaho
  • Our Moscow Office Has Moved! New location at 604 S Washington St, Moscow

2018 SUMMER NEWSLETTER  - Read about ...

  • What’s next for the big fireworks display?
  • Hiring a contractor? Why you need to get proof of insurance.  
  • Soup-Porting the YWCA! 
  • Direct Customer Service
  • Liability - Am I liable? 
  • Who must call 811? 
  • Best of the West Winners Announced 
  • Refer-a-Friend rewards program 
  • Transforming our future Moscow office 

2018 SPRING NEWSLETTER - Read about ...

  • Cyber Crime - How to Win the Cyber Battle
  • Free Document Shredding Event April 16-20
  • Will Freezing My Credit Affect My Insurance Rates?
  • Customer Service Reviews
  • We Insure Fun!
  • Cyber Liability Business Insurance - Should I insure this new business threat?
  • What do you know about cyber security?
  • New Medicare Cards Starting in April 2018
  • Marketplace Double Check

2017 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about ...

  • How It All Began - Founder OM Mackey
  • Second Annual Food Drive
  • Do you Need an Umbrella? When it rains, it pours!
  • Lights – Camera – Action!
  • Status Report: ACA Open Enrollment
  • Shawn Sullivan honored by national professional organization

2017 SUMMER NEWSLETTER  - Read about...

  • Celebrating America
  • Fireworks & your liability - what if something goes wrong?
  • Customer service agent contact information
  • Introducing Aimee Martinez, Customer Service Agent in Moscow
  • Homeowners - Beware of Business Exclusions
  • Celebrating 95 years - History Brief on our logo 

2017 SPRING NEWSLETTER - Read about ...

  • Celebrating 95 years - Agency Pioneers, Harry & Blanche (Sullivan) Christy
  • Free Document Shredding Event
  • Identity Theft - Not if, but when!
  • Welcome Shelly Abel (Personal Lines Agent)
  • Facebook Likes - $5 Coffee Gift Card offer
  • Auto Windshield Glass Coverage - Glass Repair, Replacement and $0 Deductibles
  • We insure fun!
  • Marketplace Double Check - How we find you the lowest insurance rates
  • Customer Service Reviews

2016 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about ...

  • 2017 – A Year of Change - Changes in premium rates are coming.
  • Season of Sharing - Food Drive scheduled
  • The Down Side of Personal Service - What? Is there a down side to personal service?
  • Last chance for Obamacare - Subsidized Medical Insurance - What is changing and when?
  • Life Changes Reminders - Have you had a life change recently? If so, we can help you during this transition.
  • Congratulations on your retirements! - Two valued employees are retiring from full-time employment

2016 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Independence - The American Advantage
  • Roadside Assistance - Help when you need it most!
  • Fireworks Event Schedule - 31 years as major sponsor
  • Insuring trailers - Do I need specific coverage?
  • Refer-a-Friend rewards program
  • Marketplace Double Check - How we find you the lowest insurance rates

2016 SPRING NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Catching Up with: John Sullivan, Part 1
  • Free Document Shredding Event
  • New Direct Dial Service Numbers
  • Marketplace Double Check - How we find you the lowest insurance rates
  • We Insure Fun - Boats, Motorcycles, RVs and ATVs

2015 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Don't Shop Until You Drop - How We Find You the Best Insurance Rates
  • Helping Small Business Manage Risk - get free risk management White Papers
  • Call Us Direct - new direct dial numbers to your Customer Service Agent
  • Customer Service Reviews - the latest customer comments
  • Personal Auto Policy - Options Most People Wish They Had Considered
  • Health Insurance Exchanges - Enrollment Deadline is Dec 15th
  • Refer-a-Friend - How you can get a $10 gift card for referring friends that quote.
  • The Year That Was - A collage of pictures from 2015.

2014 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Great Customer Service Means What?
  • Welcome Bashore Policyholders
  • Spotlight On The Personal Lines Service Team
  • Make Your Own Customer Service Review
  • Grange Farm & Commercial Agent 
  • Round 2 of ACA Open Enrollment
  • Out‐Of‐The‐Box Thinking - Getting around the new Roundabout
  • Sully’s Sillies

2013 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • ACA / ObamaCare deadline extended 
  • ACA Health Exchange - Who Needs A Quotation?
  • Facebook reviews
  • Roundabout Honks
  • A Legacy to Remember - Remembering Frank "Sully" Sullivan
  • Sully’s Sillies 
  • Referral Rewards Grand Prize Winner
  • Welcome Jeremy Smithee, Moscow Agent
  • Introducing Renee Wassell

2013 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Down Under Perspectives
  • 2013 Best of the West
  • Health Agents Play Critical Role
  • Independence Day Fireworks Schedule
  • Thank You to all who have served our country
  • Roundabout We Go! Intersection closures, detours and delays
  • Philip Sullivan Promoted
  • Sully's Sillies
  • The Rat & The Wind - A special insert 

2012 FALL NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Come celebrate with us! 90 year celebration
  • Timeline - Important dates in the history of American Insurance
  • Harry Christy & Blanche “Sullivan” Christy, Agency Pioneers
  • A biography about Frank “Sully” Sullivan
  • Open House Invitation

2012 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • 7 reasons to Like Us on Facebook
  • 2012 Best of the West
  • Customer Service Comments
  • Boating Is a Blast!
  • Happy Birthday America!
  • Independence Day Fireworks schedule
  • A Love of the Classics!
  • Congratulations Philip ‐ New Designation
  • Sully's Sillies
  • 90th Anniversary Party ‐ Coming Soon!

2011 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Market Forecast 2012
  • Referral Rewards Winners 
  • Medical & Medicare Updates
  • News You Can Use
  • Water Damage ‐  Am I Covered?
  • Savings Tip ‐ The Missing Discount
  • One Last Joke for Dee
  • Win an iPad  ‐ Referral Rewards

2011 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Why We Need To Talk!
  • Rental Cars - What coverage is provided by my auto policy?
  • Auto Policy - Is pizza delivery excluded?
  • Customer Service Comments
  • The 1752 Philadelphia Contributionship
  • Homeowners - Beware of Business Exclusions
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • The Most Referred Name In Insurance!
  • Independence Day Fireworks

2010 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Happy Holidays!
  • Referral Rewards Winner
  • New Website a HIT ! 
  • Customer Service Comments
  • News You Can Use
  • Donate To Your Local CAP Food Bank
  • Wind Damage – Am I Covered?
  • Introducing Introducing Introducing Tracey Santo
  • Sully's Sillies

2010 FALL NEWSLETTER - Read about ...

  • Visit our new website!
  • Community Service
  • The most referred name in Home Insurance!
  • Referral Rewards
  • Sully's Sillies

2010 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Independence Day Fireworks - 25 years as major sponsor
  • Free lunch and $700 in savings report from Ken Blakeman
  • We insure fun!
  • Ne Idaho registration and licensing requirements
  • Fireworks Event Schedule
  • John Adams to his wife, Abigail
  • Health care reform update
  • The most referred name in insurance!
  • Lender spotlight - James Waham of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
  • Referral Rewards winners
  • Sully's Sillies
  • Referral Rewards program

2010 SPRING NEWSLETTER - Read about...

  • Over 400 Customer Referrals
  • Quoted Saved $462
  • My House was on FIRE!
  • Community Service gift - $20,000 gift to Boys & Girls Club
  • Health Care Reform - What happens next?
  • Referral Rewards winners
  • Sully's Sillies
  • Referral Rewards program

And, come back soon to find even more past newsletters from our archives!

More archived newsletters


RENTERS INSURANCE – EXPLAINED

Renters or Tenants Insurance is a fundamental insurance coverage for anyone who rents an apartment as their primary residence.  In the US there are more than 43 million renter-occupied units yet only 41% buy Renters Insurance according to an Insurance Information Institute poll.  The reason for this gap is likely that a high percentage of renters are young people living on their own for the first time and they lack the financial resources and experience to understand how Renters Insurance truly benefits them. Both reasons are due to lack of information because the truth is that a typical Renters Insurance policy only costs from $10 to $25 per month and the coverage provided is essential to a renter’s financial protection.

WHAT DOES RENTERS INSURANCE COVER?

When we talk about Renters Insurance we are referring to a discounted, personal insurance package policy (most commonly an HO-4 Policy Form) available from all major insurance companies. The package includes four separate coverages:

  1. Coverage C – Personal Property
    (Contents): This is all the stuff you own personally (other than things like vehicles and real property) like your clothes, furniture, dishes, appliances, tools, computers, TVs, electronics, bicycles, etc.  You must estimate and pick a limit of insurance for the “Replacement Cost” value of all your Personal Property. Your personal property, up to the limit selected, is then insured at the residence premises and anywhere in the world for typically 16 “broad named perils” ranging from fire, theft and vandalism to damage from accidental discharge of water from a plumbing device and volcanic eruption  - if it’s on the list, it’s a covered loss subject to any specific exclusions, limitations and the payment of a deductible (usually $500) per loss.  You normally receive a loss settlement of the cost to repair or replacement the item (new for old – like kind and quality without depreciation).  Common losses include theft, fire, vandalism and water damage.
  2.  Coverage D – Loss of Use:  After an insured property loss, if you can’t live in your apartment while it is being repaired, you will receive an “Additional Living Expense” for any necessary increase in living expenses. Your limit of insurance is normally 20% of your Coverage C – Personal Property limit (i.e., $25,000 Personal Property provides 20% or $5,000 limit for Loss of Use).  No deductible applies to this coverage.  The most common losses are fire and water damage requiring extensive repairs.
  3. Coverage E
    -  Personal Liability: The Personal Liability protection will defend and pay a claim if you or a family member living with you is liable for an accident (excluding motorized vehicles, etc) that causes injury or property damage to others anywhere, not just at the rented premises.  You must select a Liability coverage limit that can range from $50,000 to $500,000. Typical liability claims involve dog bites, trip/slip/fall accidents, and accidents that damage property of others.
  4. Coverage F - Medical Payments:
    regardless of fault or liability, the medical expenses can be paid for a guest to your premises that is accidentally injured (most commonly a trip/fall), up to the limit purchased on the policy. The Renters Insurance policy will typically have an automatic Medical Payment limit from $500 to $2,000.  Higher limits may be available at your request.  

What’s missing?  A Renters Insurance policy is structured like a Homeowners Policy but minus Coverage A – Dwellings  and Coverage B – Other Structures. They are not included in a Renters insurance policy because as a renter you don’t own and aren’t responsible to insure the apartment building or outbuildings.  That is the responsibility of the Landlord.

Take the QUIZ!  OK, now test your knowledge about Renters Insurance. Just click and take this Renters Insurance Quiz.

Renters Insurance policies vary somewhat from company to company and state to state. The coverage explanations and claim examples here are necessarily brief. All policies contain additional coverages, conditions, specific exclusions and limitations.  Read your policy for complete information. For personalized coverage and a quotation for your individual insurance needs, you are invited to Contact Us at AMERICAN INSURANCE and speak to one of our helpful agents.


Renters’ Insurance - QUIZ

Think you know what Renters’ Insurance covers?  In the US there are more than 43 million renter-occupied units yet only 41% buy renters’ insurance according to an Insurance Information Institute poll.

 Take this Renters’ Insurance QUIZ  and test your knowledge.

TRUE OR FALSE:  A Renters’ Insurance policy….

  1.  Is not needed because the landlord’s insurance policy will pay for a renter’s personal belongings lost in a fire or theft.  T or F
  2. Will pay your extra expenses if you are forced to temporarily move out of your unit after a covered loss.  T or F
  3. Will replace your Personal Property items, but only while inside your unit when stolen. T or F
  4. Will pay medical expenses for a guest that is accidentally injured in your unit. T or F
  5. Provides Personal Liability protection for you or any family member living with you if an accident causes injury or property damage to others anywhere in the world. T or F
  6. Is expensive and costs as much or more than Auto Insurance.  T or F

Find the ANSWERS to our Renters Insurance quiz here.

NOTE: Renters’ or Tenants’ Insurance refers to the typical HO-4 Policy Form available from all major insurance companies.  For specific coverage information and a quotation for your individual insurance needs, you are invited to Contact Us at AMERICAN INSURANCE and speak to one of our helpful agents.


Helping businesses find health coverage for employees

Published on Feb 01, 2016

Local agents with AMERICAN INSURANCE in Lewiston can help area business owners find qualified individual health insurance coverage for your employees, their spouses and dependents to meet health care mandates.

“We provide free quotes and free enrollment assistance in Washington and Idaho for business owners and their employees, including providing multiple options for their consideration,” said Dave Root, a certified health insurance agent with AMERICAN INSURANCE in Lewiston. “We can also explain the differences between each one, investigate cost sharing possibilities that are available and we also offer enrollment assistant to complete the enter process and get the insurance coverage you need.”

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The health insurance agents can help you find lower cost options with the use of Advanced Premium Tax Credits through the exchanges in Idaho and Washington, even outside the open enrollment period.

“All Affordable Care Act plans are guaranteed regardless of health conditions, so we can find one to meet health care mandates,” Root added. “In the end, we can provide you with adequate coverage to protect your family while also eliminating penalties for being uninsured.”

Agents can share details about all the options we have available, from a company sponsored group medical plan to giving a presentation to share information with your employees so they can sign up for an individual or family insurance plan.

Do you need health coverage? Idaho and Washington residents may contact our Exchange certified health agents Dave Root or Tim Gleason at  or at 208-746-9646 or contact us online to set an appointment here.


Beware of scam alert for enrollment

Published Aug 10, 2016

The Idaho Department of Insurance is alerting Idaho residents about a possible scam by a company using deceptive practices to market health insurance in Idaho. Your Health Idaho, Idaho’s health insurance exchange, has received complaints from consumers about an organization called "National Enrollment Center". 

Multiple attempts to contact this company went unanswered or were disconnected.

“Idaho residents should be wary of phone solicitations for medical insurance”, said John B. Sullivan, President of American Insurance. “It is far safer for consumers to work with local agents that are known to you and are regulated by the Idaho Department of Insurance. There is local assistance available from Exchange/Marketplace certified agents at no cost who will help you quote all available plans, see if you qualify for premium subsidy, discuss your individual health coverage needs and then secure you the ACA qualified health plan of your choice.”

The Department of Insurance has a list of tips and information for consumers who are contacted by anyone attempting to sell insurance:

  • Open enrollment for health insurance runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31 (update  2017 – no special “state enrollment period” for individual health insurance exists. Anyone offering insurance plans through an “enrollment period” outside of open enrollment is not selling an ACA-compliant policy.
  • No one offering ACA-compliant health care coverage will ask if you have a pre-existing condition.
  • The federal government will not call you to sell you health insurance. Be wary of telemarketers from the “National Enrollment Center,” “National Healthcare Center,” or other official-sounding names.
  • Never provide bank account or health information or agree to any request to send money over the phone. If you are being pressured to provide this information, hang up.
  • Purchase insurance only from a licensed agent. Ask agents for their license number and verify licensure by calling the Department or visiting the website, www.doi.idaho.gov. If a person refuses to provide licensing information, hang up.
  • If you receive a sales call from someone selling health insurance, ask the caller to send you information in writing about the policy, including premiums. If they refuse, hang up.

For more information or help with medical insurance please contact us at American Insurance.

Source: Idaho Department of Insurance News Release: Possible Health Insurance Enrollment Scam


2018 - Washington health plans certified

Published on Oct 11, 2017

American Insurance health agents can explain changes, show options for local clients.

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board certified the Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) and Qualified Dental Plans (QDPs) to offered through Washington Healthplanfinder for 2018 coverage. Plans certified were available for purchase during the upcoming open enrollment period.

Rates for the certified health plans represent a 24 percent increase over those available through the Exchange last year for 2017 coverage. Family dental plans saw a two percent increase from the previous year. Many consumers will have these increases offset by federally-provided tax credits that help lower the cost of monthly health insurance premiums.

American Insurance health agents, Dave Root and Tim Gleason, have received updated training and certifications for this health coverage. 

“We will know which direction we are headed when national decisions are made that will affect these Washington rates,” said Root. “We can offer our expertise to explain what these plans mean and which of them are available for our local clients.”

Tax credits are offered only through the Exchange and are calculated based on the price of second-lowest cost silver plans. These rates represent the current market conditions where cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) remain funded by the federal government.

However, should the federal government stop funding CSRs at some point in 2018, the OIC has determined that they may legally adjust the original lower rate to the approved higher rates of silver plans in the Exchange.

As federal law requires insurance companies to discount out-of-pocket costs to customers who qualify for CSRs in silver plans, if the federal government stops funding CSRs, insurance companies would be responsible for those payments. The increase takes into account the impact of insurance companies assuming CSR payments. 

The uncertainty surrounding cost-sharing reductions continues to weigh heavily on our state’s individual market,” said Pam MacEwan, CEO of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. “We presume that the lower rate will carry through the 2018 plan year as funding for CSRs continues from the federal government. That said, it is important to prepare for a scenario where the federal government discontinues those payments.”

During their special meeting on certification, the Exchange Board approved a total of 41 QHPs, two QDPs and four pediatric dental plans that will be offered to all residents through Washington Healthplanfinder.

Get Local, No-Cost Assistance

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.

Source: Washington Health Plan Finder, News Release, Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board Certifies 2018 Health and Dental Plans.

More 2018 health care news


2018 - Idaho individual medical premiums increase

Published on Oct 12, 2017

American Insurance health agents are certified to show all options to local clients.

Individual medical plan premiums through Your Health Idaho, the Idaho exchange, went up in 2018.

The Idaho Department of Insurance announced the final 2018 premium rates.  While the overall rate increases on Bronze and Gold plans were less than 10 percent, the average increase on Silver plans was 40 percent. The Department allowed carriers to price the Silver plans to account for the potential loss of federal funding for Cost Share Reductions, or CSRs.

“The rate increases, in particular on Silver level plans, are definitely greater than we would like. There is legitimate uncertainty regarding continued federal payments of CSRs, which is a benefit carriers are required to provide by law to eligible, low-income individuals,” said Idaho Department of Insurance Director, Dean Cameron.  “If the federal government commits to fund the CSRs in 2018, the Silver rates could be reduced over 20%.”

American Insurance Health Agents, Tim Gleason and Dave Root, are certified for the Idaho and Washington Health Exchanges.  They can shop all plans in the exchange and educate you on the differences and coverage that each plan offers. 

“Our exchange certified Agents know how to find the best options to match your needs, with access to multiple companies competing for your business,” said Gleason. 

If Congress funds CSRs, the Department would be able to reduce rates accordingly. A rate reduction would also reduce advance premium tax credits. Consumers are encouraged to choose plans carefully, with the understanding that congressional action could affect rates.

While many other states have been struggling to keep even one company in the individual market, Idahoans continue to have at least four companies offering plans in each county for 2018,” said Cameron. “These companies are committed to offering individuals health insurance options and to working with the Department to find state-based solutions such as the dual-waivers we are pursuing with the Department of Health and Welfare.”

The final 2018 rate adjustments and justifications for each carrier are published on the Department website, along with an interactive tool where individuals can click on their geographical location to find plans sold in that area and see the rate adjustments per plan. Individuals can also use the website to compare prices by metal level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Catastrophic).

“American Insurance health agents can provide up-to-date information about which physicians are covered by various plans so they can avoid paying out-of-network rates,” Gleason concluded.

Get Local, No-Cost Assistance 

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.

Source: Idaho Department of Insurance News Release, Insurance Department releases 2018 final individual health insurance rates

More 2018 health news


2018 - Idaho Small Group Medical Premiums Released

Published on Oct 12, 2017

There’s good news for local businesses who offer small group medical coverage for their employees.

The Idaho Department of Insurance released the final 2018 premium rates for all small group health plans. Carriers filed their initial request in June, however, carriers were allowed to revise those initial requests based on the department’s review or other factors. The Department’s only authority is to deem the rate increase unreasonable.

“We are happy to see that these increases are relatively small for this type of coverage,” said John B. Sullivan, American Insurance Agency President. “Our Exchange Certified Health Agents are happy to re-quote the options available for our area businesses to provide this small group coverage, or individual medical plan options for employees and their dependents, if no group medical coverage is offered.”

Carriers propose their rates based on claims experience, network provider agreements, administrative and other costs. After review of the preliminary rates and justifications, the Department did not find the final rate increases to be unreasonable.

 “The small group health insurance market rates have overall been considerably stable during the last two years,” said Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron. “While rate increases are never welcome, the average increase was only 4% from 2016 to 2017, and it is once again 4% from 2017 to 2018. Some carriers are even reducing their rates for small group health insurance in 2018.”

The Department recommends small groups work with a licensed agent or broker to evaluate the various plan options. For example, many plans are closely associated with certain physician groups or hospital systems, and therefore may not have as broad a selection of in-network healthcare providers as other plans. The Department also encourages groups to carefully review the out-of-network provisions of the plans.

“Our health agents can provide that information about which physicians are covered in each plan so you can avoid paying out-of-network rates,” Sullivan added.

The final 2018 rate adjustments and justifications for each carrier offering small group plans are published on the Department website, along with an interactive tool where small employers can click on their geographical location to find plans sold in that area and see the rate adjustments per plan. Small employers can also review prices by metal level (Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum).

Get Local, No-Cost Assistance

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.

Source: Idaho Department of Insurance News Release, Insurance Department releases 2018 final small group health insurance rates.

More 2018 health care news


2018 - ACA premium tax credits require 2017 tax filing

Published Jan 24, 2018

The Idaho and Washington health exchanges are reminding area residents who have not yet filed a federal tax return to do so by the Tax Day deadline or risk losing access to future tax credits.

Customers who enrolled in a Qualified Health Plan with tax credits during 2017 are required to file a federal return with the Internal Revenue Service by Tuesday, April 18 to reconcile the amount of financial help they received.

Here are the necessary steps related to your health coverage and taxes:

  1. Use your 1095-A to complete your taxes. When you file your taxes, use the information from your 1095-A to complete IRS Form 8962: Premium Tax Credit.
  2. To keep your tax credits, you must file your taxes. If you had tax credits in a prior year, you must file your taxes correctly to be eligible for tax credits in the future - even if your income is below the tax filing threshold.
  3. A deadline extension could impact your tax credits. If you file an extension on your taxes, your premium tax credits might be denied or delayed next year.
  4. Make sure your taxes were filed correctly. If you use a tax professional to prepare your taxes, bring them your 1095-A, and double-check that they include Form 8962 with your tax return. To get your 1095-A:

Still need help?

  1. Contact your health agent at or (208) 746-9646 or online here.
  2. Idaho – Visit YHI 1095-A FAQ page at https://www.yourhealthidaho.org/enrollment-resources/tax-information/
  3. Washington - Visit WaHPF 1095-A and 1095-B FAQ page at https://www.wahbexchange.org/current-customers/your-1095-a-statement/1095-a-faqs/
  4. Still need help? Visit the IRS website.

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.


2018 - Enrollments up in area state health exchanges

Published on Dec 27, 2017

Federal health exchange enrollment for 2018 coverage fell only 4.5 percent, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), but state health exchanges saw growth.  The Trump Administration’s hostility to the Affordable Care Act resulted in a much shorter Federal Open Enrollment period, a 90 percent cut in ACA advertising to consumers, a 40 percent cut in consumer helpers called “Navigators” and a 30 percent drop in registered agents to help enroll consumers.

CMS reports that new consumers made up 2,460,431 enrollments, with renewing coverage at 6,283,211 on the national exchange at HealthCare.gov for a total of 8.75 million people. This final snapshot provides cumulative individual plan selections for the 39 states using the HealthCare.gov platform, which does not include Idaho or Washington.

In Idaho, nearly 102,000 Idahoans signed up for 2018 health insurance coverage on the Your Health Idaho exchange.

“This is a testament to Idaho’s model for operating an exchange. Despite the enormous uncertainty from Washington, combined with a shortened enrollment period, Your Health Idaho has been able to serve near record numbers of Idahoans,” said Pat Kelly, executive director of Your Health Idaho.

More than 230,000 customers selected health plans through Washington Healthplanfinder by the Dec. 15 deadline for their coverage to begin on Jan. 1. These plan selections represent a 35 percent increase over the same point in time last year in Washington. The updated total also eclipses the record 225,000 sign-ups documented at the close of the last year’s open enrollment period. The Exchange also saw more than 64,000 new plan selections representing an 89 percent jump in new plan selections from 2016.

“Our agents have done a great job researching plans for new and returning clients in both Idaho and Washington,” said John B. Sullivan, American Insurance President. “By staying on top of the changes, Dave Root and Tim Gleason are able to offer all options in several companies for each area family.”

Enrollments in less expensive bronze plans increased by 15 percentage points in Idaho over the previous year. In total, 101,793 Idahoans enrolled in 2018 health coverage in just half the time of last year. The trend also continued with more new Washington Healthplanfinder subsidy-eligible customers selecting gold plans than previous years. This is due in large part to the increased costs of silver plans that have resulted in more tax credit dollars for those qualifying for subsidies.

The repeal of the individual mandate doesn’t occur until 2019 and is not expected to have a significant impact in Idaho. Your Health Idaho estimates five to seven percent of customers may consider dropping coverage if there is no requirement. “Fortunately, most of our customers have found there is value to being insured,” said Kelly.

You can always request an appointment to discuss your options with an ACA Exchange Certified Health Agent at AMERICAN INSURANCE. 

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.

Sources: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services news releaseWashington Health Plan Finder news releaseYour Health Idaho news release.


2018 - Shorter enrollment period

Published Nov 06, 2017

Individuals, small employers,  employees, dependents, college students – anyone who relies on individual medical insurance coverage – must apply during open enrollment unless they are renewing existing coverage at a different time. 

Unless there is an exception, You must apply during Open Enrollment

The Affordable Care Act Health Exchange Annual Open Enrollment Period began on Nov. 1.

  • In Idaho, the Open Enrollment Period will end on Dec. 15, 2017 for a  Jan. 1, 2018 effective date for the Idaho Health Exchange, Your Health Idaho.  
  • In Washington, the Open Enrollment Period will end for Washington Healthplanfinder, the state Health Exchange, has an extended open enrollment until Jan. 15, 2018, for a Feb. 1, 2018, effective date. 

Premium Subsidies Are Not Changed. To clarify, this information from recent news articles is NOT referring to the premium subsidies (tax credits) that lower the health insurance premiums paid by qualifying lower income Americans. 

GET LOCAL, NO-COST ASSISTANCE 

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.

Only an agent is authorized to explain and recommend specific Exchange health insurance plans for your family. 


2018 - ACA Premium Subsidies Continue

Published Nov 06, 2017

American Insurance is following the latest developments regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  In 2017, enrollments and renewals of ACA Medical Plans will proceed as scheduled. 

You can count on up-to-date information when you contact our ACA Exchange Certified Health Agents.

First, you need to know that President Trump signed a last minute Executive Order in October to stop the Federal government’s reimbursement of “Cost  Sharing” payments made by insurance companies on behalf of certain low income insureds. 

Premium Subsidies Are Not Affected. To clarify, this is NOT referring to the premium subsidies (tax credits) that lower the health insurance premiums paid by qualifying lower income Americans. The Executive Order only effects the deductibles and coinsurance that reduced the out-of-pocket expenses for certain lower income insureds on ACA  medical plans.  Eighteen U.S. states sued President Trump’s administration on Oct. 13 to overturn this Order.   

Bipartisan legislation was then proposed by WA Senator Patty Murray and Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander to  extend the cost sharing subsidies for two more years to stabilize insurance markets and lower insurance premiums. The fate of that legislation was not known at press time.

ACA Health Exchange Annual Open Enrollment Period began on Nov. 1 and will end on Dec. 15, 2017 for a  Jan. 1, 2018 effective date for the Idaho Health Exchange, Your Health Idaho.  The Washington state Health Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, has an extended open enrollment until Jan. 15, 2018, for a Feb. 1, 2018, effective date. 

You may qualify for premium subsidy (tax credits) for an ACA Exchange medical plan. Individuals, small employers,  employees, dependents, college students – anyone who relies on individual medical insurance coverage – must apply during open enrollment unless they are renewing existing coverage at a different time.

GET LOCAL, NO-COST ASSISTANCE 

Idaho and Washington residents are invited to request an appointment with an ACA Exchange Certified Health Agent, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, at AMERICAN INSURANCE. Only an agent is authorized to explain and recommend specific Exchange health insurance plans for your family.  Call our Lewiston office for an appointment at 208-746-9646 or 800-735-6355!


2017 - Health exchange enrollment up in all areas

Published on Dec 27, 2016

Around 6.4 million consumers across the country have signed up for health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act, an increase of 400,000 plan selected from last year.

More than 98,000 Idahoans have selected a 2017 health insurance plan since open enrollment began on Nov. 1. In Washington, more than 180,000 residents have already selected 2017 Qualified Health Plans during Open Enrollment.

With traffic in all areas expected to continue rising, customers needing 2017 coverage are directed to submit an application and lock in their plan selection with an American Insurance Agent immediately to avoid any potential delays.

“With a record 6.4 million consumers selecting plans for Jan. 1, Americans are once again proving that Marketplace coverage is vital to them and their families,” said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “Now, we want uninsured Americans who have not yet signed up to know they have not missed their chance to get covered.

Contact certified health agents Dave Root or Tim Gleason at American Insurance at (208) 746-9646,  or online here to make an appointment for 2017 health coverage.

Total plan selections from Nov. 1 through the extended deadline of Dec. 19 include 2.05 million new consumers and 4.31 million returning consumers actively renewing their coverage. Consumers whose coverage will be automatically renewed in 2017 are not yet included in these totals.

Nearly 85 percent of Idahoans currently enrolled in a plan on the exchange receive a tax credit to help offset monthly premium costs. Your Health Idaho is the only place in the state offering individuals premium tax credits.

Despite uncertainty surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act, Your Health Idaho projected that more than 100,000 Idahoans would enroll in a health insurance plan for 2017.

“We know change is coming,” said Your Health Idaho Executive Director, Pat Kelly. “While adjustments are studied at the state and federal level, we will continue to focus on providing affordable care to Idahoans. This is the highest we’ve seen at the halfway mark for open enrollment, and we are encouraged to see 98,000 Idahoans have already selected a plan for next year.”

Contact certified health agents Dave Root or Tim Gleason at American Insurance at (208) 746-9646,  or online here to make an appointment at any time to discuss your health coverage options. 


2017 - Big medical rate increases ahead

Published Nov 01, 2016

We might think that our local individual health insurance premium increases are hard to swallow, but things could always be worse.

In an article published in the Wall Street Journal, many states have premium increases of 30% or even 50%.

Idaho lucks out with Colorado and Florida at almost 20% increases, while some plans are even decreasing in their costs.In Washington, silver plans will increase less than four percent. During 2016 open enrollment, more than 56 percent of all Qualified Health Plan customers in Washington enrolled in a silver-level plan.

“While other states have seen dramatic reductions in carriers participating on their health insurance exchanges, the good news for Idaho is that we continue to have robust choice Idaho,” said Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron.

As an independent agency, AMERICAN INSURANCE can write coverage through several companies, allowing us to quote competitors to give our clients the best rates – no matter whether they use an individual or group coverage option.

“Our Certified Health Agents can review options for deductible amounts, premiums and tax subsidies each company with our clients,” said John B. Sullivan, AMERICAN INSURANCE President.“Whether a business owner needs a group health policy for many employees, or a single parent needs coverage for a family, or a single adult needs a policy to avoid federal penalties, we can get that coverage for you.”

Carriers propose rates based on claims experience, premiums, network provider agreements, administrative and other costs.

After review of the proposed rates and justifications, most carriers agreed to reduce their revised request. The Idaho Department of Insurance could not find the final rate increases to be unreasonable.

“These network size reductions are the best way the industry has found to reduce costs on our insureds, which is unfortunate but also a better alternative to continuous and even higher price increases,” Sullivan concluded.

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.


2015 - Student Health Insurance Programs canceled

Published  on Aug 06, 2015

Lewis-Clark State College canceled their Student Health Insurance Program (or SHIP) in 2015, due to a change by the Idaho State Board of Education. Other regional schools that also have no SHIP include: Washington State University, Boise State University, Idaho State University and Eastern Idaho Technical College.

Local agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE can help parents find qualified health insurance coverage for your students, who must have it to enroll in Idaho and Washington colleges and universities.

“We work with anxious parents walking them step by step through the process to apply and acquire the student health care coverage,” said Dave Root, a certified health insurance agent with American Insurance in Lewiston. “We offer free personalized quotes on multiple plans, thoroughly explain cost sharing possibilities, and then provide them enrollment assistant to complete the process.”

The University of Idaho SHIP costs $952 per semester while the Walla Walla Community College SHIP is $796 per semester. Root shared that before tax credit discounts, ACA health plans for students aged 18-24, which cover providers in both states and meet other college requirements, range from $101 to $158 per month in Idaho and from $129 to $204 per month in Washington. Agents can help you find even lower cost options through the application of Advanced Premium Tax Credits.

All Affordable Care Act plans are guaranteed regardless of health conditions, and we know what factors are needed to meet college enrollment health care requirements,” Root said. 

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Tim Gleason or Dave Root, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.


2015 - ACA Exchange subsidies secured

Published on Jun 25, 2015

The latest legal attack on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has been decided by the Supreme Court of the United States.  In KING v. BURWELL, plantiff’s argued that the plain language in PPACA says that Federal tax credits (subsidies to reduce premium) “shall be allowed” for any “applicable taxpayer,”26 U. S. C. §36B(a), but only if the taxpayer has enrolled in an insurance plan through “an Exchange established by the State”.  They argued that tax credits for Federal Exchanges should not be allowed.  

Opponents of the PPACA hoped for a decision for King which would have destroyed the financial foundation and derailed the entire health care reform legislation.

The US Supreme Court decided the matter on June 25, 2015 in favor of Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services. The opinion, delivered by Justice Roberts, affirmed the government’s position and said “petitioners’ plain-meaning arguments are strong, but the Act’s context and structure compel the conclusion that Section 36B allows tax credits for insurance purchased on any Exchange created under the Act. Those credits are necessary for the Federal Exchanges to function like their State Exchange counterparts, and to avoid the type of calamitous result that Congress plainly meant to avoid.”

WHAT THIS MEANS TO YOU:  This means if you purchased an individual health plan through a Federal Exchange and received a tax credit subsidy you will still be able to receive this financial assistance to help pay for health insurance costs.  American’s who purchased health insurance from State based exchanges, like those in Washington and Idaho, were not in jeapardy to lose their federal tax subsidies.  Also, it should be noted that group insurance plans for small or large employers were not impacted in any way by this decision.

Source: United States Supreme Court, King v. Burwell Opinion

ABOUT US: AMERICAN INSURANCE has experienced and exchange certified agents that help residents of Idaho and Washington explain your insurance options on the Exchanges. We quote the available plans, explain coverage issues, calculate subsidies and help individuals and families secure affordable medical plans. There are no costs to the consumer for our services. Insurance premiums are the same with or without our assistance.   


2015 - Preventative care benefits expanded

Published Apr 24, 2015

Regence BlueShield of Idaho announced additional new preventative care benefits are now included on all ACA compliant group insurance policies. Regardless of the renewal date of a Regence group insurance policy the expanded preventative care benefits are included as of May 1, 2015.  These new benefits are in addition to the long list of preventative care benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  

New Preventive Care Benefits - Here is a brief list of the added benefits based on recent recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF):

  • Prevention of dental caries in children from birth up to 5 years of age
  • Hepatitis B screening for individuals at increased risk and pregnant women
  • Aspirin use for the prevention of preeclampsia
  • Healthful diet and physical activity for cardiovascular disease prevention in adults with cardiovascular risk factors: Behavioral counseling
  • One-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) with ultrasonography in men ages 65 to 75 years who have ever smoked
  • Intensive behavioral counseling for all sexually active adolescents and for adults who are at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea in sexually active women age 24 years and younger and in older women who are at increased risk for infection

Regence BlueShield of Idaho has updated their preventive care brochure. Regence members may be required to meet certain criteria to be eligible for these benefits.

  • Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.

Source: Regence BlueShield of Idaho 


2015 - Medicare shifting from volume to value

Published Jan 26, 2015

Goals and a timeline are being set to move the Medicare program, and the health care system at large, toward paying providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity of care they give patients. This historic announcement was made by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell after a meeting with nearly two dozen leaders representing consumers, insurers, providers and business leaders.

This is the first time in the history of the Medicare program that HHS has set explicit goals for alternative payment models and value-based payments. HHS has set a goal of tying 30 percent of traditional, or fee-for-service, Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) or bundled payment arrangements by the end of 2016, and tying 50 percent of payments to these models by the end of 2018.  HHS also set a goal of tying 85 percent of all traditional Medicare payments to quality or value by 2016 and 90 percent by 2018 through programs such as the Hospital Value Based Purchasing and the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Programs. 

Whether you are a patient, a provider, a business, a health plan, or a taxpayer, it is in our common interest to build a health care system that delivers better care, spends health care dollars more wisely and results in healthier people.  Today’s announcement is about improving the quality of care we receive when we are sick, while at the same time spending our health care dollars more wisely,” Secretary Burwell said. “We believe these goals can drive transformative change, help us manage and track progress, and create accountability for measurable improvement.” 

“Employers are increasingly taking steps to support the transition from payment based on volume to models of delivery and payment that promote value,” said Janet Marchibroda, Health Innovation Director and Executive Director of the CEO Council on Health and Innovation at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “There is considerable bipartisan support for moving away from fee for service toward alternative payment models that reward value, improve outcomes, and reduce costs. This transition requires action not only by the private sector, but also the public sector, which is why today’s announcement is significant.”

To make these goals scalable beyond Medicare, Secretary Burwell also announced the creation of a Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network.  Through the Learning and Action Network, HHS will work with private payers, employers, consumers, providers, states and state Medicaid programs, and other partners to expand alternative payment models into their programs.  HHS will intensify its work with states and private payers to support adoption of alternative payments models through their own aligned work, sometimes even exceeding the goals set for Medicare.  The Network will hold its first meeting in March 2015, and more details will be announced in the near future.

Washington and Idaho residents of every age are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Tim Gleason or Dave Root, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 or email Medical@Am-Ins.com to discuss your health care options at any time.

Read more at: Better, Smarter, Healthier: In historic announcement, HHS sets clear goals and timeline for shifting Medicare reimbursements from volume to value

Source: Health and Human Services, News Release 



2016 - ACA Penalty Tax doubles

Published Oct 28, 2015

The ACA individual mandate tax penalty for no health coverage was much larger for 2016. If you can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it in 2016, you must pay a fee or have a health coverage exemption. The uninsured could pay at least $695 per person when filing their 2016 Federal Income Tax (FIT) for not having qualified health coverage. This more than doubled from the penalty tax for the 2015 tax year which is $325 per person or 2% of your yearly household income.

AMERICAN INSURANCE has Exchange / Marketplace Certified Health Agents that can help by providing you with the best value options for your family! You may find that you will have lower costs if you qualify for premium tax credits. Certified Health Agents Dave Root, Mike Everett and Tim Gleason can help Idaho and Washington residents find the coverage they need to avoid paying a penalty for 2016.

PENALTY EXPLAINED. How much of a fine are you facing if you opt out of health care coverage?

Your 2016 tax is the greater of either:

  • A flat-dollar amount based on the number of uninsured people in your household, which is $695 per uninsured adult, plus $347.50 for each uninsured child under age 18. The maximum penalty per family using this method is $2,085.
  • A percentage of your income up to the national average cost of a Bronze plan, or 2.5% of the income above the tax filing threshold.

For example: For 2016 FIT, an individual earning less than $37,000 would pay just $695 (flat-dollar calculation) while an individual earning $200,000 would pay about $4,750. The penalty for a family of four with total income earned of $60,000 would be $2,085.

The tax penalty will be inflation adjusted for future tax years of 2017 and beyond.

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.

Source: HealthCare.gov, Fee & Exemptions


2015 - 11.7M Enrolled In 2015 ACA Health Insurance

Published Mar 10, 2015

Nationwide, nearly 11.7 million consumers selected or were automatically re-enrolled in quality, affordable health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace as of Feb. 22, 2015 according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Of those, 8.84 million (76 percent) were in states using the HealthCare.gov platform and 2.85 million (24 percent) were in the 14 states (including Idaho and Washington) using their own Marketplace platforms. 

The US Supreme Court will be deciding this summer if consumers enrolled in HealthCare.gov can keep their premium subsidy or must be charged the full premium. That decision will affect nearly 7.7 million individuals with a plan selection in the states using HealthCare.gov. 

Tax credits made coverage affordable in the 37 states that use HealthCare.gov –

• Of the more than 8.8 million plan selections in HealthCare.gov states, 87 percent (nearly 7.7 million individuals) qualified for an average tax credit of $263 per month.

• More than half selected a plan with a monthly premium of $100 or less after tax credits, about 8 in 10 of these individuals had the option of selecting such a plan.

Marketplace consumers in HealthCare.gov states this year were more active, engaged, and eager for coverage than consumers in other insurance marketplaces -

• New Consumers - More than half (53 percent or more than 4.6 million) of plan selections in HealthCare.gov states are new consumers who did not have Marketplace coverage as of Nov. 2014, and 47 percent (nearly 4.2 million) are consumers who re-enrolled in Marketplace coverage.

• Re-Enrolled - Of the 4.2 million consumers who were re-enrolled in 2015 Marketplace coverage, more than half (2.2 million), came back to the Marketplace, updated their information and actively selected a plan.

• Plan Switches - Of the 2.2 million active re-enrollees, 1.2 million switched to a different plan from what they had in 2014 – that’s 54 percent of active re-enrollees and 29 percent of all re-enrollees.  This is a much higher proportion than seen in other programs.  For example, studies show that approximately 13 percent of Medicare Part D enrollees change plans in a given year, and only about 7.5 percent of those with employer sponsored coverage switch plans for reasons other than a job change.

“The figures released today tell a story of health coverage consumers rely on for financial and health security – and of coverage they don’t want to lose,” said Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “Millions of Marketplace consumers in HealthCare.gov states qualified for tax credits to make their coverage affordable and accessible.  People who come to the Marketplace for coverage are actively engaged and shopping for the product that’s best for them and their families.  The Affordable Care Act is working and we’re grateful to the volunteers, assisters, navigators, local officials, members of Congress and many national organizations who joined this effort across the country.”

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Tim Gleason or Dave Root, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.

Source: US Department of Health & Human Services, News Release – March 10, 2015, Read full News Release


2015 - Uninsured first faced ACA penalty tax

Published Feb 20, 2015

For the first time, American tax filers faced the ACA individual mandate penalty in 2015 for the 2014 tax period. If you didn’t have health coverage for all or part of 2014, you either qualified for a health coverage exemption or would have paid a fee with your 2014 federal income tax return.

Americans who do not qualify for an exemption and went without health coverage in 2014 will have to pay a fee – $95 per adult or 1 percent of their income, whichever is greater – when they file their taxes this year. Many uninsured tax payers will have to pay the 1% of income penalty which adds up to more than they anticipated.

If you didn’t have health coverage for all of 2014, you’ll pay the higher of:

  • An amount that depends on your income. Generally it’s 1% of your yearly household income above a certain amount — $10,150 for an individual, $20,300 for a married couple filing jointly.
  • Or a minimum of $95 per person who didn’t have coverage ($47.50 per child under 18). The maximum fee per family using this method is $285.

If you had medical coverage starting in May 2014 or earlier, you qualify for an exemption for the months before your coverage started. Individuals who applied during a later Special Enrollment Period will still owe a fee for the months they were uninsured and did not receive an exemption in 2014.  

Claiming a health coverage exemption: Find out if you qualify for an exemption and learn how to apply.

You can claim some exemptions when you complete your federal tax return. You claim others by filling out and mailing in a paper application to the Marketplace.

When you claim an exemption with your tax return, you’ll fill out a new form, Form 8965, Health Coverage Exemptions. Learn more by downloading the forms below.

Get coverage for 2015 - The penalty fee increases substantially in 2015 for the uninsured. Open Enrollment closed but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on February 20 a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals and families who did not have health coverage in 2014 and are subject to the fee or “shared responsibility payment” when they file their 2014 taxes in states which use the Federally-facilitated Marketplaces (FFM). This special enrollment period will allow those individuals and families who were unaware or didn’t understand the implications of this new requirement to enroll in 2015 health insurance coverage through the FFM until March 15, 2015.

If you don't apply by that date then you can get health coverage only if you have life change that qualifies you for a Special Enrollment Period or for if you’re eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Most people who apply get premium tax credits that reduce the cost of their monthly premiums. Learn more about enrolling in coverage with a Special Enrollment Period.

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Tim Gleason or Dave Root, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.

Source: HeathCare.gov, News Release - February 20, 2015


Umbrella - How a policy works to cover you

Here's how an umbrella policy works to provide you with an additional excess insurance limit in a lawsuit. There are many instances when an accident, injury or other issue can occur where you have a legal or financial responsibility to someone else.  

Your everyday activities like driving a car, having a home, owning rental property or playing on recreational vehicles can expose all your personal assets including ownership in a business to loss in a negligence lawsuit.

American Insurance represents RLI and other companies to provide this coverage for you.

Get a free Umbrella quote online and find out more about an RLI or other company coverage from your American Insurance agent.


Life insurance - Do I need more coverage?

Q: Do I need more Life Insurance?

A: The answer is probably “yes.” People tend to be under-insured in relation to their goals of protecting the financial security of their family. Your life insurance death benefit needs to be high enough to pay off last expenses, debt, home mortgage, fund education costs, and create an investment account large enough to replace most of the monthly income you would have provided with investment income.

LIFE NEEDS CALCULATOR

We have a free resource that can help you calculate how much life insurance you really need. Its quick, easy and free. Find a link to our online Life Needs Calculator”.

VERY LOW COST

The fact is, term life insurance is very affordable and inexpensive. For example, a healthy, preferred risk, 30 year old male, who is a non-tobacco user, can buy $500,000 face amount of a 10-year level term life insurance policy for as little as $15 per month in premium.

FREE LIFE QUOTES

American Insurance finds you the best rates on term life insurance. We quote 8 of the top life insurance companies with just one request.

Meet with one of our local agents

Our Agents - Shawn Sullivan, Philip Sullivan, Jeremy Van Houten, Dave Root, or Tim Gleason - can help you decide on the right amount of coverage at the right price. Call for an appointment at 208-746-9646, request a Life Quote online or email us at .

More articles about Life Insurance

Here are some more articles published on our FAQ blog:


MOTORCYCLISTS -- Reducing fatalities

Why are motorcyclists over-represented in overall crashes and fatalities? 

Motorcyclists now represent approximately 14% of all motor vehicle-related fatalities, up from just 5.7% in the 23 years since 1994. In 2016, 5,286 motorcyclists lost their lives on America's roads. 

Based on preliminary, state-reported data, GHSA projects a 5.6% decline in motorcyclist fatalities in 2017 – a difference of 296 lives nationwide. The nationwide decline is good news, but not all states are showing improvement. Compared with 2016, motorcyclist fatalities decreased in 30 states, and increased in 18 states.  

Regional statistics

Idaho

  • 8.7% rate of Motorcycle Deaths out of Total Motor Vehicle Deaths
  • 13% increase from 23 to 26 deaths (from 2016 to 2017). 
  • Partial Law for helmet use, required for all riders under age 18. Universal helmet law repealed in 1978.

Washington

  • 15.1% rate of Motorcycle Deaths out of Total Motor Vehicle Deaths
  • 21% decrease from 81 to 64 deaths (from 2016 to 2017). 
  • Universal Law for helmet use, enacted in 1990.

Oregon

  • 10.9% rate of Motorcycle Deaths out of Total Motor Vehicle Deaths
  • 3.6% decrease from 55 to 53 deaths (from 2016 to 2017). 
  • Universal Law for helmet use, enacted in 1988.

 Montana

  • 8.9% rate of Motorcycle Deaths out of Total Motor Vehicle Deaths
  • 29.4% increase from 17 to 22 deaths (from 2016 to 2017)
  • Partial Law for helmet use, required for all riders under age 18. Universal helmet law repealed in 1977.

Four Reasons For Motorcycle Fatalities 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides these statistics on motorcycle safety in the United States:

  • Helmet Use – NHTSA estimates that motorcycle helmets saved an estimated 1,859 lives in 2016. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 802 lives could have been saved 
  • Licensing Issues – Twenty-seven percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2016 were riding their vehicles without valid motorcycle licenses at the time of the collisions 
  • Impaired Riding – 
    In 2016, there were 4,950 motorcycle riders killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 1,259 (25%) were alcohol-impaired (BAC of .08 or higher). 
  • Speeding – In 2016, 33 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding.

Contributing Factors

 State responses indicate a variety of factors may have been contributing to motorcyclist fatalities in 2017, including:

Drug impairment

With recreational marijuana legalized in several states, there may be a higher number of drivers and motorcyclists under the influence of drugs. Marijuana impairment is known to increase a person’s crash risk, and a 2017 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study found that overall vehicle collision claims in states with legalized recreational marijuana were three percent higher than would have been expected without legalization.

Distraction

Several states reported an increase in distracted riding fatalities in recent years, with one state (Virginia) recording more than double the number of distracted riding fatalities from 2016 to 2017.

An aging riding population

Riders over the age of 40 now comprise the greatest share of motorcyclist fatalities nationwide, a shift from a previous overrepresentation of younger riders in fatal crashes. The average age of motorcyclists killed nationally in 2016 was 43 years old, and one third of states reported that the majority of their 2017 motorcyclist crashes involved older riders.

States are using both national and statewide data to find the right mix of rider education, enforcement and laws to decrease deaths and injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes.

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) Report on Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State and Motorcycle Safety page and Motorcyclists Helmet Laws page


LIFE INSURANCE - What are the basics?

Life insurance is a fundamental financial planning product.  It gives you the confidence to take on financial obligations (like a home mortgage or the cost of providing for your family) by removing the risk that an untimely death will bring financial ruin.  Death stops your ability to earn income and pay for your obligations.  Essentially, with life insurance you just pay a small manageable premium for the guarantee that a lump sum of money (the death benefit or face amount) will be paid if you die to your beneficiary.  

The fact is, 86% of Americans say they believe that life insurance is a product most people need.   However, deciding who needs the coverage, how much coverage they need and what kind of life insurance they should purchase is the subject of much procrastination. 

L.I.F.E., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing you information concerning life insurance, has prepared resources to help you make smart life decisions.  Click below for answers to these basic life insurance questions…

AMERICAN INSURANCE has licensed professional life insurance agents to help you.  We can help you secure the right coverage at the right price!  Ask us for a quick quote on individual term life insurance.  We will find you the lowest term life insurance rates.  We instantly compare rates from eight of the top life insurance companies for you.  Click here to request a LIFE QUOTE.  

 

 

 

 


Fireworks - A Sullivan Family Tradition

Since 1985, AMERICAN INSURANCE has been a major financial sponsor of the Lewis-Clark Valley’s Independence Day Fireworks Celebration.

DONATIONS WELCOMED: 
To fully fund this big show it takes full community support. Donations are welcomed to make the show bigger and better each year as costs rise. Secure donations can now be made to Community Spirit by credit card online at www.lcvalleyfireworks.org. 

John Sullivan, agency President, is involved in every aspect of the celebration. He has served on the board of directors of the non-profit organization, Community Spirit, since 1990. He works to personally help plan, organize, raise funds, set up, and take down the fireworks show each year.

Fireworks show takes workPyrotech Jeff Cassali is shown with John Sullivan as they set up fireworks.

I love this celebration for many reasons,” John said. “No matter what your political views, Independence Day brings everyone together on one special day to celebrate what it means to be an American. Ha! For 364 days we can argue over what that actually means; but on this one day each year, we are reminded that we have more in common than what may separate us.

“Also, our Independence Day tradition builds patriotism. It provides a focus to talk to our children and remind ourselves about our American heritage and values - democracy, liberty, individual rights and responsibilities; the rule of law, equal rights and justice; equal opportunity; the rewards of initiative and hard work. But, more than anything, I just love seeing families come together for a day of fun, relaxation, and celebration.”

John Sullivan instructs volunteers on flag setup before the 2016 show.

You are invited. Please join the Sullivans and staff at Adams Field in Clarkston each July 4 for the Independence Day Fireworks Celebration. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, enjoy live music, eat food and goodies, and watch the amazing, big aerial fireworks display up close. We look forward to seeing you there! 

Make it a family affair! The crowd of about 3,000 gathers inside Adams Field at Clarkston High School to enjoy live entertainment, concessions of food, drinks, and ice cream, and the big aerial fireworks display at 10 p.m. The fireworks show is a family affair for the Sullivans.

American Insurance is a major sponsor for the show, but you can join us! You can find out more about Community Spirit Fireworks and donate online here.


Uninsured drivers average 1 in 8

Chances are roughly one in eight that a driver is uninsured, according to new estimates from the Insurance Research Council (IRC).  

After a seven year decline from a high of 14.9 percent in 2003, the countrywide uninsured motorist (UM) rate increased from 12.3 percent in 2010 to 13.0 percent in 2015. Idaho has among the lowest of uninsured motorists rates at 8.2% while Washington state is more than double that at 17.4%.  

“The drop in uninsured motorist rates in several states certainly is good news,” said Elizabeth A. Sprinkel, senior vice president of the Insurance Research Council (IRC). “However, the increase in the countrywide rate is a concern. IRC is exploring why uninsured motorist rates vary so much across states and why the countrywide rate is once again be on the rise.”

The report shows that Montana has 9.9% uninsured motorists and Oregon has about 12.7%. 

Other results of the study show the five states with the highest uninsured driver estimates were Florida (26.7%), Mississippi (23.7 %), New Mexico (20.8%), Michigan (20.3), and Tennessee (20%). The five states with the lowest uninsured driver estimates were Maine (4.5 %), New York (6.1%), Massachusetts (6.2%), North Carolina (6.5%) and Vermont (6.8%).

In this new study, The IRC report, Uninsured Motorists, 2017 Edition, IRC examines data collected from 14 insurers representing approximately 60 percent of the private passenger auto insurance market in 2015. 

Source: Insurance Research Council – news release


Seatbelt Myths Busted

Fatalities happen with unbuckled passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in the United States despite several myths held by people who might believe they’re above the law.

To try to combat these deaths, state and local law enforcement agencies are stepping up enforcement and cracking down on those who don’t wear their seat belts

Five Seatbelt Myths Busted

  • Vehicle type: There seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them better than other vehicles would in a crash. The numbers say otherwise: 61 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in 2016 were not buckled up. That’s compared to 42 percent of passenger car occupants who were not wearing seat belts when they were killed. Regardless of vehicle type, seat belt use is the single most effective way to stay alive in a crash.
  • Seating position: Too many people wrongly believe they are safe in the back seat unrestrained. Forty-seven percent of all front-seat passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes in 2016 were unrestrained, but 57 percent of those killed in back seats were unrestrained.
  • Rural versus urban locations: People who live in rural areas might believe that their crash exposure is lower, but in 2016, there were 13,732 passenger vehicle fatalities in rural locations, compared to 9,366 fatalities in urban locations. Out of those fatalities, 49 percent of those killed in the rural locations were not wearing their seat belts, compared to 46 percent in urban locations.
  • Day versus night: High-visibility seat belt enforcement is important 24 hours a day, but nighttime is especially deadly for unbuckled occupants. In 2016, 56 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed at night (6 p.m. – 5:59 a.m.) were not wearing their seat belts.
  • Man versus woman: Men make up the majority of those killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes. In 2016, 65 percent of the 23,714 passenger vehicle occupants who were killed were men. It comes as no surprise that men wear their seat belts at a lower rate than women do – 52 percent of men in fatal crashes were unrestrained, compared to 40 percent of women.

Seat belt use is required by law for a reason: In 2016, seat belts saved an estimated 14,668 lives of occupants 5 and older. From 2012 to 2016, seat belts saved nearly 67,000 lives. 

If all passenger vehicle occupants 5 and older involved in fatal crashes had worn their seat belts, an additional 2,456 lives could have been saved in 2016 alone. Buckle up and save yourself and those you love!

Learn more about the Click It or Ticket mobilization at www.nhtsa.gov/ciot

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


2 ways to save on your rates

Are you looking for ways to spend less money, or find ways to cut costs? American Insurance can help you do just that! Here are two ways you can save money on your auto and home insurance today.

  1. Compare rates of 7 top insurance companies with just one call. You may have found the best deal several years ago, but over time your rates may become noncompetitive in relation to what is now available in the marketplace. Even if your insurance rate has been relatively stable over the years, behind the scenes rate changes, new discounts, and changes in your own personal circumstances may signal the need to re-quote your rates. One contact with AMERICAN INSURANCE and we will find you the lowest rates with our Marketplace Double Check.
  2. A BIG discount you forgot. Did you know that by combining your home and auto insurance through the same company, you can save up to 20% with the Multi-Policy Discount? Quote both your auto and home insurance and bundle your coverage for the big discount if possible.

Get the savings and the insurance advice you need from the Sullivans and staff at AMERICAN INSURANCE. We invite you to call us for free comparison quotes. Contact us at (208)746-9646 or online for more information. 

Besides home and auto insurance, we also invite your inquiries for business, farm, public entities, workers compensation, bonds, life, medical or Medicare Supplement insurance. Find out more About Us here. Contact us at (208)746-9646 or online for more information. 


Boat insurance - 3 options to consider

American Insurance recommends you consider some newer boat insurance coverage options you may have missed.

  1. Agreed Value Loss Settlement – An option for full coverage policies available on any boat eligible for physical damage.  You get the Agreed Value at the time of loss rather than Actual Cash Value which includes depreciation.
  2. Total Loss Replacement (for new boats, previously untitled, up to one model year old) – In the event of a total loss, this option replaces the insured boat with a new boat for the first five model years. After five model years, you receive your original purchase price. This protects against both depreciation and inflation.
  3. Mechanical Breakdown Coverage – Provides coverage for the lower unit of an outboard motor, and the upper and lower units of a sterndrive motor, in the event of a mechanical breakdown, including those caused by wear and tear.

AMERICAN INSURANCE quotes many insurance companies that have these type of options plus on-water towing, disappearing deductibles, small claim forgiveness and more.

Get more information and free boat quotes at AMERICAN INSURANCE, for the best coverage for your boating needs.  Call 208-746-946, visit our Boat Insurance Quote page here or email to get started on your boat quote request.


Boat Insurance - 8 Qs to ask

Whether you take to the lake for water sports, drift down the river casting your reel or sail the ocean blue, being on the water floats your boat. Your watercraft and its engine(s), your trailer and other equipment – it all represents a sizeable investment that’s important to protect by selecting the right insurance coverage. 

 Here are eight questions about watercraft insurance to ask your American Insurance agent to help ensure smooth sailing in case something goes amiss with your boating adventures.

  • Agreed value or actual cash value? This may be the most important distinction you'll see as you consider your insurance options. Under agreed value, your insurer, in the case of a total loss, will cover the total value you agreed upon when you insured your vessel. Cash value, on the other hand, takes into account depreciation, and the effects of wear and tear over time to help determine a total loss payout.
  • What about standard coverages? Liability insurance for your boat helps cover medical care and property costs for other boaters and boat owners if you are at fault for an accident on the water. You might also consider medical payments coverage that includes you and your passengers regardless of who is at fault, and uninsured/underinsured coverage, which helps pay for medical treatment, lost wages, and other costs if you are hit by an uninsured or underinsured boater. Be sure you have protection against financial loss if your boat is stolen, on or off the water.
  • Can I get a discount for using my current insurer? Insurance carriers often reward customers for insuring multiple assets with them. If you already have a home and auto policy with one carrier, adding a boat policy may earn you a discount.
  • What other discounts are available? One of the most commonly offered discounts, and one of the most worthwhile in its own right, offers savings for completing an approved safe boating course. Another potential discount is for vessels powered by diesel engines. They're considered less hazardous than gasoline engines.
  • What’s my coastline coverage? Your watercraft policy may include restrictions on open ocean boating, such as limiting your coverage area to within 75 miles of the U.S. and Canadian coasts. If an incident occurs outside your coverage area, your policy will not assist you. If needed, you may be able to purchase additional coverage from your American Insurance agent.
  • Can I get emergency assistance, on and off the water? Roadside assistance should cover your vessel, its trailer and the vehicle you use to tow it. Some policies also offer emergency assistance that covers towing if your vessel becomes disabled on the water, as well as delivery of fuel, oil, or a battery. More often than not, this coverage is an option you need to specifically add to your policy for assistance in a pinch.
  • How can I protect my gear? There are several levels of protection you can look for: personal effects coverage for personal property such as fishing gear; unattached equipment coverage for such items as water skis and deck chairs; and physical damage coverage that could encompass personal effects, unattached equipment and more. It’s important to know how much all of your equipment is worth so you can purchase enough coverage.
  • Who pays for cleanup if the worst happens? If your boat sinks or is badly damaged, you could be liable for a costly cleanup process. Some policies will cover the cost of spilled fuel and wreckage removal, and the cost of raising a sunken or sinking vessel, according to the actual policy limits.

Your American Insurance agent can address these and any other boat insurance questions you may have. The more questions you ask, the better you can understand your watercraft insurance policy. Whether you’re spending a summer day on a crowded lake, exploring unknown waters on the open sea, or towing your prized vessel on the Interstate, you never know when the unexpected may occur.

Source: Safeco blog post, Questions to ask before you buy boat insurance


Flooding - Ways to protect your property

Flooding happens even outside of a floodplain.  

Philip Sullivan, Personal Lines Manager at American Insurance, reminds all policyholders with homes, seasonal homes, rentals, condos and business properties that their property policies do not cover flood.

“The flood exclusion in all Homeowners and nearly every property policy includes more than just flood from the overflow of a body of water. Surface water, that may occur from rain or snow melt runoff and other causes, is also excluded,” said Sullivan.

WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY

First, many surface water losses can be prevented with proper landscaping of a property that drains water away from structures. You may not need to pay for flood insurance protection and can avoid the extreme inconvenience of a flood claim if you invest in your property by re-landscaping, installation of drain tiles and other methods to re-direct water above and below ground.   

Next, to insure flood risks you must secure separate coverage at least 30 days in advance of a loss. American Insurance has access to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as well as other insurance markets for properties that may not be in a recognized floodplain. 

The Idaho Department of Insurance reminds consumers that information about flood risks and protection measures can be found on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website here and the Department of Insurance website. According to the NFIP, the average flood insurance policy – including building and some contents – costs about $700 per year. The Department recommends that property owners discuss flood insurance with a licensed agent. 

You are invited to contact your local American Insurance agent for a free flood insurance quote.  

Source: Idaho Department of Insurance News Release,  Prepare Now for Flood Season in Idaho


Workers Compensation - Rate decrease again in 2018

Employers are benefiting from lower workers compensation rates as they continue to drop following trends of lower claims frequency, workplace safety gains, medical cost containment strategies and the current campaign to reduce opioid dependency.  

The Idaho Department of Insurance approved a proposal from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) for an another 3.4 percent decrease to workers’ compensation insurance rates to be effective for policies issued or renewing after May 31, 2018. Idaho Workers’ Compensation insurance policies that renewed prior to June 1 will see this reduction accounted for in their next renewal.

This midyear decrease follows the 5.8 percent rate decrease that was effective at the beginning of the year, resulting in rates 9% lower than those of 2017. “We rarely see midyear rate change proposals for workers’ compensation insurance,” said Department Director Dean Cameron. “But the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced the needed premium, so we are happy that savings can be passed on to help Idaho businesses.”

“We’re so happy to be able to pass this reduction along to our clients in Idaho,” added Shawn D. Sullivan, vice president of American Insurance. “Any time insurance rates drop, we are happy to explain these changes to our clients while also providing risk management tools to try to possibly reduce workers comp claims.”  

OTHER WAYS TO SAVE PREMIUM

American Insurance represents the Idaho State Insurance Fund as well as many commercial workers compensation insurance companies that may provide additional rate savings with premium credits and dividend plans. We also assist employers in establishing alcohol and drug-free workplace programs for premium credit.

Workers Compensation is required by law for any Idaho employer with one or more employees, even part-time. The workers’ compensation benefit system is designed to cover medical costs associated with workplace injuries, as well as provide wage replacement benefits to injured workers for lost work time.

For more information or assistance regarding workers compensation contact your American Insurance Agent and consult these FAQ articles here.

Source: Idaho Department of Insurance news release, Workers’ Compensation Rates to Decrease Another 3.4% in June


Are you liable if you don’t call 811?

Homeowners are the most likely to forget to call 811 before digging on their property. Something as simple as planting shrubs, installing a fence, mailbox post, or sprinkler system can create a dangerous and costly situation.

Property owners and contractors are stickly liable if they damage underground utility lines when they dig.  Buried natural gas and electrical lines could be anywhere – some just inches below the surface.

Every state, including Idaho and Washington, have laws that require you to call 811 at least two working days before you start digging.  A mistake can create an expensive liability claim against you. You will want to avoid a claim against your personal or business liability insurance.

HERE IS WHAT TO DO:

  • First, mark your dig area with white paint or stakes for the locator service visit.
  • Then call 811 which will initiate a request for a locator to visit your work site to mark the ground above utility lines.
  • Once located, don't move or alter the marks until the lines are exposed.
  • Note the length of time markers remain valid. It varies by state.
  • Only use hand tools to expose the utility line when digging within two feet of the marked area.
  • Support exposed gas pipelines with secure nylon straps, wood shoring, and ropes so they don't break or rupture.
  • Use sand or rock-free dirt as backfill.
  • Property owners can call 811 requesting private locates for any non-utility owned facilities (such as underground power or gas lines to an outbuilding).
  • If you expose gas or electric lines that haven't been marked, or damage a line, stop excavating and call the utility immediately. They need to inspect the lines even if gas isn't leaking.
  • If you're building, never build decks or structures over utility pipelines or meters. Doing so runs a safety risk and prevents the utility from servicing the infrastructure. They may be able to relocate their equipment to accommodate your project, but you could be responsible for the associated costs.

GOT IT? Remember, always call 811 at least two working days before you start digging. It's the law.

Get more information at: 

Source:  Avista Utilities


New Medicare Cards Have No SSN

Seniors and others who use Medicare benefits started receiving new ID cards in April 2018.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made the change while working on a fraud prevention initiative that removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards. This design feature should help combat identity theft and safeguard taxpayer dollars.

The new cards now use a unique, randomly-assigned number called a Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI), to replace the Social Security-based Health Insurance Claim Number (HICN) currently used on the Medicare card. 

CMS began mailing new cards in April 2018 and will meet the congressional deadline for replacing all Medicare cards by April 2019.

10 things to know about your new Medicare card

See an online PDF of this graphic here.


Tag-Out Program - A way to possibly reduce claims

Contractors who build, install, maintain, service or repair and any other type of small business can reduce workers compensation and liability claims by implementing a “tag-out” program.

A “tag-out” program is essentially an organized way to communicate with fellow employees and customers not to operate or use an item until repairs can be completed.

This idea is a scaled down version of the formal Lockout and Tagout procedures used in heavy industry.  To reduce worker death and injury, OSHA has regulations outlined in 29 CFR 1910.147 regarding control of hazardous enery using lockout/tagout.

Even though not required by OSHA, small business can also benefit from using a limited “tagout” program.  

TAGOUT EXAMPLES

  • Property Manager tags-out a water faucet until repair can be completed by a plumber.
  • Appliance repair contractor tags-out the under-sink water supply in the “off” position because the dishwasher is leaking.  He must order a part to complete repairs.
  • Home remodeler tags-out an electrical circuit temporarily until installation of an appliance is complete.
  • A business owner tags-out a vehicle’s steering wheel or the vehicle’s key to warn employees not to drive the vehicle until repairs are completed or until insurance coverage is added back on the vehicle.
  • A business owner tags-out a machine to warn employees that operating it will damage the machine until repairs are completed.
  • If you give this idea just a little thought, I’m sure you can think of many circumstances to use a tagout program in your business.  Communicating with a tagout can lower your risk of property damage and bodily injury liability claims.

AMERICAN INSURANCE recommends you implement a tagout program for your business and operations.  We have a starter supply of tagout tags that we can give you. If you find the tagout program useful we can assist you in obtaining a supply of tagout tags. Contact us online or at for your tags.

NOTE: Depending on the size and type of business you operate you may be subject to OSHA, Federal and State Trade Regulations that govern your safety policies and procedures.


Wire Transfer Fraud Quadruped in 2017 – Beazley

Cyber-criminals are using ever-more sophisticated methods to exploit human weaknesses in an organization's cyber defenses, reports Beaszley Group, a worldwide specialty insurer. Under fraudulent instruction scams, criminals use hacking and phishing techniques to accumulate information that allows them to send plausible-looking requests to transfer funds to bogus accounts. In addition to losing money, organizations may also have to conduct exhaustive systems analysis to ensure that individuals' personal and private data has not been compromised. 

CLAIMS QUADRUPLED IN 2017

Claims data recorded by Beazley indicates that organizations are facing an increased threat to their operations from fraudulent instruction scams. Fraudulent instruction incidents reported to Beazley Breach Response Services (BBR Services) quadrupled in 2017, with policy holders incurring losses ranging from a few thousand dollars upto $3 million. With claims amounts in 2017 averaging $352,000, fraudulent instruction has rapidly become a significant financial threat to many organizations.

UNINSURED CLAIMS

Fraudulent Instruction fraud claims are not usually insured. The typical Commercial Insurance policy contains exclusions in the Property, Crime and Employee Dishonesty sections that prevent recovery of this type of claim. Special coverage is required and is just now becoming readily available as a covered section to Cyber Insurance policies.

HOW FRAUDULENT INSTRUCTION WORKS

After a successful phishing expedition or through the installation of a key-logger, a criminal can gain insight into company financial protocols related to wire transfers. The criminal then uses a relationship that they have discovered through their phishing activities to provide fake payment instructions, usually by email. The purported source of the payment instructions is often a trusted business partner. Even with no access to earlier communications between the sender and recipient, a "spoofed" email can be created by checking social media for connections, roles or other supporting details.

One such attack came to light when a retail store received complaints from customers about non-delivery of goods for which they had paid by wire transfer. For the retailer however, there was no record of payment. It transpired that the customers had received new wire instructions from the criminals posing as the retailer.

Real estate transactions are frequent targets with the cyber-criminal exploiting the short timeframe for payment to take place. In a recent incident, the cyber criminal compromised a broker's email and sent revised wire transfer instructions, diverting the final payments.

Manufacturers are also vulnerable. In an incident reported to BBR Services, the email account of an employee in the accounting department of a manufacturer was compromised through phishing and the criminal emailed new wire payment instructions to some of the company's customers. Only after customers appeared to have missed payment did the manufacturer discover the account had been compromised.

IF YOU WIRE TRANSFER MONEY, BE VERY CAREFUL

To guard against fraud, you must have a known contact from the company you are paying by wire transfer and follow these steps. 

  • Telephone Confirmation: Before a wire transfer you must talk with that known contact by phone (at a phone number you know is correct for that business) and confirm the destination bank account routing and bank account numbers.  DO NOT DO THIS BY EMAIL.
  • Transfer Test First, wire transfer the smallest payment amount allowed and then call your contact to confirm that funds have arrived.
  • Final Transfer: If confirmed, then wire transfer the full payment.  Again, confirm receipt by phone to your known contact.   

Source:  Beazley Breach Insights – January 2018


Will Freezing My Credit Affect My Insurance Rates?

Large breaches of consumers’ personal information are becoming more and more common and, in response, some consumers are placing freezes on their credit information.

Some consumers may find that after placing a credit freeze, it has affected their insurance premiums. In Washington state, personal auto, homeowner, condo, mobile and manufactured home and renter insurance companies are not allowed to raise your premiums solely based on your frozen credit information.

How does a credit freeze affect my insurance premiums?

Some companies are having no trouble accessing consumers’ credit information to issue new or renew auto, homeowner and renter insurance policies. However, other companies have told consumers they're unable to see credit information. Regardless, insurance companies are not allowed to raise premiums for Washington state residents solely because their credit is frozen.

How will I know if my insurer raised my premiums because my credit is frozen?

Insurers are required to notify consumers if their credit history affects their insurance premiums. This is called an “adverse action notice” and they have to send it to you within 30 days of the premium change. If you receive an adverse action notice, you should call your insurance company and find out exactly why your premiums went up.

If they tell you it’s because your credit information was not available to them, you have few options:

You can temporarily unfreeze your credit to allow the insurance company to see your credit information.

If your insurance company told you your premiums increased specifically due to a credit freeze, you can file a complaint with the insurance commissioner. NOTE: It is legal in Washington state to raise premiums if you have a low credit score.

Source: Office of the Insurance Commissioner of Washington State Q&A on credit freezes website

Read more about Insurance Scores from American Insurance

Read more about cyber security from American Insurance 


2017 - Dave Root Honored for 30 Years of Service

Dave Root received recognition at the AMERICAN INSURANCE 2017 Christmas party for his 30 years of service. John Sullivan, agency President, presented Dave with a crystalline tower award engraved with the following message -  

Dave started his insurance career in 1981 as a captive Farmers Insurance Agent.  Dave said, "I soon found that being able to quote just one company was not to my liking. I wanted to be able to offer multiple options and actually do the shopping for my clients."  

“I found that I needed the resources of AMERICAN INSURANCE so, I would call Frank “Sully” Sullivan  for help in writing commercial accounts that I was not able to even quote as a single company agent.  He treated me as an equal even though I needed a lot of hand holding in those days. That relationship blossomed into the opportunity to join the team with John Sullivan at AMERICAN INSURANCE in 1987.” 

Dave continued, "I've really appreciated the opportunity to grow with the agency over the last 30 years and the opportunity for growth in my insurance education that I have had access to. Knowing that I can make the appropriate recommendations to my clients and also have the companies to fulfill those needs is very rewarding. It keeps my clients happy to know they are getting their insurance shopped for them without them having to do all the work."

Dave is designated as a Certified Insurance Councelor (CIC), and has been a licensed insurance agent since 1981 for property, casualty, surety, life and health.

He specializes in programs for contractors including bonding, truckers (repo and auto transporters as well as intermodal and general hauling), manufacturers, dealers and restaurants as well as other businesses with intricate commercial exposures. He has advanced his insurance knowledge through various industry schools and has the expertise to insure all your personal and commercial insurance needs. 

After growing up in Florida, Dave moved to the LC valley in 1979  with his wife (Jody) and two daughters (Debbie and Cindi) to attend WSU  Over the years, he was active in youth sports, served as a past board member and committee chairman of the Lewiston Chamber of Commerce as well as the Lewiston Golf and Country Club. Dave enjoys the outdoors, fishing and is an avid golfer, but he enjoys the time with his four grandsons most of all.


2017 - 1,825 lbs. donated for 2nd Annual Food Drive

When American Insurance organized the new “Hometown Business Food Drive” in November 2017, we could not have foreseen these results. The response was overwhelming and the results are spectacular. 

“Our goal was to exceed (the 2016) donations of 706 lbs. and collect at least 1,000 lbs. this year,” said John Sullivan, President of American Insurance. “All the hometown businesses we asked gave us an enthusiastic ‘yes’ and then they were extremely generous in their giving.”

SHOCKING RESULTS: American Insurance delivered the food donations to the Community Action Food Bank.  The donations filled two pallets which were moved by forklift and weighed.  The final result was shocking at 1,825 lbs. 

MATCHING GIFT:  American Insurance had agreed to donate $1 per pound of food donations collected up to a maximum total of $1,000.  John Sullivan delivered the full check of $1,000 to Connie Granbois (shown third from left), Community Action Partnership Food Bank Manager, and AJ Farley.

Connie said, "I want to give a big thank you to all the businesses  and individuals who donated to the American Insurance Food Drive.  Community Action Food Bank directly serves an average of 125 families daily that come through our front door for food assistance.  We could not do it without your help.  It is greatly appreciated!

"Good job and thank you to John and Stephanie (Herbert)  and all the staff at American Insurance to make this successful food drive happen.”

Jenifer Womack, Community Engagement Specialist at the Moscow CAP office, thanked the Moscow and Lewiston offices of American Insurance for their support. 

“In the Moscow office, my food pantry is currently empty. This drive could not have come at a better time,” added Jenifer.

Here is Jeremy Van Houten with Jenifer Womack and the Moscow donations collected for their Community Action Food Bank.

"We wanted to expand our efforts and turn it from a single office food drive to a Hometown Business Food Drive. We had so many clients and customers, friends and neighbors, support these efforts," said John B. Sullivan, Agency President.

Thank you to our Hometown Business partners! (Check out the pictures below) 

To help promote the efforts of our friends and neighbors in this partnership, we posted 7 times on our Facebook page and then "boosted" them with a paid outreach campaign. We reached an average of more than 750 local residents with each separate post. We also published a followup advertisement in the Lewiston Tribune to thank these businesses, which published on Wednesday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 26.

Here are our clients, neighbors and friends who helped support our second annual event:

Dan and Larry with Dan’s Helping Hands

Isaac Mendez at Ideal Fitness and friends

Jeff and Dr. Anne Simon of Simon Audiology & Tinnitus

Mike Larson and staff at Northwest Engraving Service

Deranleau's staff and owners

Mac, Justin, Steve, Bob and Donna at B&F Power Vac

Andrea Tallon and her staff at the Holiday Inn Express

Su Brown & Associates, PLLC

Kenaston Corporation

Keith and Cassandra Crossler with City North American Moving & Storage

Living Waters Lawn & Landscape

Dr. Mark Sheppard, DDS, and staff

Dr. Bret Christensen and staff with Christensen Orthodontics and staff

Larry & Peggy Ohman and staff at the Institute of Physical Therapy

Todd Huffaker at Welenco Stove Store

Paul with Sunrise Home Center

Audrey Steiner of Steiner Electronics 

Stillings & Embry Florists 

Mick McClure Honda

H & R Block (Lewiston) 

Higginsons Home Center & Sleep Shop

4 Frendz Meat Market 

Thanks, again, to everyone who donated!

Need more information or ready to sign up for this year's event?

Contact our Event Coordinator Stephanie Herbert at community@am-ins.com or (208) 413-6242.

Watch for updates along the week on our Facebook events page here

Read more archives of our past food drives:



Marketplace Double Check - See our ad on KLEW-TV

Our new commercial message on KLEW-TV is promoting our “Marketplace Double Check” program. You can make just one call to American Insurance and receive quotes for up to 7 top insurance companies.

You can read more about our Marketplace Double Check offer here

KLEW-TV is on antenna channel 3 and CableOne channels 3 or 1003 in HD. Our commercial runs Monday through Friday on their CBS Morning Show (8-9 AM) and in either Inside Edition (6:30-7 PM) or the Big Bang Theory (7-7:30 PM).

 


Umbrella - 7 Reasons You May Need One

When we talk about an insurance “umbrella”, we are referring to a Personal Umbrella Policy that provides an excess layer of liability insurance limit on top of your other personal insurance policies - auto, home, secondary home, boat, RV, ATV, motorcycle, rental properties – anything you own and insure personally.  
A Personal Umbrella Policy usually has an excess liability limit of from $1,000,000 up to $5,000,000.  Personal Umbrellas are very affordable. You may be surprised to know that in most cases, the annual premium for a $1,000,000 limit is under $1 per day.

Predicting serious liability claims and the amount of the financial settlement a jury will award is no easier than predicting the rain, but anyone can see the rain clouds forming.

REAL CLAIMS

As an insurance agent, I have seen some pretty serious, cringe worthy, local liability claims.  Here are just three examples:

  1. A teenage son was mowing the back yard at home with the riding lawnmower where his six year old brother was playing with the neighbor boy. The boys started chasing the lawnmower from behind when the 6 year old neighbor boy in cowboy boots slips and his foot slides under the mower severly cutting his foot.
  2. Friends came to the house for dinner. After dinner the friend’s 9 year old boy was playing tag with their son. While running in and out of the house playing tag, the friend’s son didn’t see that the sliding glass door was closed and ran into it. The glass splintered and dropped down severing the boy’s nose.
  3. A driver approached a residential intersection in the early morning and slowed down for the stop sign.  But rather than stop, the driver thought the intersection was clear and sped back up. At the same time, a jogger, approaching the intersection on the driver’s right side, saw the car slowing down so continued jogging into the crosswalk. The jogger was in the driver’s blind spot and was hit by the car, knocked airborne 30 feet, and sustained massive head trauma along with other injuries. The jogger spent three years in a nursing home before succumbing to the injuries and passing away.

If you were on a jury, would a $100,000 award be enough to satisfy any of these life changing claims?

Call (208) 746-9646 or email or contact us for a quote for umbrella coverage.

WHO NEEDS AN UMBRELLA?

Here are seven financial signs that you need a Personal Umbrella Policy.

  1. Income – Your income could be garnished to satisfy a judgement against you.
  2. Assets – You have significant personal or business assets to protect from liability claims. 
  3. Real estate – You own or have a financial interest in a home, rental properties, commercial buildings, etc.
  4. Business – You own or have a financial interest in a business. Your business ownership in a corporation or LLC  is not shielded from a personal liability claim against you or a family member.  
  5. Sole Proprietor or Partnership – Your business has a serious liability claim which exposes your personal assets as well as your business assets.   
  6. Savings – You have accumulated cash assets outside of qualified pension plan.
  7. Inheritance – You have received or expect to receive a substantial inheritance.

GET A QUOTE.

Everyone should consider a Personal Umbrella Policy.  We invite you to contact us for a quote.  In today’s society, where lawsuits are filed after every serious accident injury, a personal umbrella policy is a smart and cost-effective way to protect a lifetime of savings, your assets and your way of life.  In the event that a claim exceeds your underlying policy liability limits, a personal umbrella policy will respond with legal defense and the extra liability protection you need. 

Get a free Umbrella quote online or call (208) 746-9646 or email or contact us to find out more about Umbrella coverage from your American Insurance agent.

NOTE: The Personal Umbrella premium rate will depend on factors like the number of autos and properties you own, driving records of household members, and other factors.  You may be required by the Umbrella to increase your underlying policy’s liability limit. You may qualify for an extra multi-policy discount with your Umbrella. To determine liability issues with your business interests we urge you to seek legal advice. 

Read more articles about Specialty products from American Insurance


Answers: What do you know about cyber security?

How much do you know?

To help you understand he importance of cyber liability and data breach coverage, we've shared a quiz for you about Cyber Security issues. 

  1. More than 50% of all small U.S. businesses have reported cyber attacks. TRUE. According to the 2017 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, 55% of small business owners experienced a cyber attack in the past 12 months.
  2. Only 48 states require notification of security breaches involving personally identifiable information. TRUE. As of April 2017, 48 states have legislation requiring security breach notifications.
  3. Large government agencies are the most common targets for cyber crime. FALSE. Unfortunately, no business, regardless of size or industry, is safe from cyber crime. From health care providers to academic institutions, every organization should be prepared.
  4. 95% of all data breaches result from criminal or malicious attacks. FALSE. While it’s true that half of all incidents are criminally related, 25% are caused by employee negligence and 28% result from system or IT glitches, according to a 2017 Ponemon study.
  5. The average number of days it takes an organization to identify a data breach is 30. FALSE. According to a 2017 Ponemon study, it takes organizations an average of 191 days to identify a data breach. Other costs that a business owner might incur after a breach can include Notification of affected customers; Credit or Identity Monitoring services; Public Relations fees; Legal Defense costs; and Regulatory penalties or proceedings.

Want to make sure you have this coverage?

Contact your agent to make sure you have this coverage on your commercial insurance policy. 

As a business owner, you may have learned the risks associated with computer security and data breaches the hard way. Don’t find yourself unprotected; learn what to do when your business becomes exposed to a cyber attack or data breach.

Find out more information on the Liberty Mutual cyber risk infographic here.

Source: Liberty Mutual Cyber Quiz

Related news


Questions: What do you know about cyber security?

To help you understand he importance of cyber liability and data breach coverage, we've shared a quiz for you about Cyber Security issues. How much do you know about cyber attacks?

  1. More than 50% of all small U.S. businesses have reported cyber attacks. TRUE or FALSE 
  2. Only 48 states require notification of security breaches involving personally identifiable information. TRUE or FALSE 
  3. Large government agencies are the most common targets for cyber crime. TRUE or FALSE  
  4. 95% of all data breaches result from criminal or malicious attacks. TRUE or FALSE 
  5. The average number of days it takes an organization to identify a data breach is 30. TRUE or FALSE  

Read the answers here, or learn more about Cyber Security in this in this video:

Find out more information on the Cyber Risk Infographic here.

Want to make sure you have this coverage?

Contact your agent to make sure you have this coverage on your commercial insurance policy. 

Source: Liberty Mutual Test Your Cyber Risk Knowledge


History - How It All Began - Founder OM Mackey

This is a story few know or remember. As American Insurance completes our 95th year in business, I would like to tell you how it all began. 

The year was 1919, it was 3 o’clock in the morning and Oliver M. Mackey had just alighted from a train at the Camas Prairie Railroad Depot (now the Train Station on Main Street in Lewiston).

OM Mackey’s mission in Lewiston was to look the place over and consider whether it would be a logical spot for a new bank. It was not in his mind to undertake a walking tour of the city at that hour, but he was met at the depot by an enthusiastic resident of the city, the late James E. Babb, a Lewiston attorney.

“We walked up and down the street,” Mackey said. “We looked at the Bollinger Hotel and then we looked at the De France Hotel.” Even in the darkness, Mackey concluded that Lewiston appeared to have a bright future and that he wouldn’t mind being a part of it. “There was a sawmill coming and they were getting ready to build the Lewis-Clark Hotel,” Mackey said. “I could just feel it.”

Mackey returned to Westville, Ill., a suburb of Danville, to report his findings. The proposed Lewiston bank was a joint venture with his father-in-law, the late A.L. Lyons, who was a banker at Danville.

The new Lewiston bank was at 624 Main St. They opened their new bank in Lewiston on Aug. 16, 1920 to great success, calling it the American National Bank. Lyons was president and Mackey the cashier.

Besides starting a bank, that vision of business opportunity caused OM Mackey to create the Mackey-Thiessen Investment Co. on Oct. 9, 1922 to explore the emerging opportunities of real estate, insurance and consumer loans.

The American National Bank later changed its name to the American Bank & Trust Co. Then on Oct. 10, 1926, influenced by the bank name, the Mackey-Theissen Investment Co’s name was changed and incorporated as AMERICAN INSURANCE & LOAN CO, INC. A few months later in 1927, the bank and insurance operations were moved into the new Carssow Building at 9th and Main Streets (current home of Wells Fargo Bank) where the two businesses operated side by side. 

Three years later, on Aug. 15, 1928 AMERICAN INSURANCE was sold to an Iowa transplant, Harry Christy and his wife, Blanche Sullivan Christy (Frank “Sully” Sullivan’s aunt). So began, the first generation of Sullivans to own and operate AMERICAN INSURANCE.

PS: OM Mackey was cashier until 1943, when he became president after the death of his father-in-law, A.L. Lyons. The bank was sold to the First Security Corp. in 1957 and then later sold to its present owner, Wells Fargo, where it remains in operation today at 9th & Main St.

Now in our 95th year and our 4th generation of Sullivans, represented by Shawn and Philip Sullivan, we continue to serve the quad-cities with offices in Lewiston and Moscow. AMERICAN INSURANCE has 22 employees and is licensed in 7 western states. As an Independent Insurance Agency, we directly represent dozens of America’s largest insurance companies with access to hundreds more, each competing for your business. We write more than 13,500 policies of every type and kind of insurance – auto, home, business, medical and life.

Source: The Lewiston Morning Tribune, The Elders / Oliver M. Mackey (published on Dec. 25, 1977), By Thomas W. Campbell


What Our CIC Designation Means For You

Today's insurance and risk management industry is vast, complex, and full of confusing variety. As you consider what kind of coverage you need for your unique set of risks and exposures, keep in mind that our training as a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) has prepared each one of us to be the competent and proven advisor you need. Our drive as an individual is what led us to go for the CIC designation. It represents a career-long commitment to stay on top of important industry changes and to be aware of new risks that arise so that we may better serve our clients.

  • Want to know who has this designation at American Insurance? Check out our staff directory where you can find that.

We are the kind of individuals who are not content to just collect annual commissions. We want to be the best that we can be. We use the education to gain an in-depth understanding of the nuances of complex risks and the best way to address them. Training to become a CIC includes 100 classroom hours and five comprehensive exams. Additionally, we attend continuing education courses every year to keep the knowledge and skills up to date in order to ensure that you always receive the attention, care, and current information necessary to make your coverage decisions.

The CIC designation and pin are marks of distinction that demonstrate my commitment to professional excellence and leadership in the insurance industry. I am proud to be among 31,500 CICs in the country, "the best and most knowledgeable insurance practitioners in the nation."

Source: National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research


Mobile Apps to Manage Your Insurance

Did you know that your insurance company may have a mobile application available for you to use?

If you want to see if your company has the app available, you can see them on our mobile website (https://m.am-ins.com/, then click on “Claims” and choose your company). Some companies that have apps are Safeco, Nationwide, Progressive, Travelers, and Grange.

The application offers the ability to bring up your documents, such as proof of insurance; and to make your payments. 

Did you know American Insurance has a mobile webpage? Visit https://m.am-ins.com/ to check it out from your own cell phone. Check it out today!



2017 - Shawn Sullivan honored for 15-year commitment to quality education

Shawn Sullivan, CIC, American Insurance Agency Vice President, received recognition in September 2017 for professional leadership and advanced knowledge by the Society of Certified Insurance Counselors (CIC), a leading national insurance professional organization.

Shawn was awarded a certificate marking more than 15 years of participation as a designated CIC, which requires an annual completion of advanced education and training.

His ongoing allegiance and support of the CIC Program is a testament to the value he places on “real world” insurance education and customer satisfaction.

“Your clients, associates and the insurance profession as a whole will benefit from such dedication and leadership,” said Dr. William T. Hold, CIC, CPCU, CLU, President of CIC.

Read more Agency News on our blog



TIMELINE - History Briefs of American Insurance

1922, October 9: The Mackey-Thiessen Investment Co is formed by A.L. Lyons and O.M. Mackey, principals in the American Bank & Trust Co, to explore the emerging opportunities of real estate, insurance, and consumer loans.

1926, October 10: The name is changed to American Insurance and Loan Co. and incorporation papers filed with the Idaho Secretary of State.

1927, Spring: American Insurance moves to the brand new Carssow building at 9th and Main Street in Lewiston, along with American Bank & Trust Co. The building also has other retail and professional spaces.


1935, April 15th: Great Western Mutual Association is founded by OM Mackey. Harry W. Christy served as President. The insurance company was successful and active with more than 10,000 policyholders when sold in 1964.


1955: Harry W. Christy retires and personal loan operations are discontinued. Frank W. Sullivan becomes President and manager of American Insurance. Also that year American Bank & Trust Co. sells to First Security Bank.



1985: John Sullivan and Ida-Vend Radio connect to start Community Spirit Fireworks organization.

1990: New company logo is launched! The triangular shape contains our American colors of red on the left, white, with a silhouette of the Statue of Liberty in the center, and blue on the right. The Statue of Liberty was a perfect symbol to convey the American strengths of “independence” and “freedom” of choice which matches the advantages we provide our customers as an Independent Insurance Agency. We represent many insurance companies to provide many choices of policies at the lowest prices. The fireworks bursts at top signify our long term sponsorship of the valley’s Independence Day Fireworks Celebration.

1994, February - Shawn D. Sullivan, son of John B. Sullivan, is hired as an insurance agent after graduation from the University of Idaho. This begins the 4th generation of the Sullivan family in the business.

1996, March: Frank W. Sullivan retires after 50 years and son, John B. Sullivan becomes President of American Insurance managing all operations.

2004, June 28: Philip J. Sullivan, son of John B. Sullivan, is hired as an insurance agent after graduation from the University of Idaho. He is another 4th generation Sullivan family member in the business.


2008, June 1:
American Insurance buys the RE Magnuson Agency of Kendrick. The staff consolidates and welcomes these new customers into the Lewiston and Moscow offices.

2010, August 27: www.Am-Ins.com is launched. This website is a “virtual” office providing access 24/7 to - information regarding all our insurance services, instant on-line auto & home insurance quotes, requests for policy services, claim reporting, risk management resources, important insurance news, community events, and FAQ insurance education.

2012, March 23: www.Facebook.com/AmericanInsurance is launched. This “social” medium allows a more personal touch to instantly inform our friends about important insurance issues and the activities of our agency and agents.

2013: Philip Sullivan promoted to Personal Lines Department Manager

2014, December 1: AMERICAN INSURANCE purchases Bashore Insurance. Tony Bashore, owner of Bashore Insurance Agency of Clarkston selected American Insurance of Lewiston and Moscow as service agents for more than 450 Grange policyholders previously serviced by Bashore. Read more here...

2016: First food drive event is held, including a partnership with 8 other businesses to collect 708 lbs. of food and $500 donation to Community Action Partnership. In 2017, 1,825 lbs. were collected and in 2018, the partnership collected 2,655 lbs of donations. The event continues to grow each year. 

2018: Agency wins Make More Happen Award to provide $10,000 grant from Safeco to the Community Action Partnership Food Banks.

2018: Agency purchases Moscow location to establish permanent second office there.

2018: Agency wins Business of the Year for small businesses from the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce.

2019 - Shawn Sullivan named President of Agency and Philip Sullivan becomes Vice President as John Sullivan moves into role as Chairman of the Agency.

Stay tuned for more Agency updates to come!


Auto Policy: Coverage options to consider adding

“After an auto accident, what optional coverages – other than comprehensive and collision – do most people wish they had purchased?”

This question was posed in an insurance company meeting that included claims adjusters and agents. The consensus among us is that people most regretted not having these two optional coverages after an accident:

  1. Rental Car Reimbursement (Loss of Use) – When an accident is your fault or liability is disputed, this optional coverage helps you pay for the cost of renting a car while yours is being repaired. Even if you have other cars in the household, people find that they really depend on their vehicle and need a substitute.
  2. Original Parts Replacement (OEM Parts) – After a physical damage loss to your car, this coverage allows repair with higher cost Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts when available rather than used or aftermarket auto parts.

Did you know we offer these other highly advertised options that can be added to your Personal Auto Policy?

All these optional coverages are now available to be added to most Personal Auto Policies for a small additional premium. Just contact your Customer Service Agent for a quote and coverage review to decide what options are best for you.  


Wellness - Burnout At Work? 8 Ways to Recover

Are you suffering from burnout at work? Here's what burnout looks like....
Are you more irritable and less patient with others? Do you feel disillusioned and no longer derive satisfaction from your accomplishments? Have your sleep or eating habits changed? Are you experiencing headaches or neck and lower back pain? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be suffering from job burnout.

You're not alone. According to a nationwide survey by Career.com, a whopping 77% of workers say they feel burnout on the job.

The causes might be:

  • Working harder and longer due to staffing cuts, or fear of losing your job
  • Lack of appreciation, recognition, or reward for your efforts
  • Unclear or impossible job expectations
  • Being in the wrong job or profession
  • Performing monotonous or unchallenging work
  • Working in a dysfunctional, chaotic, or high pressure environment

Certain personality traits can also contribute to burnout. For example, you might be a perfectionist who wants control or refuses to delegate tasks to others. Also, certain professions suffer from a higher degree of burnout, such as healthcare or social workers.

Here are eight ways to prevent or treat burnout on the job.

  1. Set personal and professional goals and priorities. Use them as a template for how you make decisions about your time and work.  
  2. Live a balanced life. Examine your lifestyle. Are you spending enough time on the people and things most important in your life? Consider taking up a new hobby or take a non-work-related class at a nearby community college.  
  3. Determine what you can and cannot control. And the best place to start is with yourself. Exercise, eat healthy foods, avoid self-medicating, and get plenty of sleep.  
  4. Learn to set boundaries. This can include limiting work hours or making sure you take time off for lunch. It can also mean taking all your vacation or not taking work-related calls or checking your e-mail during nights or weekends.  
  5. It's okay to say no. If the requests on your time don't match your goals and priorities, politely turn them down.  
  6. Talk to your supervisor. Express your concerns, frustrations or suggestions in a constructive way to your supervisor. Share ideas and explore "win-win" opportunities.  
  7. Revitalize your job. Find ways to break the monotony and make your job more enjoyable. Change your routine or volunteer for challenging projects. Come to work at a different time or redecorate your cube or office.
  8. Find a mentor. Mentors can be a valuable sounding board and source of ideas and advice. Find someone you respect, who has been around the block and shares your values.

To help foster resiliency and productive work environments for you and your employees, make sure your employees are aware of the programs available to assist them and their family members, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides no-cost professional counseling. If you don’t have an EAP program included in your group health insurance plan contact us and get more information about the low cost and benefits from the licensed Health Insurance Agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE.

Source:  BPA Health, July 2017 eNewsletter


2017 - Best of the West winner!

The votes are in! AMERICAN INSURANCE is honored to be once again selected as “Best of the West” insurance agency for 2017. The Sullivans & staff are very proud to be chosen and always strive to be worthy of your continued trust.

THANK YOU for your vote of confidence. Click here to read our online Reviews or submit your own review online here.

“Best of the West” is a promotion of KLEW-TV that tabulates consumer votes in various business categories. To see the full list of winners, click here.

John B. Sullivan, Agency President, is shown here with Stacy Larson from KLEW TV receiving the Agency's plaque.

You named our agency the Best of the West and we want to keep it that way. How do we rate in your eyes? Fill out our very short Customer Service Experience form online and receive a $5 lunch or coffee Gift Card (some restrictions apply). Find out more about that offer here.


1928 - Pioneers, Harry & Blanche (Sullivan) Christy

Our Agency was founded in 1922 and how the business came into the Sullivan family is the story of our agency “Pioneers”, Harry and Blanche (Sullivan) Christy.

Harry W. Christy served in the artillery during the Great War (WWI). In 1919, after the war, he returned to the Stanwood schools in Iowa and continued as Superintendent until 1926. But, the big guns of WWI had made him nearly deaf which made teaching and administration of a school difficult. At the urging of a friend, Harry decided to leave his education career in Iowa to pursue new opportunities in the great Northwest. So, in 1926 with his wife, Blanche (Sullivan) Christy and two children, Roger and Harriet Ruth, the Christys headed out west for a business opportunity. With courage, hope and a pioneering spirit, they first came to Lewiston, ID.

Soon after arriving in Lewiston, Harry took a job opportunity in banking, in a then thriving Starbuck, Wash. (think Jimmy Stewart in the film classic, It’s a Wonderful Life). Although successful, Harry still hadn’t found what he really wanted until he heard through his banking connections two years later that American Bank & Trust Co. was selling their insurance and personal loan operation. Harry sold his interest in Bank of Starbuck and moved back to Lewiston to buy American Insurance & Loan Co. from O.M. Mackey on August 15, 1928.

Here, Harry and Blanche Christy staked their claim and worked side by side, building a successful insurance business and making personal loans.  As the business grew they added staff and agents.  They hired Blanche’s nephew, Frank W. Sullivan, in 1946 following his return from service in WWII.  Other agents hired were Dan Emery and Von Prideaux.  Harry and Blanche retired in 1955 and sold the business to Frank “Sully” Sullivan, representing the second generation of Sullivan ownership.  When asked about his success, Harry said that he turned his hearing loss into an asset as an insurance salesman because… “I couldn’t hear the word ‘no’!”

Read our full Agency timeline here.


Group medical: Helping businesses find coverage for employees

Local agents with AMERICAN INSURANCE in Lewiston can help area business owners find qualified individual health insurance coverage for your employees, their spouses and dependents to meet health care mandates.

“We provide free quotes and free enrollment assistance in Washington and Idaho for business owners and their employees, including providing multiple options for their consideration,” said Dave Root, a certified health insurance agent with AMERICAN INSURANCE in Lewiston. “We can also explain the differences between each one, investigate cost sharing possibilities that are available and we also offer enrollment assistant to complete the enter process and get the insurance coverage you need.”

The health insurance agents can help you find lower cost options with the use of Advanced Premium Tax Credits through the exchanges in Idaho and Washington, even outside the open enrollment period.

“All Affordable Care Act plans are guaranteed regardless of health conditions, so we can find one to meet health care mandates,” Root added. “In the end, we can provide you with adequate coverage to protect your family while also eliminating penalties for being uninsured.”

Agents can share details about all the options we have available, from a company sponsored group medical plan to giving a presentation to share information with your employees so they can sign up for an individual or family insurance plan.

Do you need health coverage? Idaho and Washington residents may contact our ACA Exchange certified health agents Dave Root or Tim Gleason at Medical@Am-Ins.com or at 208-746-9646 or contact us online to set an appointment here.

More AMERICAN INSURANCE group medical articles on our FAQ include:


ATV Insurance and Idaho Law

ATVs and other off-highway vehicles (OHVs) are fast and fun to ride! But summer fun, too often, turns to tragedy when an ATV overturns leading to injury or death of riders or guests. And, if your ATV exhaust causes a grass fire you will be liable for fire-fighting costs and damage to property. For your financial protection you should always insure your off-highway vehicles for liability.

OHV Insurance – Liability and physical damage insurance for OHVs is easy and very affordable. With just one call, get quotes from Progressive, Dairyland, Safeco, Nationwide, Travelers and other specialized companies. We find you the best rates and coverage to protect the value of your investment and your liability needs. We insure FUN at AMERICAN INSURANCE.

OHV Licensing & Registration – All-terrain Vehicles (ATVs), Motorbikes, Utility type vehicles (UTVs), and Specialty Off-highway vehicles (SOHVs) are defined and regulated under Idaho Law (IC67-7122) as Off-highway Vehicles (OHVs). Any OHVs being operated or transported on public lands, roads or trails in Idaho must be insured and display a current IDPR OHV Registration Sticker plus the following:

  • Trails - riders under age 18 must wear a helmet and the OHV must have a muffler and Forest Service approved spark arrestor.
  • State & Federal Roads - above items plus a valid driver's license and liability insurance.
  • City & County Roads - all the above items plus a valid restricted vehicle license plate.
  • Non-Idaho Residents - are required to have either a valid OHV registration from their home state of residence or get a valid IDPR OHV registration sticker. Non-residents must purchase an Idaho restricted vehicle license plate with a valid IDPR OHV registration sticker if they don't have a plate and wish to operate on Idaho's local jurisdiction roads (ie. county roads).

Need more information?

For more information about where you can ride, required licensing and registration, safety equipment, age restrictions, rules and requirements call the Idaho Parks and Recreation registration department at 800-247-6332 or visit https://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov/.


Wellness - 4 Ways To Worry Less

Worry and anxiety have a way of taking over the mind and making life miserable, says BPA Health of Boise, ID.

What's needed in such situations are a few practical, effective ways to quell the urge to worry. If you find yourself worrying too much too often, here are four good ways to combat the problem.

1. Distract yourself. An idle mind often serves as an open invitation to worry. That's why focusing on an activity or project is a great idea. Having something to occupy your mind makes it harder for fear and anxiety to take over. For example, you might take care of a household chore or practice a hobby. If you're at work, refocus on your current project. After all, it's much better to be productively engaged in something than to waste time worrying. Talking to another person is another good way to distract yourself from your worries.

2. Try to accept uncertainty. While sources of worry can vary widely, one of the most common causes is fear of the unknown. Rather than worrying about something specific, you may be worried about the unexpected challenges that life might suddenly spring upon you. Of course, worrying about "what-if" is completely pointless. Being able to live with uncertainty is a crucial life skill. When fears of the unknown assail you, try to calm down, accept things as they are, and concern yourself only with what's under your control.

3. Try to be positive. Being upbeat and optimistic is certainly easier said than done. Nonetheless, it is one the best ways to treat worrying. Rather than imagining what bad thing might happen, imagine what could go right. Most of the time, the worse-case scenario does not occur. Things might not always go perfectly, but they do usually turn out OK -- so why not look on the bright side, if doing so will make you happier? When it comes to thinking positively, there's little downside, but plenty of upside.

4. Address the underlying issue. Some fears are irrational and should be ignored as much as possible; many concern things that are simply outside of your control. However, there might be some worries you can do something about. For example, if you are concerned about an upcoming presentation at work, spending more time preparing should help relieve your worries. If you are worried you and your romantic partner are drifting apart, try talking to them about the issue. In these and similar cases, the best way to handle your worries is simply to resolve the underlying problem.

Left unchecked, worry can grow until your mind is wholly occupied and your entire day is ruined; it can make you irritable, irrational, and unproductive. If you often find yourself overcome by worry, see if the four tips seen above can help you out.

To help foster resiliency and productive work environments for you and your employees, make sure your employees are aware of the programs available to assist them and their family members, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides no-cost professional counseling. If you don’t have an EAP program included in your group health insurance plan contact us and get more information about the low cost and benefits from the licensed Health Insurance Agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE.

Source: BPA Health, eNews - April 2017


Classic car coverage - Philip's personal experience

Philip Sullivan, Insurance Agent and Personal Lines Manager at AMERICAN INSURANCE, fell in love with his first car, a 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback. Through his access to and abilities with the car, he spent his teenage driving years terrorizing Lewiston neighborhoods!

Although he had to work harder to be known for his LHS basketball experience, his notoriety related to the car came easier – at the expense of his neighborhood’s serenity.

“I probably acted like an idiot and bothered the neighbors with the loud motor and by driving too fast,” he said. “I’m sure that as a father now, I’m reaping what I sowed back then when I see and hear teenagers driving the way I used to drive. I probably actually deserve a lot more payback than I actually get.”

Philip understands the connection between young men and their cars. He saw the car listed in Spokane in the Wheel Deals catalog in the Friday, Feb. 3, 1995 edition.

“I looked at those magazines often, but the fact that I saw this particular one – that I have since kept as a memento – on the day it came out, and that it had this car in it, was sheer luck,” he said.

By the time he called about the car a few hours later, there had already been 10 inquires on it. It was "priced to move" listed at $5,600.

Philip, his dad, John Sullivan, and their friend, Scott Meacham, made the drive to Spokane to pick it up that Saturday evening, but Philip still couldn’t legally drive at night due to age limit regulations of that era.

“We got back to Lewiston at 11:30 p.m. and I took the car to a YAC dance for LHS students at the Community Center. Dad and Scott dropped me off at the dance with the car and the keys and made me promise not to drive it anywhere while they went to get coffee.”

TICKETS, VIOLATIONS & CREATIVE EXCUSES

Philip finally got to drive the Mustang on Sunday morning before church with his mom. He usually acted more like a hellion than an angel, getting pulled over frequently during the three years that he drove the Mustang on a daily basis.

“Most of the time, if I was only going about 5 miles over the speed limit, I got the same song and dance – ‘You need to treat the car with respect,’” he said, admitting that he deserved every speeding ticket he ever received.

When he got the first one, not only did he owe a fine, but Dad took the keys away for a week. When he got the second one, he paid it outright without reporting it to Dad.

“By then, I was out of high school and had gone up to Moscow.”

And there were other tickets, some of which he claims were bogus violations.

“I got the Excessive Acceleration ticket when my friends and I were at Little Caesars on Southway Avenue, and it had rained so the roads were wet. I took pictures of the scene to fight my case, because I carried a Polaroid camera in my car to take pictures of properties for AMERICAN INSURANCE,” Philip said. “But, when I took my picture proof into LPD, they didn’t want to hear it. Apparently I had no wiggle room left to get out of a ticket at that point.”

One of the Failure to Stop at a Stop Sign tickets was also bogus.

“It had just been added the previous day on 9th and 19th in front of Whitman Elementary, a route I drove every day to One Hour Western Photo to pick up developed prints for the AMERICAN INSURANCE office. They put a bright orange flag on the sign it a few days later to warn people about the new sign.”

Philip said the car has no power brakes and no power steering, and a manual transmission.

“It also has a hot cam, so it doesn’t like to travel less than 10-15 mph. I’m great at parallel parking, but not in that car,” he said.

Speaking of, he also got a ticket near LHS once for not being parallel enough to the curb, when his front tire was maybe 8” and the rear tire was 4” away from the curb.

He got an Excessive Tire Rotation ticket while attending Hot August Nights in 1996, where he saw other drivers doing burn outs without consequences.

Car shows just weren’t really a priority for Philip during his high school years.

“I played basketball and in the off-season, I worked at AMERICAN INSURANCE. My hobbies included hanging out with my friends and chasing girls. Those were what my life was about, not attending car show meetings.”

In the ‘90s, there was no Facebook or emails or websites to help keep track of meetings or events, he added.

“I was more likely to be in the 3-on-3 tournament at an event than have my car there in the car show.”

Philip said the loud engine – which might sound like a big block engine, but it’s really not – offered a challenge during his teenage rebellion period.

“When I was sneaking out, I had to roll it down the hill and wait to start it a block later, and I had to coast it down the road on the way back home to really be discrete,” he said. “Dad would always know something was up when I parked it out on the street and not in the driveway. I probably thought I was more sneaky than I really was, now that I look back on it.”

TRAVELING NOTORIETY WITH THE 'STANG

When Philip moved to attend the University of Idaho, he bought a Blue Permit for the Mustang. Since he only found an open legal parking spot in a Blue Lot about 25 percent of the time, his notoriety continued in his parking encounters.

“I got tickets for parking in Red Lots, in which the Blue Permit did not work, for parking on curbs painted yellow inside a Blue Lot, or for not parking in an actual parking space.”

Or, he would park on the street on campus when there were no permits for doing that. In other parking lots, like at the Student Union Building, parking spaces were first come, first served – and had a time limit.

“So I got tickets for parking in a spot past the time limit. I got a ticket for accidentally parking over the blue line of a handicapped spot. I also parked in a handicapped spot – at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, when three other spaces were still open, so I wasn’t really hogging the space. And, of course, I got a ticket for parking at a meter that had expired.”

Even off campus, he also got a ticket for parking overnight downtown where vehicles are not allowed from 4-6 a.m. Philip admits that he probably got away with those shenanigans 90 percent of the time.

“But the other 10 percent led to dozens of tickets over the years."

And what started out as a $3 ticket would jump to a $10 or $15 ticket if not paid in a timely manner.

“When I went in to pay one of the tickets at the Moscow Police Department, the woman laughed at me when I told her my license plate. I thought that was an odd response, as if she knew me. That was a wakeup call to me that I had a sub-identity with MPD that I didn’t intend to have.”

During his lawful driving experiences, Philip ran out of gas dozens of times, sometimes even when pulling in to the pump.

“The gas station was a funny and a very unique place where I have an 80 percent chance of a stranger talking to me about the car,” Philip said. “It’s still the same today, 20 years later when I visit just a few times a year with the Mustang. I get asked a million questions, which usually start with a guess as to the car’s model year. Then I get asked about the engine, which it’s a 289 and not a 428.”

(Photo: Philip and LeeAnne are shown on their wedding day in the Mustang before he did a burn out in it, which caused the church priest to give a concerned look to onlookers after the couple had left the church.)

SELLING CLASSIC CAR INSURANCE

Since Philip works in the insurance industry, he has a two-fold interest in classic, antique, collector and exotic vehicle insurance policies, so he knows how to find you the best deal. Your “baby” can be insured for a much lower premium than with a regular auto insurance policy.

“The insurance industry recognizes that classic cars deserve special coverage and very low premiums because there are not the same risks as what you would have for a regular auto policy.

“Our classic auto policies have no deductible – none for physical damage, comprehensive coverage or collision options. Another benefit for these types of policies is the use of Agreed Value of the item instead of the Actual Cash Value. However, there are also certain eligibility requirements to qualify for this type of a policy, such as storing the vehicle inside a locked garage, and not being used as the main vehicle for a household’s use.”

AMERICAN INSURANCE offers special vehicle coverage for specialty cars through Hagerty Insurance, JC Taylor and Safeco. You can find more information about insurance for Classic and Collector Cars here. You can find your Classic Car Quote here.

So, does Philip still have the Mustang today?

“I’ve had friends who have had classic cars, but they have had to get rid of them when life happened. I’ve been lucky to have resources available to me so that I didn’t have to sell the car when life happened.”

You can contact AMERICAN INSURANCE online here or at (208) 746-9646 for any other questions you might have about personal property and casualty, commercial or benefit insurance options.

Read about semi-retired agent Mike Everett's 'Classic' Love Affair Conffesion here.


Independence - The American Advantage

We are always celebrating our Independence, which is that strong human drive for freedom in our personal, political and business lives. It has given America an advantage over competing countries and economies and made us the most powerful nation on earth.

Independence is what American Insurance was founded upon in 1922. We are a fourth-generation "Independent Insurance Agency” that is owned and actively operated by the Sullivan family.

We represent America’s leading insurance companies and write thousands of policies of every type and kind of insurance.

For Insurance, here is how our independence provides you the “American Advantage” —

  • We provide multiple quotes from competing insurance companies to assure you the best coverage choices, quality service, and lowest premium rates.
  • We have direct relationships with select companies to provide deeply discounted preferred insurance policies to our personal and business clients.
  • We have experienced agents to analyze your unique insurance needs, provide creative solutions and personal one-on-one service.

American Insurance is an Agency of proven professionals with experience and specialized knowledge for every insurance need – auto, home, business, farm, bonds, medical, and life.

We believe in the strength of Independence - it's in our name: American Insurance.

Thank you for trusting us with your insurance needs.

  • Questions or thoughts? Contact us with any that you might have!

Life insurance - Is it expensive?

The fact is, term life insurance is very affordable and inexpensive, but sadly most people don’t have enough coverage. For example, a healthy, preferred risk 30 year old male, who is a non-tobacco user, can buy $500,000 face amount of a 10-year level term life insurance policy for only about $15 per month in premium.

Life has a habit of getting very busy – from raising a family, to buying a home, to building a business or a career. We can procrastinate taking care of a fundamental insurance coverage that protects our dreams for the ones we love – LIFE INSURANCE! Life insurance for debt protection, business buy out, family income, college funding, and more, is a great way to protect your family.

Getting Life Insurance quotes is easy! American Insurance finds you the best rates on term life insurance. We quote 8 of the top life insurance companies with just one request. Our local agents, Shawn Sullivan, Philip Sullivan, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, can help you decide on the right amount of coverage at the right price. Call us at 208-746-9646 or request a life quote online here or email us at .


Business insurance - Finding the best liability rates

Business Insurance rates vary dramatically from company to company. That’s why American Insurance offers a Marketplace Double Check. It’s easy! Just call us and we can quote dozens of America’s best insurance companies to find you the lowest business insurance rates available. Competition assures you are getting the best rates and coverage. Premium discounts of up to 50% are available for many Idaho businesses. All businesses, large and small, can benefit from our second opinion.

What ever your business insurance need is – from liability, buildings & personal property, employee dishonesty, money & securities, scheduled equipment, business autos, bonds, workers compensation, umbrellas and more – we have highly discounted Business Owners Policies (BOPs) and Commercial Packages for you.

It’s quick and easy to get many quotes and find the best rates. Just call us at (208) 746-9646 or contact us online to speak with one our local agents or start your business quote online here.

Or, read more about our Marketplace Double Check here.



Auto insurance - When should I re-shop?

Right now many companies are taking large increases in their auto insurance rates. A rapid rise in claim costs is blamed on having more cars on the road, distracted driving, and added tech in vehicles that pushes up repair costs. For example, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. announced last week that it had a $7 billion underwriting loss on car coverage last year. So, If you are impacted by rising premium rates, now is the time to shop your auto insurance and at least every five years thereafter.

American Insurance offers a free “Marketplace Double Check.” With one call, we shop dozens of America’s largest Independent insurance companies to find you the best price and coverage available in the marketplace right now. Update your policy with the latest coverage extras like – New Car Replacement and Accident Forgiveness.

New customer discounts can save you up to $600 a year on your car insurance premium. You can save up to an additional 15% with a multi-policy discount by combining your auto and home insurance.

It’s quick and easy to get many quotes and find the best rates. Just call us and speak with one our local agents or quote online here.


2017 - Staff earns service recognition from Grange

American Insurance Personal Lines staff Lori Chapman, Tina Heitmann, Helen Duman and Shelly Abel are shown with their Grange Insurance Association personal awards received today for outstanding service and dedication to customer satisfaction. Our Personal Lines service agents are shown with Ryan Dudley, president and CEO of Grange Insurance, who said, “Our underwriters have noted and appreciate how the American Insurance agents provide timely and accurate service requests for our Grange policyholders. They put the customer first.”

American Insurance President, John Sullivan, agreed with Dudley’s comments, adding, ”We are so proud of our service agents. They care about each customer and put them first with excellent service.”


Life insurance - Finding lost policies

Locator will help consumers find lost life insurance policies, annuities.

The Idaho Department of Insurance and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently announced a national service that provides consumers with search capabilities to help find a deceased person’s lost life insurance policies and annuities.

The NAIC’s Life Insurance Policy Locator provides nationwide access for assistance with finding life insurance policies and annuities. An estimated $1 billion in benefits from life insurance policies are unclaimed, according to Consumer Reports. The new tool builds on the life insurance policy locator programs developed separately in a number of states before this launch.

“Many people don’t know where to begin when searching for a lost life insurance policy or annuity,” said Department Director Dean Cameron. “The life insurance policy locator streamlines and simplifies the process for consumers and insurance companies.”

Consumer requests are encrypted and secured to maintain confidentiality. Participating insurers will compare submitted requests with available policyholder information and report all matches to state insurance departments through the locator. Companies will then contact beneficiaries or their authorized representatives.

In 2015, life insurers paid more than $74 billion in insurance policy benefits to consumers nationwide. Since 2010, state insurance regulators have investigated unclaimed life insurance benefits. To date, nearly 23 regulatory actions have resulted in returning more than $6.75 billion life insurance proceeds to U.S. consumers.

See the Department’s Consumer Alert about this topic.

Need a life insurance quote? Visit the AMERICAN INSURANCE online quote page here.

Source: Idaho Department of Insurance, News Release – Dec 12, 2016, Finding a lost life insurance policy.


Flooding – Is my home covered from damages?

Some years, our region has plenty of snow which can lead to flooding after it has melted. The Idaho Department of Insurance reminds consumers that water damage caused by rising water, including snow melt is not covered by homeowner’s insurance.

After every flood, we hear about homeowners who did not realize they needed to protect themselves with flood insurance,” said Department Director Dean Cameron. “We urge consumers to review their coverage now and make sure they have the protection they need.”

The Department recommends homeowners discuss insuring their property with a licensed agent. Contact an Agent at AMERICAN INSURANCE at (208) 746-9646 or online here for more information about flood insurance coverage.

Flood insurance provides coverage for buildings, but contents coverage is optional. According to the NFIP, the average flood insurance policy – including building and some contents – costs about $700 per year. Flood Insurance policies typically have a 30-day waiting period.

"When flood insurance is not an option due to waiting periods or high premium cost, home owners are reminded to protect against flooding by moving snow away from buildings. Place piled snow so that rapid snow melt will drain away from buildings, " reminds John Sullivan, President of AMERICAN INSURANCE. "Also, excessive snow on the roof of any building should be cleared off. The weight of the snow can lead to collapse and melting snow can overwhelm drains and cause interior water damage," Sullivan added.

More information about flood insurance is available on the Idaho Department of Insurance website.

Source: Idaho Department of Insurance, News Release – Jan. 6, 2017, Floods may be coming - are you covered?


Vehicle Recall Lookup – Find out if your safety is at risk

Is your vehicle safe? Find out how to know whether a safety recall has been issued on your car and what to do if you have a vehicle or motor vehicle safety problem.

If you have registered your vehicle, your manufacturer will attempt to notify you if there's a safety recall by sending you a letter in the mail. However, if your registration address has changed and not up-to-date you may have missed a notification.

When your vehicle, equipment, car seat, or tire is subject to a recall, a safety defect has been identified that affects you. NHTSA monitors each safety recall to make sure owners receive safe, free, and effective remedies from manufacturers according to the Safety Act and Federal regulations. If there is a safety recall, your manufacturer will fix the problem free of charge.

ONLINE VEHICLE RECALL LOOKUP: Click and visit the NHTSA’s VIN Look-Up tool on the NHTSA.gov front page at least twice a year to see if any of your vehicles, tires or car seats are under a recall. This check will help ensure that your family is protected even when spending time away from your home. You can also sign up to receive from NHTSA e-mail recall notifications affecting your make and model.

Where's my VIN?

Look on the lower left of your car's windshield for your 17-character Vehicle Identification Number. Your VIN is also located on your car's registration card, and it may be shown on your insurance card.

What this VIN search tool covers

  • Vehicle safety recalls that are incomplete
  • Vehicle safety recalls conducted over the past 15 calendar years
  • Vehicle safety recalls conducted by major light auto automakers, including motorcycle manufacturers.

What this VIN search tool does not cover

  • Completed safety recall information
  • Manufacturer customer service or other non-safety recall campaign
  • International vehicles
  • Very recently announced safety recalls for which not all VINs have been identified
  • Safety recalls that are more than 15 years old (except where a manufacturer offers more coverage)
  • Safety recalls conducted by small vehicle manufacturers, including some ultra-luxury brands and specialty applications

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls


Why similar vehicles may produce different premiums

When shopping for a vehicle, most people believe that newer, more expensive cars cost more to insure.

However, there are several other factors that help determine how much it costs to insure a vehicle. These factors can result in a difference in premium between seemingly similar makes and models.

If (you are) price-conscious, there are a few things to remember, even if they involve comparing similar types of vehicles.

Vehicle design

Some of the most important factors used to develop rates are found in the inherent design of the vehicle. In addition to cost, damageability and occupant injurability factors are also considered when developing rating plans for new automobiles. These factors help to determine how much premium should be charged for a vehicle.

Damageability is a measurement of how much it will cost to repair a vehicle after an accident. Construction features such as bumper design or the presence of crumple zones may impact a vehicle’s damageability rating.

Occupant injurability is a measure of how likely a passenger in a vehicle is to be injured in an accident. This can be affected by factors such as the strength of the roof – which can protect a passenger in the event of a rollover crash – and are directly related to the cost to insure the occupants of the vehicle.

Vehicle size and weight affect both damageability and occupant injurability. Small, light-weight vehicles have less area to absorb the force of a crash, so damage to the vehicle is more severe and injury to passengers is more common.

Safety technology

You may (have) questions (because you) feel that (your) vehicle contains advanced safety technology (and) should be paying a lower premium. There are a few reasons this may not necessarily be the case.

According to recent information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the reality is that not all safety features are performing as expected.

For example, lane departure warning systems have not yet affected insurance claims. This feature is commonly found to be deactivated by vehicle owners, which impacts the effectiveness in avoiding crashes. Blind spot detection is another piece of technology that is intended to help avoid an accident; however, IIHS results are not yet conclusive.

The IIHS has found two crash avoidance systems that help reduce accidents. One of these is the front-crash prevention system, which includes systems with forward collision warning only or with forward collision warning and autobrake.

Front-crash prevention systems are lowering claim frequency; however, they have been found to prevent fewer than half of the crashes they are designed to prevent.

Adaptive headlights

In addition to front-crash prevention systems, the IIHS has also found adaptive headlights lower the number of crashes. Adaptive headlights shift the direction of the headlight as you steer to allow the driver to see better on curves at night.

This new technology can be expensive. Therefore, while the claim frequency has gone down, the claim severity is likely to increase until the cost of the technology decreases.

To learn more about what vehicles are the most crashworthy, visit the read the IIHS’s crashworthiness article here. There (you) will find a breakdown of which vehicles scored highest in crash-safety testing.

(Article republished with permission from Auto-Owners corporate communications office.)


Shovel snow safely this winter

Winter is here, and with it comes many traditions and activities: Celebrations with loved ones on the Palouse and in the LC valley, skiing and snowboarding outings in the mountains, fireplace-lit living rooms, homemade batches of soup… and shoveling snow.

Considering all the snowfall we've had in 2016, snow storms have hit and our driveway and walkways are now covered with the cold white stuff. You might want to just stay inside, but if your work and personal commitments make that impossible, you’ll need to first dig yourself out!

For many people across the northwest, snow shoveling is both a reality and a necessity this winter.

At AMERICAN INSURANCE, we want to ensure your efforts will get you on your way while also keeping you safe, so here are some snow-shoveling tips offered by the Boston Herald.

  • Warm-up! Never jump right into an activity. Start by cleaning off your car.
  • Place your hands a good distance apart on the shovel - it helps with leverage.
  • Never bend at your waist.
  • Push the snow when you can.
  • Scoop smaller loads of snow.
  • Use your legs, core and arms to help scoop and throw snow.
  • Always step in the direction you throw snow to avoid excessive twisting on your lower back.

If snow shoveling is on your winter task list, we at AMERICAN INSURANCE wish you both a clear sidewalk and a healthy body.

Source: Safeco, News Release, Shovel snow safely


2016 Celebrated by Staff

ERICAN INSURANCE staff and management celebrated our annual employee meeting and awards ceremony on Dec. 16, 2016.

President John Sullivan talked about upcoming changes in 2017 in the insurance industry and how the recent staff additions will help serve our customers during these changes.

Agents and staff members who participated in the Food Drive received recognition during the event. Shelly Abel was recognized for collecting the most items of food by the staff and Mike Everett collected the most food among the agents.

OTHER RECOGNITIONS:

Shelly Abel, Personal Lines CSA, and Karyl Wayt, Commercial Lines CSR, were welcomed with "You're an Essential Piece" plaques. Shelly started in November and Karyl began in September.

Tim Gleason, Life & Health Agent, received his 20 Year Service Award - a crystal desk tower with the inscription:

20 Years of Service
Presented to: Tim Gleason
for your dependable service and years of dedication.
You are greatly valued as an essential member of our team.
AMERICAN INSURANCE
December 2016

SEMI-RETIREMENTS:

Semi-retirements for Mike Everett, Agent, and Shirley Loss, Commercial Lines manager, were celebrated.

They received crystal mantle clocks as parting gifts with the inscriptions:

Professionalism & Loyal Service
AMERICAN INSURANCE 2016

The event concluded with a buffet Tri-tip Prime Rib and Chicken dinner and retirement cakes for dessert at the Happy Day Event Center on 6th Street in Clarkston.



Smoke alarms save lives

A working smoke alarm can save a life. In the 24-hour period from Dec. 19-20, 2016, the Idaho State Fire Marshal was called on to investigate three home fires. None of the homes had working smoke alarms. One fire resulted in two fatalities.

“Smoke alarms are inexpensive,” said State Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl. “The simple gift of a smoke alarm is an outward expression of how much you care.”

In the LC valley alone, The Lewiston Tribune reported two house fire incidents costing about $5,000 and $50,000 in damage on Dec. 24 and 25, 2016, respectively.

Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. Larger homes need more smoke alarms. Recommended smoke alarm placement:

  • In every bedroom
  • Outside bedrooms
  • On each level of the house
  • In the main living space

Sleeping with the bedroom door closed slows the smoke from entering and provides a little extra time if you need to escape out a window,” said Sandahl.

Smoke alarms are effective in alerting sleeping occupants to danger. They provide an early warning of a fire, giving people more escape time. Three of every five home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

The Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office is a division of the Idaho Department of Insurance.

For general information about coverage provided in a homeowner policy, read this American Insurance FAQ article here. For more information about the coverage provided in your individual homeowner policy, contact our office at (208) 746-9646 or American@am-ins.com or contact us online here.

Source: Idaho Department of Insurance, News Release – Dec 20, 2016, Last minute Christmas gift idea – smoke alarms!


2016 - 708 lbs. collected in first Food Drive

You helped our Agents and employees at AMERICAN INSURANCE collect 708 lbs. of donations during our Food Drive in December 2016 to support the Community Action Partnership (CAP) Food Bank!

Steven Small (left), with the Lewiston CAP Food Bank, received a check from John Sullivan, President of AMERICAN INSURANCE for $500 in matching funds in addition to the food donations collected from Dec.12-16.

Steve said, "From all of us at the Community Action Partnership Food Bank, thank you so much for the food and money donations. They will indeed make a difference in our community. This time of year can be a difficult one for many families and being able to have a holiday meal is much more than food. It is a chance for the families and children to enjoy the holidays in the same manner as others in the community, to feel a part of that community. our generous contributions help us to help them, and make it a much brighter holiday for a lot of families. Thank you, again."

Jenifer Womack, Community Engagement Specialist at the Moscow CAP office, thanked the Moscow and Lewiston offices of American Insurance for their support.

"Thanks again for all of the help your insurance agency offices have provided to fellow community members!" she said.

Our new Personal Lines CSA, Shelly Abel, won the staff contest with the most donations collected. Congratulations, Shelly!

SEE PICTURES BELOW OF SOME OF OUR CLIENTS, FRIENDS AND STAFF WHO JOINED US WITH DONATIONS TO OUR FOOD DRIVE. 

The staff at Central Optical Lab

Su Brown and Associates, CPA

The American Insurance staff members

Thanks, again, to everyone who donated!

Need more information or ready to sign up for this year's event?

Contact our Event Coordinator Stephanie Herbert at community@am-ins.com or (208) 413-6242.

Watch for updates along the week on our Facebook events page here

Read more archives of our past food drives:


Customer Service – what do our customers say?

call-15836_1920.jpgHow are we doing?  Tell us what you think! Please send in a confidential message to management by filling out our short  Customer Service Comment  form and then clicking “submit”. Your honest feedback helps us improve our service. It would be helpful to have your complete contact information in case we need to reach you for clarification on your comments. We value your opinion. Thank you!

Shawn D. Sullivan, President

Gift Card: As a "thank you" for taking the time to fill out our  on-line  Customer Service Comment form, some customers have received a $5 gift card to a local restaurant or coffee shop. Our gift card offer is for current customers who complete our on-line “Customer Service Comments” form and provide written comments of at least 3 sentences with permission to share the comments on our website, social media and promotions. This offer is limited to one person or one household address per 12 month period. 

HERE ARE SOME RECENT CUSTOMER TESTIMONIALS:

Paula Marley, of Lewiston, Idaho, said, "We have been using American Insurance for our insurance for many years. Helen was our first contact for a number of years and our experience working with her was excellent. We now work with Shelly Abel. She has been very accommodating and worked hard to keep us informed about our insurance options. We have had excellent service." 

Anne Roberts, of Lewiston, said, "Tasha (Sullivan) was very professional and polite and made the entire process very easy. She kept communication open and let me know what was going on each step. I am very satisfied with the service."

Kristie Inham, of Moscow, Idaho, said, "I'm now going onto year 5 with American Insurance. I started out with just my house. I now have added my car as Aimee Martinez has become my go to insurance person! She puts up with my random questions every year and is always there when I've needed her. I grew up with her so it is extremely important that I have a company and it's been amazing to have a local friendly face I know. She goes above and beyond for me and I feel she should be recognized for this. And she always lets me ask all of my questions."

Kadie Reeves, of Pullman, Wash. said, "My husband and I moved from Idaho to Washington. Aimee Martinez help us get the best policy, which in fact saved us money! She was super helpful, because I just had to call and she did the rest!! I'm very satisfied with American Insurance."

Patricia Mandzak, of Lewiston, said, "Yes, I did receive the (Welcome Kit in the) manila envelope, which included the calendar. Thank you for the information. I was very pleased by the efficiency and knowledge of Jenni Waters, who made the whole process painless and almost effortless."

Geni Evans, of Asotin, Wash., said, "I’m very satisfied. I moved from Idaho to Washington. I contacted Tina (Heitmann) and she immediately went to work on finding the best policy for me. She is always responsive to all my concerns. I keep my vehicles and home insured with her guidance."

Nancy Hansen, of Lewiston, said, "I’m very satisfied because I called to check if my due date of my payment could be changed because have car and home insurance and home taxes all due at the same time. I talked to Shelly (Abel). She called the company and because of Memorial Day, she gave me the date when I can pay with no late fees. She went out of her way to provide excellent customer service and reassure me with this information. I love American Insurance and their products and prices and the staff of agents. Oh, and Philip Sullivan is also a gem gave me good advice on hiring a concrete company.

Tyler Jenks, of Lewiston said, "I'm very satisfied - I talked with (Jenni Waters), who helped us (while Shelly Abel was out). Jenni was helpful, informative, and answered all of my questions! She made the experience quick and easy, and it was very much appreciated!

Melissa Turner, with Dynamic Real Estate in Clarkston, Wash., said, "Anna Franklin is always so helpful. She is always on top of everything and goes above normal customer service to make sure that our needs are met. I would highly recommend American Insurance for anyones needs. Everyone I have ever talked with is always pleasant to work with and always eager to help."

Stephanie Nielson, with American Lawn Care in Lewiston, said, "I had a question about a change in my premium and wanted to remove a vehicle on one of our policies. I always deal with Anna (Franklin) and she always is very prompt in getting back to me if she has to call the insurance company to find out more information. She was very professional and knowledgeable about as to why I had a change in premium. She’s always been the best to work with, so I'm very thankful for her!"

Donna Trump, of Clarkston, said, "Natasha (Sullivan) is always very kind and professional. I've been having some issues with fraud and she has helped me out so much. She always promptly returns my phone call."

Kelly Peters of Clarkston, said, "Having a large family and a newborn often (makes) scheduling appointments very challenging. (Natasha Sullivan) made my experience fantastic by allowing me to email all of my questions. I was able to increase my home owners insurance without an appointment and she was always very prompt in responding to me, all while keeping my day a little more sane!"

Connie Kopp, of Lewiston, said, "I called Shelly Abel to inquire about changing my homeowner's policy. I am glad that I called because she discovered we were being charged for over 1,000 square feet less than our home actually is. We assume the person who initially set it up was thinking it was a basement, so treated it as such. Now my insurance is straightened out, and we have added an auto policy as well, which gives us a discount. Shelly was professional, polite, and a pleasure to work with!"

Bev Gilliam, of Culdesac, Idaho, said, “I am very satisfied. (Tina Heitmann) has been very helpful in changing everything for our farm and auto policies. She answered on my first call and worked on getting the best price for us."

Kim Willis, of Clarkston, said, "I needed some help with our policies and Natasha Sullivan, my new agent, was so helpful! We've been with your company for years now and had a few different agents, always being happy with our service. Tasha is no different. She was able to help us and so efficiently! I am so happy with her already! :) Thank you for not only having the best agents but always providing the best service! I am very satisfied with American Insurance."

Carole Schroeder, of Lewiston, said, "I am very satisfied. Natasha (Sullivan) is an exceptional employee. Friendly, knowledgeable, and with a "carry-through" work ethic. I telephoned about an issue related to a re-shopping request for our insurance based on an ad from American Insurance that I read in the newspaper, the Lewiston Tribune, plus another matter regarding our insurance . She said she would get back to me with information and she did - with a lot of information. I think, from our business encounter, that Natasha is an excellent employee for American Insurance. You're lucky you found her."

Katie Freeman, from Lewiston, said "I had no idea how to go about getting health insurance. Dave Root at American Insurance helped walk me through the entire process. He was on top of all of the paperwork and did for me what I was not available to do so myself. Dave found me a policy that suits all of my needs and is very affordable. I'm very satisfied with his help."

Laura Coughenour, from Clarkston, said, "My husband and I purchased a new truck over the weekend and I emailed Tina (Heitmann) first thing on Monday morning. She let me know she would get it taken care of. When I got home from work on Tuesday, we had our temporary proof of insurance. Everything has always been super easy the entire time we have had American Insurance handle our insurance needs."

Amy Stoker, with Lazer Heating & A/C, said, "Dave Root quickly helped remove a terminated employee from our group medical policy. Karen Virgin was very responsive to my questions and requests to change drivers on our auto policy. I appreciate their communication through email in a timely matter."

Kati Mason, of Clarkston, said, "I am very satisfied, and I really like how personable Shelly (Abel) is. When I called to cancel the insurance on the Jeep we sold, I told her my name and she instantly knew who I was and asked what she could help me with, like she truly wanted to help me. Plus, she handled it all within minutes and not taking up a lot of my time. It is always very easy to deal with our insurance needs and questions. I don't ever feel like I am bothering her when I call. Thanks."

Paula Dammon, of Lewiston, shared, "Shelly (Abel) definitely went above and beyond! She answered all my questions (and my husband's questions) on multiple occasions. She put up with us repeatedly changing our minds and always had a friendly professional attitude."

Kelsey McDaniel, of Lewiston, said, "I’ve had (American Insurance) ever since I was 18. Best place for insurance needs. Customer service is on point. I’m 32 now.” 

Debbie Dionne, of Lewiston, said, "(American Insurance staff members) are a broker and will shop you through their different companies to save you a fortune. Customer service is top notch!”

Jessica Ongstad, of Lewiston, said, “Love (American Insurance)! It's been 7 years and we have amazing rates.” 

Kim Willis, of Clarkston, said, "I had several changes to my existing auto policies I needed to make as well as adding a new vehicle. Philip Sullivan was so helpful! Philip made my changes and had me a new ID card in my hands the same day. This is THE BEST company and I am one loyal customer because of it."

Clay White, of Lewiston, shared, "Tyra was very quick to respond. As I arrived at the office, she greeted me at the desk and escorted me to her desk where she had obviously done her homework, as she quickly answered all of my questions. I was very impressed!"

Leesa Semler, of Moscow, Idaho, shared, "I am very satisfied. I was interested in getting new and updated insurance, and Aimee (Martinez) saved me over $700 a year with my new and better policy. She was very prompt and got back to me in a timely matter. She was very professional and I would recommend her to everyone!"

Cristi Dawson, of Lewiston, shared, "Our car insurance increased significantly this year. I emailed Tina (Heitmann) and she found new coverage for us that cut our costs nearly in half! Every time we contact her with a question or concern, she is very responsive and never fails to resolve our issue. We really appreciate having Tina as our contact person. Thank you!"

Bonnie Graham, of Rathdrum, Idaho, shared, "I am very satisfied after I contacted Shelly Abel because she is my daughter's agent. Shelly was very prompt in getting me accurate quotes and saved me a lot of money with additional coverage. She is friendly and explains insurance information so I can understand it. I am happy we chose her."

Steven Branting, of Lewiston, shared, "Very satisfied! Once again, Tina (Heitmann) guided me to coverage that meets our needs. Now our son is a loyal customer after 20 years away."

Nancy Hansen, of Lewiston, posted on our Facebook page "I've been with American Insurance for 3 years and I am very happy with your rates (I saved almost 50% by switching to them), settlement and general customer service. Issues are resolved competently and fairly quickly. The Sullivans, who own the agency themselves, are very knowledgeable, personable, and caring. I highly recommend this insurance agency.  I believe you are the best in the valley in many areas of expertise." 

Hailey Shingler, of Moscow, shared, "I contacted Jeremy Van Houten to get a quote for car insurance. He was extremely kind. Jeremy was very helpful during all of our interactions."

William Bly, of Lewiston, shared, "I have been with American Insurance for close to 30 years. You handle all of my insurance needs, and I wouldn't think of going anywhere else. Tina (Heitmann) is my agent, and she's a great lady who is always there for our needs. Thank you for being a #1 Agency."

Isaac Mendez, of Lewiston, shared, "Shelly Abel is my new customer service representative. I pay yearly for two vehicles and my home. She did her research and figured out what was the best bundle for all three of my items. She was very friendly and very professional. I Believe that the customer service that American Insurance provides is what separates them from the competition."

Patricia Torres, of Lewiston, shared, "Helen Duman has been my agent for several years. She has always given excellent customer service. On this occasion, I called to remove a vehicle from my policy. Helen has always responded in a timely manner, and I truly appreciate her. Because of Helen's excellent customer service, I have referred several people to American Insurance."

Cheryl Grabeel, of Clarkston, shared, "I called American Insurance on Tuesday, Oct. 10 to cancel our boat insurance on our Thunder Jet Havasu because we had sold it over the previous weekend. I was directed to Tyra and was pleasantly surprised with her cheerful demeanor and eagerness to help me. Our insurance was canceled effective the day we sold it and she explained we should receive a refund in about two weeks. I have always been given quick and efficient service anytime I have called in for assistance."

Keesha Johnson, of Clarkston, shared, "My daughter was purchasing a car and she was excited!  We purchased on Saturday, but I was wanting insurance ASAP on Monday.  Shelly (Abel) was really good and she was quick, too.  She emailed me a Proof of Liability card right away."

Cara Hartley, of Lewiston, shared, "I contacted Tina (Heitmann) by email to make a policy change. I love working with Tina! She is always so helpful and quick to respond."

Dusti Howell, of Orofino, Idaho, shared, Our second child got a car, so we needed to add it to our policy. I called Lori on Monday morning and she got right on it. I had proof of insurance in the mail by Wednesday and an actual card by Friday. We have added and changed vehicles many times over the years and have always been very satisfied with the service we have received from the American Insurance staff!"

Andrew Johnson, of Clarkston, shared, “I contacted Lori for a new homeowners insurance policy, renters insurance, and auto insurance deletions/additions. Lori is very knowledgeable and timely. I am very satisfied with the service I received."

Dan Cornell, of Lewiston, shared, Tina Heitmann was very helpful in making sure we were connected to the right conversations and making sure that our new vehicle was cared for. She has always been willing to help however she is able and that is a great thing for when you are navigating areas that you are not always familiar with. She is a great service provider for American Insurance!!”

Merilynn Scharnhorst, of Lewiston, and co-owner of Weaver Court, in Lewiston, said, "I needed to make adjustments to my commercial policy and personal vehicles. I like that I can email my service requests to Helen (Duman) and Karen (Virgin) and they respond right away. My policy changes were completed promptly and accurately. I was very satisfied with the service I received from American Insurance and would recommend them. Your Agency is great and you are also very supportive of college scholarships."

Brady O'Kelley, owner of O'Kelley's General Contracting LLC, of Clarkston, shared, “Thank you, Karen, so much for all your help. American insurance is great to work with. We appreciate you all!"

Barb Crabtree, of Moscow, Idaho, said "Shelly Abel has helped me with lots of things. I now call her directly because of the great assistance she gives and it seems that she is "always" available! I just talked with her yesterday to drop a vehicle from our plan and add a new one. She did this immediately and emailed me a proof or insurance that arrived before I even got home from the dealership. She is very helpful and professional."

Kadie Reeves, of Potlatch, Idaho, said: "My husband and I have been with (one) company for years ... until an agent (Shelly) called us. She told us we could get a better quote and she wanted to go over our options, without even having to call them. And what do you know, we found a better deal!!

Abby Whiteside, of Moscow, said: "I was very apprehensive about calling because I was worried about being able to insure the manufactured home that I just purchased. I was directed to call and speak with Jeremy (Van Houten) to get my stuff set up. He was very helpful and answered all of my questions. Jeremy got back to me via email or phone very quickly, and was able to get me a quote for my place very quickly that I was satisfied with. He was friendly and courteous. Cheers."

Lori Forest, of Lewiston, said: “I was just reading your newsletter and want to underscore to your clients how beneficial it is to periodically see if there are better auto and home insurance rates out there. My rates through (my last company) went up significantly over the last couple of years, so I called Tina (Heitmann) recently and am delighted that she saved me over $400/year by switching to Travelers. It costs nothing to ask, and can really pay off, as in my case.”

Scarlett Profitt, of Lewiston, said: "I emailed Mike Everett about perhaps changing my RX (prescription) plan if I needed to. I didn't have to do that, but Mike was ready to help me. He is an asset to your company."

Kerry & Sue Reed, of Lewiston, said: "We gratefully thank Tim Gleason for spending so much time with us getting Kerry set up for Medicare and his Supplemental insurance, and Sue's insurance needs as well. He is so knowledgeable, compassionate, and humorous to help get though everything. We highly recommend him for anyone needing help with medical insurance!" 

Richard V. Williams, of Moscow, said: "I have always found everyone at American Insurance (Moscow Office) to be most helpful. Jennah is no exception. I wished to explore options for my auto insurance. I have been with Safeco (through American Insurance) for many years and been satisfied. However, my son (15 years old) has now completed drivers ed. and and I wanted to find a better option than Safeco's (assumption that every driver will drive every car and for young drivers an excessive premium). Jennah was most helpful in working-up a variety of quotes for me."

Lane Parkins, of Lewiston, said: "Jeremy (Van Houten) was extremely helpful and knowledgeable about required coverages. He provdied me with 2 different quotes, each with different coverage levels. We are saving $50 per month over our old company."

Monte Drake, of Richland, Wash., said: "Tina Heitmann always does a great job when handling my insurance needs. She is quick to respond and friendly. She also helps educate me when I have questions about insurance. I recently needed additional insurance on a new house and her rates were very competitive, allowing me to feel comfortable that my other insurance coverage was properly priced. Thanks for the great service!"

Kathy Leavitt, of Clarkston, said: "Lori helped me with a new homeowners policy. She was great and patiently answered all of my questions. She is always helpful and kind."

Larry Coldiron, of Lewiston, said:"Tina is very familiar with our account. She's very helpful in making the process of obtaining insurance painless. She also helps our process be as fast as possible."

Charles Jones, of Clarkston, said: "(Lori) made the experience quick and painless. She remembered me. (Lori) meets my needs."

Larry Kraus, of Lewiston, said: "Lori was very personable and knowledgeable. She was willing to work with me. I appreciated doing business with her."

Holly Bagley, of Grangeville, ID, said: "Helen has been wonderful! She always takes the time to research what plan is best for me. Knowing I was trying to save money she gave me a few options. I did save that year! Thank you!"

Annetta Bullard, of Lewiston, said: "We had the privilege of using the recycling (shredding) offer that American Insurance was so kind to provide to clients. We just wanted to let you know how much we appreciated it and please let management know that we wanted to say 'Thank you' and it was a real blessing! I should have written some time ago, but just remembered today that I had never said 'Thank you.'"

JoReen Brinkman, of Lewiston, said: "Dina (Inman) is always awesome. She has always been very helpful and she is my favorite person to talk to in the Moscow office."

Amy Winn, of Lewiston, said: "I called in to pay my homeowner insurance premium. Helen (Duman) was available when I called and took my credit card number quickly and I was off the phone in a matter of moments. She also followed up by sending me the receipt via email."

Rachel Hjortness, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, said: "(Your agent) Jeremy Van Houten was very helpful when I called last week to get a car insurance quote - easy to talk to, very patient answering all my questions in several emails back and forth, and always responded quickly. He worked with me to get extra discounts and helped me save money without sacrificing coverage. Thanks Jeremy!"

Wayne Snyder, of Moscow, said: "My contact through your company has been primary through Jeremy (Van Houten). He has made this experience easy, prompt, and enjoyable with his customer service skills educating me about insurance rates and informing me about what was need to complete the process. Very satisfied!"

Kally Reno, of Lewiston, said: "Helen is the best! She is always helpful whenever we have a vehicle change. When we bought our new car this last year, she was quick to send us a new vehicle card and is always upbeat and positive! Lisa (Gludt), the Receptionist at the Southway office, is also always positive and friendly. Really enjoy visiting with her at the Southway office (dropping off payment). She is a real gem!"

Cindi Brinkman, of Moscow, said: "I love that I can call at 4:30 pm and still get quality assistance in answering my questions. I also love having a local number and office that I can call or visit at anytime and not have to press one -15 to find someone to speak to. The Moscow office is great!! I will miss Jenny (Waters) though. I have my car, RV, home, and scooter all through American Insurance!"

Kayla Young, of Lewiston, said: "Working with American Insurance has been amazing! Helen is very easy to get a hold of and answers all of my questions in a timely manner. Very satisfied!"

Jesse Linderman, of Moscow, said: "Very satisfied! I was told by a friend that Jeremy at American Insurance could find me a great deal on auto coverage. He found me SR22 insurance at a much better price than previous quotes I had received and he did so very quickly. I am happy that I went to him."

Chelsey Dahl, of Lewiston, said: "Working with American Insurance has been amazing because any issue we face is immediately taken care of. Phone calls are returned quickly and staff is very friendly. Our coverage is excellent and we are very happy to work with great local people!"

Deborah Branting, of Clarkston, said: "We have been very happy with the service from our American Insurance representative. It is nice to be able to have all of our vehicles, ATVs and home insured under one company. Tina is very good at communicating with us when we need information. She is always very friendly and professional. We trust her with our insurance needs."

Teri Hornberger, of Kendrick, ID, said: "I cannot express enough how Lori has been extremely helpful with any questions I have about my auto insurance. I could not find my car insurance information to keep in the glove compartment of my van. She got on this right away, and sent me the paper work that I asked for. She also sent me a long report on how I am covered with a Rent a Car while traveling."

Harry Sullivan, of Bellevue, WA, said: "Helen wrapped up auto, home and umbrella in a single package for a significant savings over Farmers Insurance. Great price and fast, fair, friendly service from the professionals at American Insurance."

Greg and Tanya Ausman, of Clarkston, said: "We absolutely were so excited when American Insurance added Lori to their team. Having worked with her in insurance, too, I know she is awesome at what she does, fast and knowledgeable! You now have our home insurance and more to come! Thank you Lori for everything. You are the best!!"

Mary Wright, of Clarkston, said: "I just became a customer for my vehicles and later will transfer my home insurance to American Insurance. Your representative Helen was more than helpful and saved me on the cost of insurance."

Charlene McConnell Edwards, of Pierce, ID, said: "Very satisfied! In February 2013, we sold our home in Parker, Ariz., and relocated to Pierce, Idaho. In doing so we looked for a reliable insurance to handle our insurance coverage. We went to American Insurance and was introduced to Tina. She has been more than helpful and is always there for us with our needs. We really do appreciate her and the rest of the friendly staff. Thanks, to all."

Kimberly Willis, of Clarkston, said: "OMG!! You are AMAZING!! Just another reason why I rave about you as my agent. I feel like you're part of our family :) You helped us save money when we bought our first big house and then moving our vehicle insurance from the only agent we had ever had (and our families) and now our baby girl is grown up, has her license and first vehicle....thank you, Helen, truly, from the bottom of my heart. You really are an asset to your company and to this valley :) "

Scott and Ruth Butler, of Moscow, said: "We recently moved here and were not looking forward to making inquiries at all the local insurance companies to chose a new company and agent. Our son, who has lived here for 14 years, told us to call Shawn (Sullivan) at American Insurance. "He will find you the lowest premium. If you ever have a claim, Shawn will be right on top of it. You will not have to wait and wonder." During our business of settling in, Shawn did all the paper work for us. Very Satisfied!"

Isaac Mendez, Personal Trainer in Lewiston, said: "Lori did a great job for me. I was very satisfied. I thought my premium was going to be a lot higher. Instead it was much lower. I really appreciated her professionalism and speed. Very time efficient for busy people. Thanks Lori and American Insurance."

Sierra Squires, of Lewiston, said: "The staff at American Insurance has always been so helpful and informative, especially with my boyfriend and I being first time home buyers! Helen was able to get us a quote very fast and there were no surprises. We always have wonderful customer service when we have questions. My boyfriend and I are extremely happy that we chose American Insurance!"

Heather Tostenrude, of Clarkston, said: "Very satisfied! I am not the type of person that shops for new insurance every year. I enjoy having an agent that knows me and I have a history with. I had been with the same insurance for years, but when I purchased my home they ran me in circles trying to get my homeowners insurance. It was stressful and embarrassing. My realtor suggested I call American, so I did. I was connected with Philip (Sullivan) and he made everything go so smoothly. Easy getting my home insured, auto switched over, better coverage AND saved me money. He is a pleasure to work with and always prompt and easy to contact. The office seems to be full of people that really enjoy their jobs. Thanks for being so great to work with!"

James Matuska Sr., of Deary, Idaho, said: "Dina has been handling my policies for years and is always on top of even difficult issues. I asked her to change my Safeco auto policy to 2 pay and when Safeco messed up and billed me twice for the same amount within a month, she got it fixed right away. Thanks for the effort. Very satisfied!"

Tom & Annie, at Redinger Heating and Cooling, Inc., of Moscow, said: "We LOVE working with Shawn (Sullivan), Cassandra, and everyone at American Insurance! They consistently go above and beyond and they work their tails off to solve any issues that arise. We can always count on them to provide excellent rates, great coverage and a friendly voice on the other end of the phone. This summer we struggled with new and expanded bonds for the State of Idaho and the State of Washington and Cassandra worked tirelessly to get our bonds processed and to the right agencies. We couldn't do business without them!"

Jim & Karen Kessler, of Clarkston, said: "Jim & I enjoyed the efficient and professional manner Helen helped us do the insurance part of our recent (refinance). Had a call from a competitor wanting us to compare insurance coverage and our comment was, "You'd have to go along way to present us with a reason to leave American Insurance - it would be like a divorce we don't want so we're staying in this relationship, but thanks for asking." Very satisfied!"

Mike Nugen, of Moscow, said: "Every time I have phoned in, Jen has been more than willing to help me in whatever way possible. Getting me quotes, changing my policy, or just even changing cars for me :) I always receive quick and friendly help and for that reason Jen will always remain my agent. Thanks, Jen!"

Nori Pearson, of Lewiston, said: "Wow! I am constantly adjusting my insurance to fit my changing needs and Helen and Tina are so very patient with me. They always make me feel that they are there to help me get the best insurance possible at the best price. I had misgivings when my insurance was transferred from my hometown agent but it has been a great experience working with everyone at American Insurance. Very satisfied!"

Rick Flomer, of Moscow, said: "Every time I need help or have a question, Tina has ALWAYS helped me. She goes out of her way to help us with our insurance. Thanks Tina."

Deb Ven Huizen, of Lewiston, said: "Helen has always been very profession and proficient when helping me. I was very happy to have her look into a new policy. She is resourceful and efficient. Thank you, Helen."

Dede Heimgartner, of Lewiston, said: "Hi, Lori, thank you for saving my mom a great deal of money and stress. I love working with American Insurance. You are very professional, friendly and knowledgeable."

Steve Branting, of Lewiston, said: "I could call my insurance company when I have a question, but why waste the time. Tina knows everything I need to know. When I am asked about insurance, I just say 'Call American.'"

Thomas Hughes, of Clarkston, said: "On the way to a family reunion in Alabama, I had an incident that caused damage to my vehicle. Still driveable, I continued our trip. The representative in Lewiston said we could wait until we returned home (to fix the problem). The process was smooth and easy. Other small claims were handled with the same professionalism. Very satisfied!"

Tami Cole, of Spokane, WA, said: "Recently my parked car was totaled and I called my agent Tina (at American Insurance) right away. She immediately got me into a rental car until the other insurance took it over. She also got me in contact with someone from Safeco to take over this claim. From the first person (Tina) through the total loss specialist (at Safeco) I was more than satisfied. The at-fault insurance company was not prompt at getting back to me so I decided to have my insurance (with Safeco) take it over and everyone made it the best experience considering the situation. I will always be a loyal Safeco customer!"

Kimberly Willis, of Clarkston, said: "I became a customer about 8 years ago when we bought our home because you had the best homeowners policies. Then soon after transferred our auto policies because Helen saved us so much on our insurance. Since then, my dad moved to Washington and was insurance shopping and I said, "halt -you need to talk to Helen! She will get you by far the best rate and she's super nice and helpful!" He not only talked to her, but switched over during the same conversation! We've unfortunately in the last couple weeks had to start a claim on our homeowner's insurance so my husband stopped in to talk to her. He came home and said "she made it so easy!!" Helen is such an asset to your company! NEVER let her go!!

Jennifer Young, of Moscow, said: "I love Jenny! She is quick and very knowledgeable. I am very pleased with my insurance company. I would not change it. Very satisfied!"

Russ Keener, customer who works at Sylvan Furniture in Lewiston, said: "After several years with Geico, I received by mail a letter from your firm stating that with my homeowner policy, I could save money on my car and truck insurance. I called and spoke with Lori and had a quote within a few hours. Your quote was more than $100 dollars cheaper! Very satisfied with your service."

Brian McKarcher, customer and Owner of Living Waters Lawn & Landscape, said: "Great job adding Lori (to your service team)!!! She just saved me $700 a year on my personal insurance line and added some better benefits. Give her a pat on the back for me. Way to go John and thanks, you're the best!!!!!"

Jeannie Johnson, customer and Branch Manager of Cutting Edge Credit Union, said: "For many years I have been a customer with American Insurance and over the years I have referred many people to Tina. She has always been a pleasure to work with and very helpful. Many people have come back to me to thank me because your company has not only saved them money, but exceeded their expectations for customer service. I have to say that I was a little upset to learn that I was transferred to someone else recently and partially blamed myself for referring so many people to the point Tina wasn’t going to be my rep any longer. Over the course of the last month or so I have had the pleasure of working with Lori. She, too, has the same commitment to her customers that Tina has and I have to say thank you! I will continue to refer those customers to your company!"

Jesi Miller, with Craigs Appliance of Lewiston, said: "I work with Mike Everett for both my business insurance and personal health insurance policies. Mike always puts forward an extra effort to help me get things taken care of and helps me to understand everything. He even came in the office from his vacation because I was having problems. Mega kudos to Mike!!"

Shannon Kenyon, of Lewiston, said: "Thank you, Lori, for your speedy, efficient assistance. Glad to be working with you! Very satisfied."

Donna Stratton, with Community Action Partnership in Lewiston, said: "I simply want to pass on how easy it is to work with Renee (Commercial Lines Customer Service Agent). Her positive attitude and quick responses makes my job much easier. She is definitely an asset to your agency in customer service!"

DeeLee Mendenhall, of Lewiston, said: "My family has been with American Insurance since 1980 and have always had outstanding service and products. Now that I am turning 65 and needed help with signing up for Medicare, Dave Root helped me get through the online paperwork and it was a piece of cake! Thanks for all you have done for me and my family over the years. Dave can never retire! Thanks again."

Max Mohan, of Farmington, WA, said: "What an incredible experience, past and present being a customer of American Insurance. Actually they're the folks behind the company, who have my back. John Sullivan, son of 'Sully', continues the tradition that the customer comes first. John saved me some money. More importantly he took the time from his busy schedule to do a deep dive into my account and to explain the hows and whats of my policy. I'm in good hands!"

Bob Deal, with LifeFocus Financial Advisors in Walla Walla, WA, said: "Tina - Not to embarrass you, but you might be the best insurance agent on the face of the planet. You are super responsive when I call or email and are always willing to put up with my long list of questions. I hope your boss knows how good you are."

Steven Branting, of Lewiston, said: (Very Satisfied) "I can depend on Tina to sort through my options and laser in on the important issues. I come in knowing what I want, and Tina's expertise makes things happen."

Adrian & Evelyn Burd, of Kennewick, WA, said: "(After we moved) we had expected to move our insurance to a local agency and we did attempt to do so. They couldn't beat your rates and I know we couldn't match Tina's service. How much closer to your agent can you get then the telephone? Keep up the good service!"

Gina Sparks, of Lewiston, said: "Helen, our insurance service agent, is "the BEST"!! She helps keep our account correct and updated!! She is a definite asset to American Insurance. Thanks, Helen."

Andy & Wendy McConkey, of Lewiston, said: “Just wanted to give Tina a huge thank you in taking care of our needs. She is always quick to respond with quotes or extensions of coverage. We really appreciate the positive attitude and willingness to help. We have never regretted our move to AMERICAN INSURANCE. We look forward to many more years of excellent service. Keep up the good work Tina!”

Marilyn Glaze, of Orofino, ID, said: Tina, this note of thanks just can’t convey the gratitude that’s sent your way. But may these words somehow express thanks for your care and thoughtfulness! You are always there to get things done. I really appreciate you.”

Kerry & Sue Reed, of Lewiston, said: Helen, Kerry and I wish to say a special thank you for your help in savings us $ on our insurance. With Kerry now retired, any savings is oh so helpful. You are so awesome & we appreciate you so much. You are why we have stayed with AI all these years! 

Jared Helm, of Coeur d’Alene, ID, said: "Lisa Gludt is the most amazing receptionist ever!!! Every time I call to make a payment Lisa talks to me with such a high respect and energy within her voice. I never feel like I am a burden to her day! There is something about the way she answers the phone that makes me feel close to your company. I do not say this often; however, I can say that because of Lisa I have stayed with your company. I am glad to inform you that every interaction I have had with Lisa has been positive."

Lynette Goodson, with Goodson Plumbing in Moscow, ID, said: “I just wanted you to know that Lesha is wonderful, does an excellent job for our company. She answers all our questions. She doesn't make me feel stupid when I ask her questions. She is efficient and does what she says she is going to do. She gets back to us very promptly. We do appreciate all her hard work and wanted to let you know that she does an excellent job. We are thankful for Lesha and all the wonderful service she provides us for your company.”

Tyler Randall, of Lewiston, said: Tina, was great help. She put everything together and made it so simple to switch to American Insurance.”

Rod & Michelle Smith, of Lewiston, said: Helen, thank you so very, very much for always watching out for us & ensuring us the best price and best coverage. I always tell friends and family how great you guys are and I hope for more business to come your way.”

Kelly Price, of Pullman, WA, said: “I was completely freaked out, when a huge wind gust, blew my car door out of my hand, and into the car parked next to me at our local Walmart. I called American Insurance at once, and talked to Dina, (I totally love all the ladies at American Insurance) but, on this day, I had the pleasure of talking to Dina. She was very personable, and understood that I was upset. Dina reassured me that everything would be taken care of, and not to stress about my situation! That evening, I had phone calls from the gentleman I hit insurance company, and my insurance company. Lastly Dina called me again, to make sure everyone called me, and she also asked me how I was doing. Wow, what great service I had received from American Insurance. The American Insurance that I use is in Moscow, Idaho, and I will never switch to another insurance company! Thank you American Insurance and Dina for making a bad situation into a wonderful experience!”

Jennifer Sharp, of Moscow, said: "Thank you, Helen. Darren and I really appreciate the fact that we can always trust you to follow up and handle our matters. You are great. Thanks again.”

Dennis Deccio, of Moscow, said: “My pickup was recently rear ended. Farmers was the company used by the guy that hit me. I met with Jenni at the Moscow office of American Insurance several times and she was absolutely wonderful. She even called Farmers herself to get them to move. Also, she is handling claims from wind damage done to my home last winter. Fast, efficient and always with a smile. Jenni is a "keeper"! A pro with a smile. You can't beat that! She obviously enjoys helping people.”

Julia and Richard Akin, of Genesee, ID, said: “I am very satisfied with your customer service. Every time we have spoken with Tina we have received excellent service:)”

Nikki Ausman, of Clarkston, said: “Once again Tina has saved my butt!! I didn't open my mail for about a week, missing my cancellation policy notice on our boat. Tina called me while I was out of town, got my credit card number and I was reinstated before I hung up!! She is the best ever!! Love that woman!!!”

Molly Hierschbiel, of Moscow, said: “We have received timely information, pleasant, personal service and dependable return calls no matter who we are dealing with in our Moscow office. Great, friendly, local business.”

Gina and Bob Sparks, of Lewiston, said: “My husband, Bob Sparks, loves to buy vehicles, fix them up and resale them. Because of this we are constantly in contact with Helen - who has always worked on our account. Every time I call Helen, either to add insurance or to delete it, she always does what is needed in a very timely manner. I never have to call twice, either!! In this day of "working with the public" other companies that I have dealt with have that "I could care less about you" attitude. Helen always greets me with a joyful voice and I automatically smile when I call her. She is definitely an asset to your company. I am glad we have all of our vehicles and house with your company. I don't even look for better rates because I am very happy about the way I am treated. Bad customer service can ruin a good company. I am glad that excellent customer service is appreciated by your company. Your customers are important to you and it shows especially when management does want feedback!! Thanks again, Helen!”

Carrlea Fauver, of Lewiston, said: “John, I just wanted to send you a quick note to give Kudos to one of your employees. I’ve been working with Tina Heitmann on several changes to home and auto policies, and I just want to say that her customer service skills are amazing! Her response time is so quick and she is so friendly. I had thought about going with a different company but because of her service I am sticking with your company. I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced such wonderful customer service from any company I’ve ever dealt with before. Please give her a “pat on the back” for me!”

Katie Crowe, of Salem, OR, said: “Thanks again Tina and I want to tell you that even though our plans changed about retiring back to the valley this summer, I am so glad I still get to have you do our insurance. It is so nice to have an agent who knows me by name when I call and can recognize me when I occasionally come in the office. I have always been very satisfied with the service for our vehicles and houses. You have been wonderful to work with.”

Lynda Irish, of Lewiston, said: “Thanks again for all of your hard work. You are a perfect example of why we would never go with Geico or one of these internet outfits!”

Submit your own Customer Service Comment online here!


Q&A featured columns

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SULLY'S WORST BIRTHDAY

Written by John B. Sullivan, son of Frank Sullivan

I f1st Lt Frank Sullivanound a letter that my dad, Frank “Sully” Sullivan, sent home during the Korean War. It was written on American Red Cross stationary and tells about events that happened in Korea on his birthday, March 12, 1951. This letter is very personal and I’ve held on to it until he and my mother had passed away.

I share it with you now as an example of how combat takes a heavy toll on a soldier’s emotions and how fear can grip a heart as they face death; eventually conquering the fear enough to find some measure of bravery hiding deep inside. This was that day for my dad.

Certainly other soldiers were in more fierce combat and many made the ultimate sacrifice. In my book, all our soldiers are heroes and we rightfully honor their service each Veterans Day.

BACKGROUND: After his service in WWII, Sully joined the Army Reserves, 148th Engineering Battalion, stationed here in Lewiston, ID. When America entered the Korean War, his unit was called up. At that time he was age 28, married to Betty, and they had one son, Harry, age 2. Sully, a 1st Lt, was assigned to the 105 mm Howitzer Battery, 3rd Infantry Division as a Forward Observer (FO).

During the Korean War a Forward Observer would often need to secretly crawl to an elevated front-line forward position on or behind enemy lines, then observe enemy positions, calculate on a grid map enemy troop or supply locations and communicate back to HQ for planned artillery attacks. Forward Observers were targets of enemy snipers because of their forward positions. In the letter the phrase “on the line” or “on line”refers to going back on FO duty – following “the line” to the forward position.

THE LETTER: This letter was written to “HWC”, Harry W. Christy, who was Sully’s uncle and employer for his job as an agent at American Insurance. I have attached a copy of the actual letter - click here.

In case you can’t read Sully’s handwriting, which is likely, I have transcribed the letter below. The letter text is shown in italics. Clarifying info is set in (parenthesis). Grammar and spelling is corrected to help readability.


H.W.C.

Just for you to read. (He did not want his wife, Betty, to worry about him)

Here is what happened on my Birthday.

A boy in the 6th Gun Ser – went crazy – shot up 13 rounds of carbine through a tent – did not kill anyone – I was first one there to help hold him down – took weapon away from him after another kid knocked him cold with his fist – while I was holding him down – trying to get things under control.

Then Btry C.O, Capt Jones, came running over and tapped me on the shoulder & said “Sully – quick, get in Jeep and go on (the) line. Lt Ellingson has just been killed with I-ten Co. (IX Corp) 7th Inf.” He was F.O. (forward observer) who took my place on line. He had just been back to rear to clean up and was killed ½ hr after going back on line.

I cried a little, and was up on line in 20 min – giving them hell. I was sick and could not eat for 5 days. I stayed up all night for 4 days & nights and scared to death. I saw medics carrying Lt. Ellingson off the hill and stopped and put my helmet over my heart until they passed me in the path up on line.

So, we are short a man now. I was relieved from line by another man who has not been on line yet this war. I am now getting back to normal and don’t expect to go back on line for at least 10 days. Anyone who thinks there isn’t a war on is crazy – the chinks have really been pouring it on in places on line. Just jabs but when they jab they give it Hell. Filipinos were pushed back on my left this evening.

I just wanted you to know for matter of record what happened on my Birthday – no one here even knows about it.

While I was on hill and Lt. Ellingson body was brought back a T/Sgt went completely crazy and we evacuated him while I was still on line. Ellingson had two children.

Thanks Harry for listening to my feelings. It really set me back for awhile. Inf lost 3 men – same time.

Sully -

Fortunately, Sully survived his tour of duty in Korea. He was later transferred to the I Corp as assistant operations officer in the plans and operations (G-3) section. He was cited for meritorious service and received the Bronze Star Medal.


Before the Korean War, Sully served in WWII in the US Air Corps as a gunner and communications on a B-17 bomber. Click and read his story of when his plane was shot down and he was held as a prisoner of war in...

THE RAT & THE WIND

After the Korean War, Sully ended his service with the National Guard. He continued to build a successful career at AMERICAN INSURANCE. At the urging of military friends, he re-joined the Idaho National Guard to complete his years of service. Although he was a Captain, he had to serve as a Staff Sgt and there are many stories told by other guardsman how the “old timer” was close friends with all the generals. He ended his service with the Idaho National Guard in 1978 and attained the rank of Army Lt. Colonel.


Grandmothered plans ended in 2017

Published Aug 31, 2016

The “grandmothered” medical plans are those small groups purchased from March 23, 2010 to Oct. 1, 2013 that were not ACA (Affordable Care Act) compliant. The transition relief for these plans ended in 2017.

Idaho Department of Insurance has shared this transition information about these grandmothered policies:

  • A grandmothered group policy will automatically be renewed with renewals on or after Aug. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2017.
  • Rates in effect on renewals on or after Aug. 1, 2016 will be in effect through Dec. 31, 2017 creating a renewal rate period longer than 12 months.
  • There are no changes to calendar year benefit periods.
  • Plan year benefit periods will have overlapping 12 month benefit periods for deductible and out-of-pocket maximums. The first benefit period will start on renewal on or after Aug. 1, 2016 and be 12 months in length. The second benefit period begins Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017.
  • Policies that renew January-July 2017 will experience a shorter than 12 month rate renewal period but will still receive a full 12-months of accumulators.
  • Employers must transition to a Qualified Small Group Health Plan effective Jan. 1, 2018.

Small employers need to plan for the increased cost of an ACA compliant qualified health plan beginning on Jan. 1, 2018. ACA plans contain additional mandated coverage like free wellness benefits that generally makes these plans higher cost than “grandmothered” plans.

Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.


Palmer Chase Remembered

Palmer Standford Chase, 91, retired educator and school administrator in Orofino, ID, passed away at Life Care Center in Lewiston on August 18, 2016, with loving family at his side. He was born on April 5, 1925, at the family home on their farm in Reubens, ID, to Charles Irvin and Agnes Joanne (Eikum) Chase. It was Palm Sunday. So, with the encouragement of his Paternal Great Grandmother Culdice, he was named “Palmer”.

His early years were on the farm with two older brothers, Wayne and Levon and then younger brother Clinton. Farm life and his first horse named “Pet” sparked a lifelong love of horses, gardening and canning fruits and vegetables.

When he was 4 years old his father, Charles, became sick with Bright’s (kidney) Disease and passed away within a year. The family then moved to the Lewiston Orchards where Palmer attended the Orchard’s Elementary School from the 1st through 8th grade, attended 9th grade at the old Lewiston Jr High and then at Lewiston High School graduating in 1943.

His mother, Agnes, raised four strapping boys on her own with Norwegian determination, hard work, and an emphasis on a good education. To support the family she received a $25/mo Army pension, worked in the fruit farms, strawberry & raspberry patches to make enough money to get by. They didn’t have a car. Later she clerked at Lewiston’s Woolworth’s Five & Dime store. The boys were fearless and at age 10, Palmer and brothers would make extra money by topping the trees of fruit (other people wouldn’t want to climb that high). They would get up at 4:30 in the morning and walk to the fields before it got too hot. Old man Zimmer would send the boys home with some apple cider. Uncle Otis Tetherow had a big strawberry & raspberry patch and orchards. He was the packing plant manager and hired the boys to box cherries in wooden boxes and label them. Grandpa Albert Chase had a farm in the east orchards (just before you descend into Tammany).

Palmer was a good athlete from the beginning. In grade school he was the school yard champ at basketball with Nellie Ulrich on the outdoor basketball court. Those two, Palmer and a girl, Nellie, would take on all comers – 3 and 4 on a team against the two of them and they would win. He also played baseball, basketball and marbles. He remembered getting into trouble for playing marbles for “keeps”. His teacher was Lillian McSorley who later was a beloved principal at Webster Elementary and then had the new elementary school dedicated in her name. Daughters Charlotte and Cynthia say they attended Webster Elementary where Mrs. McSorley was their principal and were openly favored because of her fondness for their dad, Palmer.

Palmer excelled at Lewiston High School as a leader in sports, academics and student activities. He was on the honor roll and presented the Senior Honor Representatives at Graduation Ceremonies; He played first base & catcher in baseball, was Idaho All-State Guard in basketball and was ID & WA All Bi-State Quarterback in football. He lettered in all three sports, all three years of High School; and, he was Jr. Class President and then elected Student Body President his senior year. He graduated from LHS in 1943.

WWII was underway so Palmer enlisted in the Navy V-12 College Training program for officers. His left eye vision was damaged by a firecracker thrown by a friend when he was 12 years old. So, to pass the first eye exam he memorized the eye chart to fake the eye test on his left eye. But, six weeks into training they did new physicals and disqualified him due to less than perfect vision in his left eye. He was then drafted by the Army, took basic at Camp Roberts, CA. and quickly promoted to Staff Sergeant while stationed at Fort Sill, OK. Later he was transferred to Fort Knox, KY as a trainer in Field artillery and tanks. He rose to the rank of Master Sergeant and was honorably discharged on October 27, 1946.

Palmer married his high school sweetheart, Gloria Bernice Morgan, on January 1, 1944 in Lewiston. They had two daughters, Charlotte and Cynthia, whom he adored. They made their first homes in Lewiston and then in Clarkston where they enjoyed riding and raising horses and gardening. The marriage ended in divorce after 19 years.

During this time he worked in his in-laws business, Morgan Bros, Inc. (a wholesale supply), for 17 years; first as a warehouse man, then delivery, salesman and finally as bookkeeper. He served as corporate President one year while they spruced up their operation for Federal inspection.

Palmer was active in civic affairs. He was in the Junior Chamber of Commerce serving as Secretary, then as President of the local chapter in 1954 and later as Idaho State JC Secretary. Palmer was an official for high school and college sports as referree in football and basketball and umpire in baseball. He served as the Commissioner of Officials and did the scheduling for high schools and Lewis Clark State College for 30 years (1947 to 1976). Palmer was as a member of the Nez Perce County Mounted Sherriff’s Posse. They were called out for mounted search & rescues and jail break manhunts. One time, a couple escaped from Nez Perce County jail then stole a car that broke down near Lapwai. They searched on horseback and captured them with rifles drawn just outside of Lapwai. (The woman was naked he recalled with a grin). Palmer rode a big buckskin gilding horse called “Mike”. The Posse also rode in parades and performed figure 8 in & out precision drill team riding at the Lewiston Roundup with colors.

Palmer made a career change and went to University of Idaho in September of 1963 to finish his college education. He Graduated from U of I with a Bachelors of Arts in Education in 1964. He then went to Graduate School and earned a Masters Degree of Arts in History in 1966. Palmer worked at Skelton’s Carpet as bookkeeper while finishing the Masters program.

While living in Moscow and attending the U of I, Palmer married Betty C. Sullivan in June 1965. She was finishing her degree in primary education, graduating in 1966. Thus began both their careers in education and 50 years of love and devotion. Palmer was hired as as a high school teacher in Orofino. Betty was hired as an elementary school teacher there. They commuted to work for three years while making their home in the Clarkston Heights before moving to Orofino in 1968. Palmer taught high school math, science, history and English for 3 years and then was hired as the Jr. High Principal for 9 years. He was then hired as District Assistant Superintendent for Orofino Joint School District 171 for 11 years until retirement in 1988.

Palmer was an active member of the First Christian Church of Orofino. During retirement he volunteered for AARP, the Orofino Senior Center, and helped seniors with income tax filings. He enjoyed gardening and canning fruits and vegetables, bowling with the Senior Orofino Bowlers (the S.O.B.s) and traveling to England, Norway, Hawaii and Alaska. For the last 10 years he was totally devoted to caring for Betty in their home as she suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Palmer was preceded in death by his parents, his three brothers - Wayne, Levon and Clinton Chase, and his wife, Betty. He is survived by his daughters, Charlotte (Jay) Henry of Pomeroy, WA, Cynthia M. Chase-Spilman of Richland, WA; step-sons, Harry C. Sullivan of Bellevue, WA and John (Pamela) Sullivan of Lewiston; sisters-in-law, Nellie Chase of Orofino and Pat Chase of Bloomington, Ind., and grandchildren and great-grandchildren too numerous to list.

The family is holding a public graveside service in remembrance of Palmer at 10:00 A.M. Saturday, August 27th at the Normal Hill Cemetery, Division 3, Row 68, in Lewiston. Following the service, family and friends are invited to a life celebration at 11:00 A.M. at the Quality Inn in Clarkston. Light lunch and beverages are provided. Cards and letters may be mailed to the Chase Family, PO Box 559, Lewiston, ID 83501. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your choice.


Wildfire Insurance – You Must Plan Ahead

Shawn SullivanIf you own rural property, you must insure it before it becomes threatened by fire. When there is an active fire anywhere in the area, insurance companies will not allow new coverage to be sold.

Shawn Sullivan, CIC and vice president of American Insurance, recommends that all rural property owners review their insurance now to make sure every important structure is insured for fire. “You must request that a specific structure is to be insured for fire before wildfires draw near,” he said.

IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!

According to a series published in the Lewiston Tribune about the 2015 wildfire season in our region, more than 184,000 acres in the forest and 280,000 acres were scorched by the end of September. The losses included 73 homes and outbuildings and several others received damage.

“We had a few property owners very scared they would suffer a financial loss. If you wait, it can be too late and you will be self-insured for a wildfire,” Sullivan added.

Contact us at American Insurance today to review your Farm or Ranch policy to make sure all your important structures are insured for the best rates and coverage.

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com)


CLASSIC CARS – Is special coverage needed?

Classic & Collector Cars are unique and require specialized coverage. Fortunately, the coverage is low-cost and provides many coverage extras designed just for your classic car. AMERICAN INSURANCE represents the USA’s best companies that specialize in Classic Car Insurance. Contact an informed agent today for your Classic Car Quote.

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What qualifies as a “classic”?
Classics aren't just antique or classic cars, they also include street rods, low riders, exotic, and replica cars; trucks & utility vehicles; vintage commercial vehicles like fire trucks; motorcycles; military vehicles; even tractors; and trailers used with these vehicles.

And, there are no longer strict age limits but generally a vehicle must be at least 20 years old. However, when a vehicle is of limited production, exotic or special interest it may qualify for coverage.

Does my “classic” qualify for coverage?
Your vehicle should not be used for daily transportation and must be stored in an enclosed and secure structure. Every driver in the household must have an alternative regular-use vehicle for daily transportation. Generally, one or two traffic violations or accidents per household are acceptable.

What specialized “classic” coverage is available?

  • Customized Policies – each policy is designed specifically for you, your car and your level of participation in the hobby.
  • Guaranteed Value - better than “Actual Cash Value” or “Stated Value” policies, you can secure the true value of your car with “Guaranteed Value” coverage after a covered total loss.
  • Specialized Options, which include:
    1. Emergency Roadside Assistance – unlimited service events for towing, lockouts, battery replacements and more, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
    2. Flatbed roadside assistance – guaranteed flatbed towing to protect your investment plus additional benefits.
    3. Instant new purchase coverage – 30 days of coverage up to $50,000 in value
    4. Auto Show Medical Reimbursement – up to $10,000 in medical benefits for clients and their family members injured while attending shows and car functions.
    5. Spare Parts – includes $750 of “Other Than Collision” (Comprehensive) coverage for spare parts for your insured classic car.
    6. Automotive Tools – tool coverage can be easily added to your policy.
    7. Vehicle Under Construction - as you restore or build your car the value is automatically increased (limits apply).
    8. Traveling Collector – if you frequently travel to shows you can add Trip Interruption, coverage for parts, tools and personal effects, and Accidental Death coverage.
  • ClassicCars-Mike.jpgNo mileage limits – policies allow limited pleasure use with no fixed mileage limits. Just drive and enjoy!
  • Super Low Annual Premiums – significantly lower cost than regular-use vehicles.
  • Knowledgeable Service – our Agents own classic cars and understand the unique service needs of your hobby.

Contact an informed agent today for your Classic Car Quote.

Read more about Philip Sullivan’s Hell Raising ’65 Mustang here or about Mike Everett's Classic Car Confession here.


    Wellness - 6 Cures for Summertime Work Happiness Slump

    Summer…when hours at work drag on endlessly, it is easy to lose your cheerful spark. But just because work life seems to have turned into a rut, that doesn't mean you can't still have fun. Try using these tips to add sunshine to even the rainiest day.

    Make the choice to be happy.
    Before going any further, remember that happiness always begins with your decision. As you stand in front of the mirror and get ready for work, tell yourself that today will be a good day. Think of the good things you have to look forward to, even the small ones. Then when you step into your office, your mood will already be pointed the right direction.

    Put yourself first. When you go to work, you have to follow someone else's routine and meet someone else's expectations. Over time, this cycle can lower your self-esteem. So it is important to remind yourself that you still come first. Before clocking in and starting the grind, focus on your personal goals. Walk your dog, brew a really good cup of coffee, read a chapter of your book, or do anything that makes you feel satisfied inside. Once you finish that, you can worry about other things at work.

    Lend a coworker a hand. As a social creature, it is probably in your nature to want to help other people when you see them struggling. Not only will this brighten their day, but you will feel the mood-boosting effects of altruism. Everyone in the office benefits in this win-win strategy.

    Make a soundtrack for your daily life. Music can soothe the soul and amp up your attitude. Try making a new playlist of tracks that get you excited. The best part of this technique is that it works throughout the day. Get pumped in the morning, and later you can press play again to get through the afternoon.

    Change your office decorations. Redecorating your work space can make a worn-out space seem fresh and new. A simple change can brighten your entire outlook and has lasting effects beyond the day you redecorate. The new look will keep the good feeling going every day afterwards as well.

    Go on vacation. Research has proven that vacations are a necessary component of success and happiness. Even though it feels tempting to work longer hours to get more done, the reality is that you probably won't feel any happier afterwards. Make the most of your vacation time. It will improve your mood and increase your motivation when you return to work.

    You don't have to let a stressful routine get you down. Try a few of these techniques, and soon you'll feel the domino effect of a happy mood. One pleasant moment inevitably leads to another, and then another. Go ahead and get started in spreading smiles around your office.

    This information was provided by BPA Health, providing behavioral healthcare solutions that help people improve their lives. To learn more about how an Employee Assistance Program can be added to your Blue Cross of Idaho group health plan or any group health plan contact us at AMERICAN INSURANCE.

    Source: BPA Health, July 2016 e-News, call 800-211-9477 or visit www.bpahealth.com


    Disabled vehicle - What to do if you leave it behind

    Photo courtesy of Deposit Photos With the temperatures rising along with the number of vehicles on the road, Idaho State Police want you to know what to do if your car breaks down on one of Idaho's highways or interstates.

    If a vehicle breaks down, ISP officers offer the following safety advice to allow you time to retrieve your vehicle before it is subject to being towed:

    • Move your vehicle off of the pavement and onto the dirt on the shoulder of the road. Make sure all of your tires are off of the pavement.
    • Turn your flashers.
    • Call *ISP (*477) from your mobile phone and let dispatch know when you expect to retrieve your vehicle.
    • Leave a note on the dash with your name and a current phone number so that you may be contacted.

    ISP will attempt to reach you before towing your vehicle, if at all possible. If a vehicle is completely off of the pavement of the road, the general towing policy allows a motorist 48 hours to retrieve it before it is towed. However, if any part of the vehicle is left on the pavement it will be towed by dark. Additionally, if the vehicle is left in a location deemed a hazard, even if it is off of the pavement, it may be towed immediately. The owner of the vehicle is responsible for all towing and storage fees and is also liable for completely abandoning a vehicle.

    Contact your AMERICAN INSURANCE agent to ask about your disabled vehicle and what your auto policy might cover to tow your vehicle or read more about other Roadside Assistance services that are available if you elect to add them.


    Trailers - Do personal trailers need specific coverage?

    We use trailers for fun and work to pull our boats, travel trailers, ATVs, and golf carts; and, utility trailers to haul landscape trimmings, fire wood and trash. While some trailer insurance coverage is automatic, you may need additional coverage to protect your ownership and use of a trailer. We hook up to trailers without much thought to the liability associated with trailer accidents or whether the trailer value is protected. Sadly, tragic news headlines involving trailers occur with regularity. Here are just two that occurred close to home.

    NEWS HEADLINES:

    Boise, Idaho - 3 Families, 2 Tragedies … Another Loose Trailer Wipes Out Family
    Boise, Idaho - “Pickup Towing Trailer Loses Control, Kills Child”

    Understanding when you need to specifically insure your trailer will protect you from uncovered losses.

    Trailers Owned or Used Personally

    Liability - the “key” to understanding liability for your trailer is this:

    • The typical Personal Auto Policy (PAP) defines “your covered auto” to include “any trailer you own”. This provision does NOT require that your trailer be listed on the PAP declarations page. That means any trailer you own personally is considered a “covered auto” automatically because you own it. Your trailer is covered for auto liability because the trailer is treated as an “auto”. Liability coverage is assigned directly to the trailer, therefore, coverage is not dependent on or flow from the towing vehicle’s insurance. A trailer is covered for liability - that breaks loose from a hitch; a parked trailer that rolls away and causes damage; or someone trips on, falls from, or is injured by your parked and unhitched trailer.
    • And, the PAP defines an “Insured” as “you or any family member for the ownership, maintenance or use of any auto or trailer.” So, you are covered for auto liability for any trailer you own or don’t own but use (borrow or rent), even if not specifically listed on your policy.

    Physical Damage This coverage is not automatic and is often overlooked. You must specifically add your trailer to your Auto or RV Policy in order to insure it for physical damage. If an owned trailer has significant financial value then you will want to add physical damage insurance. Lenders will require proof of physical damage insurance as a condition of a loan.

    Business Exclusion Fortunately for contractors and small business owners, the PAP does NOT exclude business use of a “Trailer used with a private passenger auto, pickup or van”. That means a business owner or employee that uses their personally owned vehicle insured under a PAP to pull any trailer will have corresponding auto liability. However, you CAN’T tow a trailer using a newly acquired pickup or van with a Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of more than 12,000 lbs and expect coverage under a PAP.

    DISCLAIMER: Insurance coverage forms for a Personal Auto Policy (PAP) varies from company to company and state to state. Your actual coverage may be different and have other exclusions or limitations not fully described in this article. This article is general in nature and is not intended as a substitute for professional legal, financial, or insurance counsel for individuals. For specific insurance advice, please contact us.

    Independence - The American Advantage

    This Independence Day we celebrate our nation’s 240th birthday!Independence is that strong human drive for freedom in our personal, political and business lives. It has given America an advantage over competing countries and economies and made us the most powerful nation on earth.

    Independence is what American Insurance was founded upon in 1922. We are a fourth-generation “Independent Insurance Agency” that is owned and actively operated by the Sullivan family.

    We represent America’s leading insurance companies and write thousands of policies of every type and kind of insurance.

    For Insurance, here is how our independence provides you the “American Advantage” —

    • We provide multiple quotes from competing insurance companies to assure you the best coverage choices, quality service, and lowest premium rates.
    • We have direct relationships with select companies to provide deeply discounted preferred insurance policies to our personal and business clients.
    • We have experienced agents to analyze your unique insurance needs, provide creative solutions and personal one-on-one service.

    American Insurance is an Agency of proven professionals with experience and specialized knowledge for every insurance need – auto, home, business, farm, bonds, medical, and life.

    We believe in the strength of Independence! That’s why American Insurance has sponsored the Lewiston-Clarkston valley’s Independence Day Fireworks celebration for 31 years.

    Thank you for trusting us with your insurance needs.


    ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE – More than just towing!

    Picture this selfie …. you on a lonely stretch of highway with your car broken down and no help in sight! Not a pretty picture or a happy thought. Before you take that summer driving vacation or long weekend road trip check to see if you have added Roadside Assistance to your personal auto policy.

    Help when you need it most for under $10 per vehicle per year!

    Roadside Assistance is an optional coverage that can be added to most Personal Auto Policies. Normally, for less than $10 in premium per vehicle/year you can add this coverage so a trained auto repair professional will be on the way to help you after a mechanical breakdown.

    The coverage varies from company to company and state to state but here are the normal extra coverages available under Roadside Assistance:

    • Repair Labor
      – Up to one hour of labor at the scene of a mechanical disablement. The customer is responsible only for the cost of any associated parts needed for repair.
    • Battery jump-start to get you going again.
    • Flat tire change.
    • Emergency fuel and fluid delivery
      ;
      the customer pays only for the cost of the fuel or fluid.
    • Lockout assistance.
    • Towing. The provider will attempt to fix the problem at the scene. However, if that can’t be done, they will tow the vehicle to the nearest qualified place where necessary repairs can be done during regular business hours.
    • Winching
      for up to 100 feet from the road.
    • AutoValet – For serious disablements, this provides customers with help finding alternate transportation, lodging, message relay, or directory assistance.

    ACT NOW

    Consider adding Roadside Assistance to your personal auto policy. This coverage may save your next vacation, provide help when you need it most, and give you peace of mind.

    Contact us to talk with your Customer Service Agent (CSA) at American Insurance for a review and to add this coverage to your auto policy today.


    Wellness - 5 Ways to Help Your Kids Deal with Stress

    In today's fast paced world, it's easy for children to experience stress. Trouble with school, friends, or the pressure of extracurricular activities may be causing your children to feel stressed. To keep your kids free of this unpleasant feeling as much as possible at home and at school, try the following tips.

    Maintain a written schedule - By creating a regular schedule, your kids will be able to prepare emotionally for each day. They will know what to expect throughout the day instead of feeling stress because of an unexpected activity. Place a family calendar in a prominent space at home, and keep it updated with a weekly schedule. Carefully consider the needs of your children. Some kids will feel better when each minute is planned while others only need an outline.

    Talk to your kids - Don't let a day pass without checking in with your kids to see how they are doing. Ask your children about their day, mood, and friends. Some kids need to be prompted to share their problems or concerns. Asking questions will allow you help your children manage their stress. You may also be able to help reduce negative feelings just by being there and offering your help.

    Assess extracurricular activities - When kids participate in too many extracurricular activities, they may feel overwhelmed. Some kids practice a sport several times a week and take lessons to learn a musical instrument. If you've signed your children up for more than one activity, check in with them to see if this is a source of stress. You may need to eliminate one if it might help them stay stress-free during the day.

    Embrace healthy eating and regular exercise - Healthy eating and regular exercise will make your children feel better physically and mentally. With the proper nutrition, your kids will be equipped to handle stress at school and at home. They'll also have more energy and will be able to think more clearly. Consider limiting sugar and caffeine. An abundance of these substances can make your kids feel anxious. Caffeine and sugar may also make it hard for them to get the proper amount of rest. Be sure to manage your family's diet to ensure that every family member's body is strong and healthy.

    Don't add unnecessary pressure - In many cases, parents put pressure on their children to do well in school or excel at sports. While you should support your kids in their endeavors, don't give them the impression that your love is contingent on any area of their lives. Make it clear that the outcome is not as important as their happiness. When you relate to your kids in healthy ways, you can help minimize their stress.

    To help foster resiliency and productive work environments for you and your employees, make sure your employees are aware of the programs available to assist them and their family members, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides no-cost professional counseling. If you don’t have an EAP program included in your group health insurance plan contact us and get more information about the low cost and benefits from the licensed Health Insurance Agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE.

    Source: BPA Health, May 2016 eNewsletter. Learn more about BPA Health at www.bpahealth.com.


    Wellness - 6 Ways to Improve Employee Productivity

    Your company's greatest asset is its human resources. Profitability depends on how much your employees accomplish, so it's important to help them be as productive as possible. Here are six tips to help you improve your employees' productivity.

    Clearly define objectives.
    You must set clear objectives for your employees. For instance, if you want to achieve a 10% increase in sales per year, share this goal with your employees. Clear targets provide them with a goal and encourage them to work toward a destination. Without clearly defined objectives, employees won't know if they are meeting expectations. Provide employees with regular updates and implement corrective measures when necessary.

    Provide training.
    Thorough and up to date training will help your employees be productive and efficient. Don't expect them to know how to do every aspect of their job without instruction. Provide them with opportunities to keep up with developments in their field and to keep their skills current. If on-site training is impractical, provide incentives for employees to pursue education and training on their own, whether in the form of bonuses, paid time off, or tuition reimbursement. The more knowledge employees have, the more confident they will be, which can have a positive impact on productivity.

    Invest in equipment and technology.
    Adopting the latest technology can make employees more productive. For instance, tablets and smartphones can keep employees connected with the office, providing access to resources they need to get their jobs done. Equipment and technology should come with proper training so employees can leverage it as efficiently as possible.

    Communicate.
    Frequent, two-way communication between employees and managers is essential, instead of one-way communication wherein managers give orders. Managers must also listen to employee feedback; people on the front line are in the best position to provide suggestions on improving productivity.

    Compensate appropriately.
    Reward employees for increased productivity. People won't put in extra effort if the only one who benefits is the employer. Institute an appropriate compensation program to reward employees for their efforts, including bonuses, gift cards, or other fringe benefits.

    Conduct performance appraisals.
    Employees need more than monetary compensation. They also need recognition. So you must have a way to measure their performance. Performance appraisals illustrate how employees meet their goals and provide you with a way to recognize the top performers.

    To improve employee productivity, management and employees must work together. Provide your staff with goals to work toward and the tools to work efficiently. Communicate your expectations to your team and give them the incentives and recognition they need. This will encourage information sharing and create a positive and productive work environment.

    To help foster resiliency and productive work environments for you and your employees, make sure your employees are aware of the programs available to assist them and their family members, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides no-cost professional counseling. If you don’t have an EAP program included in your group health insurance plan contact us and get more information about the low cost and benefits from the licensed Health Insurance Agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE.

    Source: BPA Health, May 2016 eNewsletter.


    Motorcycles – Idaho STAR Safety Training

    The Idaho STAR program in Lewiston offers safe driving courses for motorcyclists. The courses start in April 2018 and run from $65 to $135, depending on the course. Classes through July are now open for registration. Click HERE to register!

    STAR stands for Skills Training Advantage for Riders, for they believe there are real advantages in being properly trained and prepared to ride. STAR's hands-on training helps make Idaho’s roadways safer for all of us. In fact, a review of all 7,738 motorcycle crashes statewide from 1996 - 2010 indicated that STAR training is associated with a 79% reduced crash risk. There was also an 89% reduction in the risk of a fatal crash.

    STAR is an Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education program and is accredited by the National Association of State Motorcycle Safety Administrators (SMSA).

    Some motorcycle insurance policies offer discounts for passing a safety course. To begin your quote, you can visit our online motorcycle quote page here,  you can contact us online here.



    Motorcycles – Look Twice, Save a Life

    May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month — a time to remind all drivers to take extra precautions to make sure they share the road safely with these often "invisible" drivers on motorcycles.

    Watch this video from the Texas Department of Transportation that reminds drivers to always look twice -- before turning, merging with traffic, changing lanes or opening doors -- to make certain a motorcycle isn't in your path.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following safety tips:

    Look_twice.jpg

    • Though a motorcycle is a small vehicle, its operator still has all the rights of the road as any other motorist. Allow the motorcycle the full width of a lane at all times.
    • Always signal when changing lanes or merging with traffic.
    • If you see a motorcycle with a signal on, be careful. Motorcycle signals are often non-canceling and could have been forgotten. Always ensure that the motorcycle is turning before proceeding.
    • Check all mirrors and blind spots for motorcycles before changing lanes or merging with traffic, especially at intersections.
    • Always allow more following distance — three to four seconds — when behind a motorcycle. This gives the motorcycle driver more time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
    • Never drive distracted or impaired.

    To start a motorcycle insurance quote, visit this page or contact our office at American@Am-Ins.com or at (208) 746-9646 or online here.

    Source: NHTSA


    Term Life - How AppNOW makes getting term life insurance easy

    Purchasing term life insurance is now very easy with "AppNOW" at AMERICAN INSURANCE. Now all the paperwork to underwrite and issue your term life insurance policy can be handled with a phone call. You will be called by an AppNOW representative to schedule a time for your telephone interview. To prepare for that interview please review the attached form to have the information needed at your fingertips.

    CRUMP-InsureNowChecklist-AI.pdf

    Your telephone interview and the information provided is confidential and guarded to HIPAA standards for your privacy and protection.

    Contact an Agent at AMERICAN INSURANCE with any other questions you might have about the life application process.


    Identity Recovery Insurance

    Most people have heard about identity thieves who target credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions. However, identity theft can also be used to acquire utilities, insurance, employment, rental agreements, health and welfare benefits, divert arrest warrants for criminal activities onto another person, and even steal tax refunds.

    Identity theft is a stressful experience. Restoring your identity after it’s been stolen can take a lot of time, money and effort. With identity-recovery coverage, you can replace your stress and worry with calm knowing you have identity theft protection. Plus, if you ever have to make an identity theft claim, your insurance rates will not be affected or increased.

    For as little as $1 a month Identity Recovery Insurance coverage offers:

    • Personal Assistance
      A dedicated case manager will help you work through the recovery process, including helping you contact and deal with authorities, credit bureaus, creditors and businesses.
    • Lost Wages, Child and Eldercare Assistance
      Provides up to $250 per day or a total of up to $5,000 for lost wages, child or eldercare expenses incurred as the result of restoring your identity.
    • Expense Reimbursement
      Provides for up to $25,000 annually for expenses related to identity theft.

    Add Identity Recovery Coverage to Your Homeowners Policy

    Call us at (208) 746-9646 or contact us online here to ask your AMERICAN INSURANCE Agent about adding Identity Recovery coverage to your Homeowners* policy. It is an optional coverage that is essential these days and very affordable at only $1 per month.

    *NOTE: Identity Theft or Recovery insurance is not available in every insurance company. Rates and benefits provided for Identity Theft insurance vary from company to company and from state to state.


    Betty Chase Remembered

    Betty (Crawford) Chase of Orofino, ID passed gently into her eternal rest after 89 years of life while holding the hand of Palmer, her beloved husband of 50 years and surrounded by her loving family on Sunday, April 17, 2016.
    Betty Chase

    Betty was born on August 2, 1926 in the small town of Dalhart, in the Texas panhandle to Clarence Boofer (C.B.) and Olivia (Wilson) Crawford. Her dad owned an oil distributorship and gas station in Dalhart.

    Betty’s family growing up included her half-sister, Phyllis Lorrain (Bobby) and her adopted nephew and neice, Bill and Editha Crawford. They grew up with her during the Great Depression and she remembered the many displaced men – young and old - who rode the railroad through Dalhart. Some would stop by their gas station looking for work and they would provide meals to help them on their way to find work out west. Betty was outgoing, friendly and confident throughout her life.

    When WWII was underway she was a senior at Dalhart High School and Betty went to dances at the Air Corps training camp where she met Frank W. “Sully” Sullivan, who was a radio operator school instructor. They became engaged and after Betty graduated from Dalhart High School they were married on June 18, 1944 in Gulfport, Mississippi right before Sully flew to England to join a B-17 bomber crew.

    After the war they moved to Idaho in 1946 so Sully could join his aunt and uncle, Harry and Blanche Christy, as an insurance agent at American Insurance. They raised two sons, Harry C. Sullivan and John B. Sullivan. They divorced after 19 years of marriage in January 1964.

    Betty married Palmer S. Chase in June 1965 while she was living in Moscow and attending the U of I to finish her degree in primary education, graduating in 1966. Thus began both their careers in education and 50 years of love and devotion. Betty was hired as an elementary school teacher and Palmer as a high school teacher in Orofino, ID where they moved in 1968. She was a beloved elementary school teacher for 22 years until retirement in 1988.

    Betty was an active member of the First Christian Church of Orofino and involved in the PEO and Hit and Miss Clubs. During retirement she enjoyed gardening and canning fruits and vegetables; bowling with the Senior Orofino Bowlers (the SOBs-ha!); traveling to England, Norway and Hawaii; and volunteering for AARP and the Orofino Senior Center.

    Although heavily touched by Alzheimer’s disease in her last years, she remained pleasant and loving. She was able to stay at home in the tender care of her husband until the last two months of her life. Our sincerest appreciation to the extra-ordinary staff in the Memory Care Unit of Life Care Center in Lewiston for their tender and loving care.

    Betty is survived by her husband, Palmer S. Chase of Orofino; brother, Bill Crawford of Dalhart, TX; sons, Harry C. Sullivan of Bellevue, WA and John B. Sullivan and wife, Pamela, of Lewiston, ID; step-daughters, Charlotte and husband, Jay Henry, of Pomeroy, WA and Cynthia Chase-Spilman of Richland, WA; and, grandchildren and great-grandchildren too numerous to list.

    The family is holding a public graveside service in remembrance of Betty this Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 12:30 PM at Normal Hill Cemetery, Div 3, Row 68 in Lewiston.

    Cards and letters may be mailed to Palmer Chase, c/o Life Care Center, 325 Warner Dr., Lewiston, ID 83501.

    Read more History news here.


    MARKETPLACE DOUBLE CHECK - How we find you the lowest insurance rates

    Insurance rates are constantly changing! There are now nearly 100 variable price points when rating a personal auto policy. A change in any one of these price points can have a dramatic and unpredictable effect on individual policyholders. Multiply these constant changes by the dozens of available insurance companies and it becomes impossible to really know if you are still getting the best insurance rates available in the marketplace today. That’s why we created the Marketplace Double Check.

    With just one call to us, we shop dozens of American’s largest independent insurance companies to find you the best price and coverage available in the marketplace right now. Rather than exhausting yourself and taking hours calling one or two insurance companies to give them all your personal information over and over again you can make just one call to AMERICAN INSURANCE and we quote the insurance marketplace.

    WHEN SHOULD I SHOP MY INSURANCE?

    An insurance quote is like a “snap-shot in time.” 

    You may have found the best deal several years ago but over time your rates may become uncompetitive in relation to what is now available in the marketplace. Even if your insurance rate has been relatively stable over the years, behind the scenes rate changes, new discounts, and changes in your own life and circumstances may signal the need to re-quote your rates.

    Request a Quote or Call Us First -

    • When insurance rates jump up too much.
    • If you think you’ve found a better deal than your current policy with us.
    • When your life circumstances have changed.
    • When you just want to find out if there is a better deal.
    • About once every three years even if things appear stable.

      WE NEED TO WORK TOGETHER. 

      Contact Us – Talk with one of our experienced and helpful agents today.


    Identity Theft – Not if, but when!

    Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S. Most people have heard about identity thieves who target credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions. However, identity theft can also be used to acquire utilities, insurance, employment, rental agreements, health and welfare benefits, divert arrest warrants for criminal activities onto another person, and even steal tax refunds.

    HACKERS FILED YOUR INCOME TAX EARLY!
    The most common form of tax-related identity theft involves thieves using stolen Social Security Numbers (SSNs) to file forged tax returns and get refunds early in the filing season.

    Identity thieves use a variety of schemes to steal identities: theft of a purse or wallet, raiding mailboxes or trash bins, phone calls and email solicitations, hacking personal information databases, and many others. Several high profile hacks have occurred in the last year including Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield where 91 million people had their personal information compromised in a cyber-attack. The US Government systems were hacked in 2015 exposing 21.5 million government employees, contractors and retirees highly personal information. There are new revelations about massive data breaches nearly every week.

    It is fair to assume that all our Social Security numbers and personal information is now in the hands of cyber criminals.

    READ MORE ABOUT - Cyber attacks in the news

    WHAT CAN YOU DO?

    • SHRED SENSITIVE DOCUMENTS To guard against crimes of opportunity, continue to guard and shred your sensitive documents.
    • IDENTITY RECOVERY INSURANCE – For as little as $1 per month you can add this protection to your Homeowners Insurance policy. Coverage includes the personal assistance of an identity recovery assistant, up to $25,000 for related expenses; and, lost wages, child and eldercare assistance of $250 per day up to $5,000 total. Contact your Agent at AMERICAN INSURANCE or by appointment today to get a quote on this coverage!
    • MONITOR ACTIVITY – Frequently check your bank statements, your credit accounts and your credit report for unusual activity. You’re entitled to a free credit report once a year from all three reporting agencies via Identity Theft Prevention and Victim Assistance and Security Awareness and Identity Theft
    • IF ATTACKED –The victims of identity theft in their tax records will receive a dreaded IRS 5071C letter and need to verify their identity at idverify.irs.gov. For general identity theft, you can visit the Federal Trade Commission site here for additional information.

    .

    Interested in more local information? Read Data Breach articles from AMERICAN INSURANCE here. Read more Cyber Crime articles from AMERICAN INSURANCE here.


    Wellness - When Personal Stress Affects Work

    Sometimes life is overwhelming. Relationships can go south, a spouse can fall ill, and parenting can be a challenge. When negative events occur in an employee’s personal life, the stress can result not only in missed work, but also result in not being able to concentrate while at work. In fact, according to the article When Trouble at Home Becomes Trouble in the Office, 47% of employees admit that personal issues affect their job performance.

    What can an employer do to help workers through difficult times, manage their stress appropriately, and improve "presenteeism" when they’re on the job? Depending on the company, there are many steps they can take to incorporate a positive work/life balance for employees.

    1. Recognize when an employee might be struggling. Then discuss their workload and if tasks can be adjusted or hours can be flexed until they are able to better manage the personal challenge at hand.
    2. Be compassionate about what they are going through, but don’t push. Understanding the nature of the employee’s issue might help direct them to the right resources, but don’t get too personal. They should understand that their job performance has been affected and that there are options to help them through this difficult time.
    3. Point them to your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if you have one. EAPs were designed to help employees through life’s ups and downs, so make sure employees know they have access to this when needed. Most medical plans also have substance or alcohol abuse programs, so make sure that information is available in the lunch room or on the company’s intranet.
    4. Inform them of their FMLA rights. If it’s going to be a long-term hurdle, like caring for a dying parent, they might want to consider using their FMLA allowance (if the company has 50 employees or more). Be sure the HR department is well-versed in what FMLA can be used for. Also consider working with an FMLA expert to make sure their absence management runs smoothly.

    The biggest impact that employers can have on their employees is to let them know that resources are available to help them through tough times at home so they can put their best foot forward at work.

    Contact Us for benefit advice and information about group and individual medical insurance from our experienced health agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE. We can add EAP benefits to most group medical plans.

    Source: LifeMap Compass - Inside Insurance Tips and Trends, e-Newsletter April 7, 2016


    2016, March 20 - Catching Up with: John Sullivan, President and CEO

    MARCH 20, 2016 - The Lewiston Tribune featured John B. Sullivan, President and CEO of AMERICAN INSURANCE, in the Business Profile section. John responded to reporter Elaine Williams who asked four questions regarding how American Insurance has changed since the Great Recession, the introduction of the Affordable Care Act and his plans leading up to the 100th Anniversary of the company.

    Here is the unedited version of his responses.

    Business Profile (BP): What is the biggest change in your day-to-day responsibilities since we spoke with you in 2009?

    John: We emerged from the "great recession" in a very strong position and have grown as the economy recovered. We also have purchased insurance policies from two retiring agencies and now service a total of over 15,000 property-casualty policies in the quad-cities area. We are one of the largest Idaho based insurance agency for both Safeco Insurance and Grange Insurance Association. We have added new company representation to give our insurance customers a competitive advantage for price and coverage. This growth allowed us to add three more full time positions for a total of 20 employees and reach my long term goal of adding managers in the personal lines and commercial lines departments.

    BP: Succession is a focus as your business approaches its 100-year anniversary. What can you share about that?

    John: My personal focus now is to plan and facilitate an orderly generational transition in 2020 of management and corporate responsibilities to the 4th Sullivan generation. I am very fortunate to have two very experienced sons in the business – Shawn Sullivan, with 22 years and Philip Sullivan with 12 years of experience. Shawn is VP, Sales Manager and managed the Moscow branch office for 11 years. Philip has managed the Personal Lines Department since 2013. So, both already have management responsibilities that will grow over the next three years to allow for a seamless transition.

    My day-to-day activities have now been focused on general management, advertising and marketing including a very active website and social media presence, and I actively provide risk management and agent services for several larger, long-term business customers. I don’t plan to fully retire in 2020 but want to have the freedom to pursue projects which position AMERICAN INSURANCE to continue to grow and be a leading insurance agency in the region. I want to stay involved enough to help plan and celebrate the 100th Anniversary of AMERICAN INSURANCE in 2022.

    BP: What is the biggest change in your industry since 2009?

    John: There are more and more insurance companies trying to attract customers using the internet. Too many companies means that consumers would have to spend hours on-line or on the phone to quote and compare even two or three insurance companies. Even then, they wouldn’t really know if they found the best pricing. The $billion-dollar advertising campaigns and exaggerated promises of big savings is causing consumers to mistrust what they are hearing.

    We think we have a growing advantage over on-line or direct companies. We make insurance shopping easy. One call to AMERICAN INSURANCE and we quote several of the top Independent insurance companies to find you the lowest prices, discounts and best coverage to match your situation. And, we have local agents to provide expert advice and local service to really take care of you. That’s what sets us apart from the one-company agents and no-service directs.

    BP: Where do you believe that consumers have the most confusion surrounding insurance and what advice do you give them on the topic?

    John: I wish consumers understood the critical differences between AMERICAN INSURANCE, as an Independent Agency VS individual insurance companies. We represent and shop dozens of the largest insurance companies – some you know like Liberty Mutual, Safeco, Progressive, Nationwide, Travelers, Grange – and we have access to hundreds more you don’t know. When you do business at AMERICAN INSURANCE, we work for you, we shop the marketplace for you, we get to know you to offer customized advice, we provide you one-on-one personal service, and we are a local employer that supports our community. Our prices are very competitive with on-line or direct insurance companies that offer none of these extras.

    BP: How has the Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed your work?

    John: Besides auto, home and business insurance, we have a Benefits Department that provides medical insurance for groups and individuals. The ACA certainly isn’t perfect but before the ACA we were seeing firsthand how unaffordable medical insurance was becoming. The numbers of uninsured was growing fast as premiums became unaffordable for individuals and small employers. The system was collapsing, and a crisis was brewing.

    The ACA is very complicated and many agents stopped selling medical insurance rather than go through all the new regulations to sell it. When the ACA became the law of land, we decided to embrace it to help our customers and we spent countless hours becoming certified for the Exchanges. Then our agents were the most active in our area at helping people qualify for affordable individual medical insurance in both Idaho and Washington. It was a very time consuming, frustrating, and grueling process in the beginning but has started to improve over time.


    Employee Dishonesty - Controls & Policies

    CONTROLLING CRIMINAL LOSS EXPOSURES

    Background
    Employee Dishonesty is a crime. Did you know that according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, employees steal an estimated $30 billion to $100 billion per year from their employers? An employee can fraudulently manipulate data in many ways. For example, a single change in a computer program can report unusually high inventory shortages as breakage losses. The materials reported as broken can then be stolen without the theft being noticed. A computer payroll system can also present a way to commit fraud. For example, fictitious paychecks can be printed, or extra wages and overtimes can be programmed to be paid to designated persons.

    The most frequent employee theft is check forgery committed by the one trusted person assigned to handle all the finances of a small business or organization. This person may commit fraud by:

    • Having check signature authority
    • Getting blank checks signed by the owner or company officer
    • Forging the signature on checks
    • Alters the check after the owner/company officer has signed it

    Steps to Combat Dishonesty

    An organization suffers employee dishonesty losses because criminals find opportunities to commit crimes. Risk control measure to prevent losses should focus on deterrence and detection and include the following:

    • Institute sound personnel policies
    • Institute physical controls
    • Institute computer controls
    • Institute procedural controls
    • Institute managerial controls
    • Investigate and prosecute crimes

    Personnel Controls and Policies
    Perform background checks before employees are hired.

    Managerial Controls

    • Establish a climate or atmosphere within an organization that deters crime or assists in its detection.
    • Emphasize that dishonesty will not be tolerated and all criminals will be vigorously prosecuted.
    • Educate employees about the organization’s crime loss exposures, the risk control measures that have been implemented, and the ways employees can reduce dishonesty losses.
    • Projecting a tough attitude toward crime to employees can help an organization avoid becoming a target for criminals.

    Procedural Controls

    • Divide financial responsibilities and functions so that no one employee controls all aspects of a transaction.
    • The business owner/organization officer or the outside accountant should get the unopened bank statements and canceled checks each month and independently review the payees, amounts, signatures, and endorsements on each check.
    • Take precautions in preparing payroll: have more than one person prepare it, have several different people prepare it, or oversee it yourself.
    • Require checks to be countersigned by two responsible officials for amounts over $500.00.
    • Limit the endorsement of checks, by anyone other than the owner / officer, to deposits for credit only.
    • Delegate the responsibility for receiving checks and cash to someone other than the person who records incoming funds.
    • Mail statements to outside accounts (if applicable) directly at least monthly.
    • Examine payroll records periodically to prevent padding.
    • Make sure employees responsible for ordering goods and supplies are not the same ones responsible for receiving them or paying for them.
    • Do not give the person who has the authority to write off bad debts the authority to make a credit sale or loan.
    • Consider rotating employees who jobs involve substantial opportunity for employee theft.
    • Conduct regular, unannounced audits by both internal and external auditors.
    • Vacations for personnel with high-fidelity risk taken annually to allow reassigned personnel to review activities and allow ample time to discover any discrepancies. A minimum of 10 consecutive working days is recommended.
    • Key control program should be implemented. Maintain records of employees who have keys with duplicates prevented by controlling the master. Locks should be changed when an employee leaves employment if there is any chance key controls have been compromised.

    Computer Controls

    • Restrict access to computer files so only authorized personnel have access to sensitive information and programs.
    • Restrict the ability to change master files to personnel other than those who handle day to day operations. If someone else does payroll, make sure you have access to payroll data on the computer and that no one changes the passwords or access requirements for that data.
    • Document master date change by requiring authorized signatures, limiting access to serially numbered forms, and retaining the authorization document until the updating is verified.
    • Require limits to be stated on the face of computer generated checks issued by the organization to ensure that a large disbursement cannot be made without executive approval. For example, a check might carry the message “Not Valid For More Than $200” or “No Paycheck Exceeds $2,500.”
    • Cross check totals/serial numbers to ensure all required transactions have been performed but unauthorized transactions have not.
    • Maintain time and error logs to record the time it takes to perform computer operations. If an unusual amount of time was taken on a typical operation, and there is no good explanation for the time on an error log, this could indicate the possible unauthorized computer use.

    Detecting Dishonesty

    Embezzlement, forgery and counterfeiting succeed only if the victims do not recognize that a crime has been committed. Following an audit trail of receipts, computer records and other documents, a dishonest employee may be traced.

    Contract with a third party for a confidential toll-free access 24/7/365 availability hotline. The service should have multilingual reporting capacity. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners 2002 Report to the Nation, “found that companies with fraud hotlines cut their losses by about 50% per scheme, because activity was detected earlier through tips.”

    If you do suspect an employee of dishonesty, don’t accuse or confront the person without proof. If you have reasonable suspicion your lawyer may suggest that you do the following:

    • Ask the employee to explain.
    • Ask the employee to take a polygraph test.
    • Be ready to assist law enforcement by compiling detailed reports of the crime.

    Here's a list of examples you should definitely NOT do:

    • Do not detain or restrain an employee. False imprisonment is against the law, and charges can be brought against you if you force an employee to remain somewhere (e.g., your office) and there was no reasonable basis for the action. Depending on the situation and the employee you're dealing with, there may also be an element of personal danger involved in trying to detain someone. Contact the authorities or your attorney for specific advice if this situation comes up.
    • Do not defame the employee.
    • Do not threaten to prosecute if you are not sure that you are going to bring charges.

    It is recommended that just like any other crime, employee dishonesty should be prosecuted as a Loss Reduction measure as part of your Risk Management Program. Persons planning to commit crimes generally do not anticipate that they will be caught. They may perceive that your organization is an easy target if they believe they will not be detected and prosecuted. Changing a criminal’s perception of the organization may deter or prevent the crime from occurring.

    Additional resources include:


    Umbrella - You need one, not just for rain

    AMERICAN INSURANCE Agents are often asked, “What auto liability limit is enough?”

    It depends on who is injured in an at-fault accident. A jury recently awarded $2.5M to a classical pianist who hurt his elbow in a car accident. Since no one can predict who will be injured, AMERICAN INSURANCE Agents recommend that you, our clients, purchase “the highest liability limits you can reasonably afford”.

    You can get an Umbrella quote here today for an additional $1M limit for as low $150 per year premium.

    Here is some information about our Safeco policy - but we have many other companies available to quote, also.

    Get a free Umbrella quote online or call (208) 746-9646 or email or contact us to find out more about Umbrella coverage from your American Insurance agent.


    Newlywed insurance - 6 savings tips!

    As your life is changing, so also are your insurance needs. As two become one, you have new opportunities to save money on your insurance as well as protect your future life together. Here are five areas where you may need to update your coverage or apply for a new policy for your protection.

    Contact an Agent online here at (208)746-9646 or or schedule an appointment or send us a quote request here to discuss your options with us.

    Related: Wedding Insurance -- Find options here - Why do you need the Wedding Protector Plan? Consider what could go wrong and make sure you are covered!


    3 Costly Mistakes With Keyless Ignition Vehicles

    Many newer vehicles now come with a keyless ignition system that use a “key fob” not a key to start and stop the engine. Three dangerous but common mistakes have emerged as we learn to use this new technology according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

    Click and watch this very short video that explains how to avoid these costly mistakes called

    FAQs for Keyless Ignition Systems.

    NHTSA's concerns are drivers who may:

    1. Not put their vehicles in "park" and walk away from the vehicle, leaving it in Drive and prone to roll away; or
    2. Put their vehicle in park, but inadvertently leave the system active increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in a closed environment; or
    3. Not know how to shut down the system of their vehicle in the event of any on-road emergency.

    Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)


    Wedding Insurance -- Find options here

    Wedding insurance helps make things right when something goes wrong.

    You’ve always dreamed of planning the perfect wedding, but no matter how carefully you plan it, there are many things that can go wrong – things that are beyond your control. What if your reception venue goes out of business a month before the wedding, and you lose your deposit and have to find another location? Or a severe storm causes your wedding to be postponed? What if your bridal shop closes, leaving you without a gown?

    A wedding is an investment, and as the average cost of weddings rises, now up to $28,000, wedding insurance is needed more than ever. After all, you wouldn’t buy a new car that costs that much without insuring it against damage.

    Local Agents offer this coverage

    There’s a lot to know when it comes to buying insurance – the types of options available, how much protection you need, and what represents a fair price. That’s why it’s important to have our independent agent looking out for you and your family.

    You can rely on Travelers and American Insurance to protect your special day. or call (208) 746-9646 or to get this coverage for you today.

    Why do you need the Wedding Protector Plan? 

    Consider what could go wrong and how an insurance plan can work for you.

    • Becky and Aaron spent months planning their destination wedding to Cancun, Mexico. But on their wedding day, a category four hurricane made their reception site inaccessible. If the couple had the right wedding insurance policy, they could have been reimbursed for lost deposits.
    • Cindy had just purchased her dream wedding dress. But when she went to pick up her dress a week before the big day, she saw an out of business sign in the window of the dress shop. With the right wedding insurance policy, Cindy could have been reimbursed for the money she lost.
    • Kelly and Roberto enjoyed their beautiful wedding up until their photographer called to say their wedding photos were ruined during the development process. Having the right wedding insurance policy could have helped to cover the cost to re-take the couple’s wedding photos.

    For as little as $190, your wedding insurance policy can cover a variety of situations, such as:

    • No dress. You can get repair or replacement cost if the bride’s wedding gown or groom’s tuxedo is lost or damaged.
    • Lost deposits. We can reimburse your deposit if a vendor goes out of business, declares bankruptcy before your wedding, or simply fails to show up.
    • Lost rings. You can receive repair or replacement cost if the bride or groom’s wedding bands are lost or damaged.
    • Transportation shutdown. If severe weather (such as a hurricane) forces you to postpone your wedding, we can provide reimbursement for non-recoverable expenses. Transportation shutdown. If you have to postpone the wedding because a commercial transportation shutdown prevents the bride, groom or their parents from getting there, you can receive reimbursement for non-recoverable expenses.Ruined photos. If your photographer’s film is defective, or negatives are lost or damaged, we can help cover the cost to re-take new photos.
    • Call to duty. If the bride or groom is unexpectedly called up to active duty, or has her or his military service leave revoked, forcing you to postpone the event, we can provide reimbursement for non-recoverable expenses.Damaged gifts. You can get repair or replacement cost if your wedding gifts are damaged.Sudden illness. If the wedding needs to be postponed because sudden illness prevents the bride, groom or their parents from attending, you can receive reimbursement for non-recoverable expenses.
    • Venue requires insurance. As an additional option to your policy, you can add liability coverage to protect yourself in case a guest is injured or causes damage to property.
    • Liquor liability. As an individual liability option to your policy, you can add this coverage to protect yourself against liability arising from alcohol-related occurrences (subject to policy conditions and exclusions)
    • Additional expense. If a vendor suddenly becomes unavailable for your event but you can find a last-minute replacement, we can reimburse you for the difference in cost.

    You can rely on Travelers and American Insurance to protect your special day. or call (208) 746-9646 or to get this coverage for you today.

    Are you recently married? You can read about newlywed insurance savings tips here.


    Finding Health Insurance When Open Enrollment Is Closed

    With few exceptions, you must buy health insurance during the “Open Enrollment Period” (between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15 iand onward). Open enrollment is the annual period in which shoppers can enroll, switch plans, and get subsidies on health plans. When the “Open Enrollment Period” ends the Health Exchange Marketplace is closed. That means individuals seeking health insurance can NOT buy it unless they have a “Qualifying Life Event” which opens a “Special Enrollment Period” or they qualify for Medicaid or CHIP coverage. This restriction prevents someone from waiting until they get sick before deciding to buy health insurance.

    GET FREE HELP: There is no charge or fee to talk with a local Marketplace certified insurance agent. AMERICAN INSURANCE has experienced agents to help you find out if you qualify to purchase health insurance because of a qualifying life event. Do you need to ask an Agent about health coverage? Idaho and Washington residents may contact our ACA Exchange certified health agents Dave Root or Tim Gleason at Medical@Am-Ins.com or at 208-746-9646 or text us at (208) 518-0823 or contact us online to set an appointment here.

    A Qualifying Life Event…

    Is a change in your life that can make you eligible for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll in health coverage. Examples of qualifying life events are moving to a new state, certain changes in your income, and changes in your family size (for example, if you marry, divorce, or have a baby).

    So, Qualifying Life Events that create a Special Enrollment Period include:

    • Losing other health coverage. From 60 days before to 60 days after losing your other coverage
    • Being Denied Medicaid or CHIP. Up to 60 days after the denial.
    • Getting Married. Up to 60 days after the event.
    • Having a baby, adopting a child, or placing a child for adoption. Up to 60 days after the event.
    • Having a change in income or household status that affects eligibility for premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions (if already enrolled in coverage). Only triggers special enrollment if it’s not open enrollment. Up to 60 days after the event.
    • Moving, gaining citizenship, leaving incarceration. Only triggers special enrollment if it’s not open enrollment. Up to 60 days after the event.
    • Employer special enrollment. Employer special enrollment periods typically last 30 days. If moving from a Marketplace plan, make sure to avoid gaps in coverage or overlapping coverage.
    • Hardship Exemptions and Enrolling in the Marketplace. Most hardship exemptions and even the act of simply enrolling in the Health Insurance Marketplace trigger a 60 day special enrollment window. Even more incentive to sign up during open enrollment or apply for a hardship exemption, even if you don’t have time to enroll properly.
    • Do you need to inquire about health coverage? Idaho and Washington residents may contact our ACA Exchange certified health agents Dave Root or Tim Gleason at Medical@Am-Ins.com or at 208-746-9646 or text us at (208) 518-0823 or contact us online to set an appointment here.

    Special Enrollment Period…

    Is a time outside of the Open Enrollment Period during which you and your family have a right to sign up for health coverage. In the Marketplace, you generally qualify for a Special Enrollment Period of 60 days following a Qualifying Life Event. If you don’t have a special enrollment period, you can’t buy health insurance until the next Open Enrollment period. Job-based plans generally allow special enrollment periods of 30 days, but this can be longer depending on your employer.

    Medicaid and CHIP: Enroll any time

    You can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in your state at any time—there is no limited enrollment period for these programs. Medicaid and CHIP provide health coverage to millions of families with limited incomes. You can find out if you qualify for Medicaid or CHIP by filling out a Marketplace application or going directly to your state Medicaid agency.

    Some states have expanded their Medicaid programs. See if your state is expanding Medicaid. If your state isn’t expanding Medicaid you may still be eligible, especially if you have children, are pregnant, or have a disability. Every state’s eligibility rules are different. If it looks like you’re eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, the Marketplace will pass along your information to your state agency, where you’ll be able to enroll. Find contacts for your state’s Medicaid and CHIP programs.

    Do you need health coverage? Idaho and Washington residents may contact our ACA Exchange certified health agents Dave Root or Tim Gleason at Medical@Am-Ins.com or at 208-746-9646 or text us at (208) 518-0823 or contact us online to set an appointment here.

    Source: US Health & Human Services, www.HealthCare.Gov


    Wellness: 5 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

    The holidays should be fun – right? The holidays are a festive time full of good food, visiting family and friends, making new memories and reminiscing about the past. However, the holidays can also be a time of increased stress and can take a toll on your mental health. Business Psychology Associates (BPA) has identified some of the biggest stressors of the holidays.

    HOLIDAY STRESSORS

    • Financial strain and worry
    • Over-scheduling and over-committing
    • Seasonal Affective Disorder from shorter days and decreased sunlight
    • Remembering and mourning times with lost loved ones

    5 WAYS TO REDUCE HOLIDAY STRESS

    Consider these tools to combat holiday stress and help you enjoy all the wonderful things the season brings.

    • Set a budget. One of the biggest stressors of the season is money. Take time to look at your finances and make a list of the gifts you want to buy as well as other holiday expenditures including travel and party expenses. Don't stop there. Consider setting up a savings account just for the holidays where you contribute a small amount out of each paycheck. By this time next year, you may have what you need with no additional strain on the pocket book.
    • Be realistic with your time. Sure, there are parties to host and to attend, treats to make, and shopping to be completed. But you are only one person. Get out your calendar and schedule your time. Consider limiting how much you take on so that you can enjoy time you do have with loved ones.
    • Get out - don't isolate yourself. For some, the holiday season is a very lonely time. Get out and enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. See a special holiday show or movie with a friend. Or better yet, volunteer to help others during this time. One of the best ways to lift your spirits is to help another person.
    • Seek help. If you're having feelings of depression and sadness, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Call your EAP to talk to someone who can help you with the feelings you're having.
    • Don't ignore the importance of diet and exercise. This is the time of year is a time for indulging but do so in moderation. Be sure to include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables along with your pumpkin pie and eggnog. Exercise is a very beneficial and natural mood booster. Set a goal to exercise for at least thirty minutes, five days a week. What better way to enjoy the outside lights than to stroll around the neighborhood. Or, schedule time during daylight hours to get in a brisk walk. The sunlight and extra vitamin D may help boost your mood and reduce your stress.

    Business Psychology Associates reminds employees and employers to be aware of the programs available to assist them and their family members, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides no-cost professional counseling. If you don’t have an EAP program included in your group health insurance plan contact us and get more information about the low cost and benefits of an EAP from the licensed Health Insurance Agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE.

    • Source: Business Psychology Associates, – Happy (Stressful) Holidays, October 2015 Management E-Tips

    Wellness - 5 Keys to Resilience

    Constantly changing business environments put pressure on supervisors, managers and all employees to do more - quicker, better, faster and cheaper! You can choose to embrace the experience, or you can let it run you down and mire you in depression and self-doubt, according to Business Psychology Associates (BPA). What you need is RESILIENCE.

    Resilience is defined as “the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change”. In Daryl Conner's book, Managing at the Speed of Change, he lists these…

    Five characteristics of resiliency:

    1. Be positive. Your life is always changing, which offers many challenges and opportunities.
    2. Be focused. Take a good look at where you are going and stick to it. Don't let barriers get in your way.
    3. Be flexible. Keep an open mind about all the different possibilities that might await you.
    4. Be organized. The unknown is scary. Develop structured approaches to help you manage the unknown.
    5. Be proactive. Be ready to work with whatever the future holds for you.

    To help foster resiliency and productive work environments for you and your employees, make sure your employees are aware of the programs available to assist them and their family members, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides no-cost professional counseling. If you don’t have an EAP program included in your group health insurance plan contact us and get more information about the low cost and benefits from the licensed Health Insurance Agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE.

    Source: Business Psychology Associates, – Choosing the Path of Resiliency, October 2015 Management E-Tips


    Medicare Quiz & Answers - 10 Things to Know

    MEDICARE QUIZ & ANSWERS. How would you answer these 10 statements about Medicare – TRUE OR FALSE? Answers are provided after each question. Comments are welcome, below, if you wish to share something you learned today once you've read through this information.

    1. Medicare is health insurance only for people age 65 and older.

    FALSE – Besides people age 65 and older, Medicare covers people under age 65 with certain disabilities, and people of any age with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD – permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant).

    2. Medicare Part A is generally described as “Hospital Insurance” and helps cover: Inpatient care in hospitals and skilled nursing facilities, hospice care and home health care.

    TRUE - Part A covers these items but does NOT cover custodial care in a skilled nursing facility or long-term care in a nursing home.

    3. If you’re close to age 65, but not getting Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits now, you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A.

    FALSE – Most people must sign up for Medicare Part A during the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn age 65 (includes the month you turn 65) and ends 3 months after the month you turn age 65. You are automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A only if you're already getting benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board, are under 65 and disabled or have ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

    4. You must sign up for Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) at the same time you enroll for Medicare Part A.

    FALSE – You may want to delay signing up for Medicare Part B if you or your spouse are still working and you are covered under a group medical plan of an employer with 20 or more employees or have union coverage. Under those conditions you can sign up for Part B later without paying a penalty. Otherwise, if you delay signing up for Part B when you are first eligible, you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty for as long as you have the coverage.

    5. For most people age 65 and over Medicare Parts A & B are provided as a free benefit.

    FALSE - You usually don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A coverage if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working. However, most people will pay the standard premium amount ($104.90 per month in 2015) deducted automatically from their Social Security monthly benefit amount.

    6. You must be enrolled in both Medicare Parts A & B in order to buy Medicare Supplemental Insurance, also called Medigap to help pay the copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles not covered fully by Medicare.

    TRUE – After you are enrolled in both Medicare Parts A & B, then you are eligible to purchase a supplemental Medigap policy from a private insurance company. By law, Medigap plans have standardized benefits and are available in 10 plans labeled Plans A, B, C, D, F, G, K, L, M or N. These plans are offered by various insurance companies and premiums vary between companies, plans and states of residence. Premiums are paid directly to the issuing insurance company.

    7. You do not need to be enrolled in both Medicare Parts A & B in order to enroll in Medicare Part C, a MedAdvantage Plan.

    FALSE – You must have both Medicare Parts A & B, live in the MedAdvantage Plan’s service area, not have End-Stage Renal Disease, and be a US citizen or lawfully present in the United States to enroll in Medicare Part C. MedAdvantage plans are offered by private insurance companies that Medicare approves and are another way to get your Medicare coverage. Your Medicare benefits are paid through the MedAdvantage plan’s insurance company (like an HMO or PPO) and may offer extra coverage like vision, hearing, dental and other health and wellness benefits. In addition to your Part B premium, you pay a monthly premium for the Medicare Advantage Plan direct to the issuing insurance company. If you have a MedAdvantage plan you are NOT allowed to also have a Medigap plan.

    8. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) includes services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care and outpatient prescription drugs.

    FALSE – Outpatient prescription drugs are not covered under Medicare Part B. Medicare prescription drug coverage is provided under Medicare Part D.

    9. Medicare Part D provides prescription drug benefits as an optional coverage available only from an approved Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP).

    TRUE – To get Medicare prescription drug coverage, you must join a plan approved by Medicare that is available from various private insurance companies. Each plan can vary in cost and specific drug coverage.

    10. Choose your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan carefully because once selected you can NOT change plans.

    FALSE – You can switch to a new Medicare drug plan during Open Enrollment between October 15 and December 7 each year. You don’t need to cancel your old drug plan. Your old drug plan coverage will end when your new drug plan begins. You will be notified by your new Medicare drug plan telling you when your coverage with the new plan begins.

    Contact Us: For most eligible Americans, Medicare benefits are supplemented by private insurance coverage. There is no additional cost to consumers to learn more about supplemental coverage by consulting with an AHIP certified and licensed Health Insurance Agent. Idaho and Washington State residents are invited to contact AMERICAN INSURANCE for more information.

    Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,

    NOTE: Medicare benefits are complex and changes may occur after this article is published. The answers provided here are necessarily general and brief. Official Medicare Program legal guidance is only contained in the relevant statutes, regulations, and rulings. For more information visit Medicare.gov.

    Do you still have questions? We have certified health agents available to meet with you by appointment to answer all of your questions! You can contact us to make an appointment here, or by calling us at 208-746-9646 or emailing us at Medical@Am-Ins.com.



    What is the difference between Agents, Brokers and Enrollment Counselors?

    Local Enrollment Counselors as well as Washington and Idaho certified Agents and Brokers are available to provide in-person assistance regarding health care plans. All these options are provided at no cost to you. Each one includes the same rates on health care premiums. There are also no extra charges for you to access expertise in this field. 

    So, what is the difference between Agents/Brokers and Enrollment Counselors?

    • Agents and Brokers are licensed and regulated by the two state Departments of Insurance to sell insurance. Only an agent or broker can make specific recommendations about which plan you should buy. AMERICAN INSURANCE has three Idaho and Washington licensed agents who are also certified by the state exchanges.
    • Meanwhile, Enrollment Counselors are employees or volunteers from non-profit entities around the region who have been trained by state agencies to help you understand what options are available for your family. However, Counselors cannot make specific recommendations about which plan you should buy.

    Agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE can offer you the support you need to find the best value for your family. Call our office at 208-746-9646 or 800-735-6355 or visit this website to make an appointment with a CERTIFIED health insurance agent today!


    Claims - Cut Auto Theft Chance by 50%

    Motor vehicles are the primary mode of transportation for most of us, and often an indispensable part of our lives. But what would happen if your vehicle suddenly disappeared? There were 707,758 vehicles reported stolen in the United States in 2015, or one every 45 seconds. Vehicle theft is a billion-dollar crime, with the cost of stolen vehicles coming in at more than $5 billion in 2015 alone — up from $4.5 billion in 2014. Nearly 42 percent of stolen vehicles are never recovered.

    Washington state had the fourth most vehicles stolen in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    How to cut your chances of vehicle theft by 50%

    Nearly half of vehicle theft is due to driver error, such as leaving your keys in the vehicle. You can cut your chances of having your vehicle stolen in half by following these common sense rules when you park your car.

    Depositphotos_34322599_s-2015.jpg

    Don’t Make Your Vehicle a Target

    • Always take your keys and do not leave them in or on your vehicle
    • Close windows and locking doors
    • Park in well-lit areas
    • Never leave valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen
    • Never leave the area while your vehicle is running
    • Keep your vehicle in your garage, if possible

    My Car Is Stolen! What Next?

    If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where your vehicle has been stolen, follow these steps:

    • Contact police immediately to file a stolen-vehicle report. You’ll need a copy of the police report and/or a case number to provide to your insurance company. You may also be asked to provide the following information: 
      • License plate number;
      • Make, model and color of car; and
      • VIN and any identifying characteristics.
    • Contact your insurance company to file a claim within 24 hours of when you discovered your vehicle was stolen. Remember, you must purchase “Other Than Collision” (Comprehensive) coverage on a vehicle to be insured for theft. Contact your American Insurance Agent online here, or at (208) 746-9646 to add this coverage to your auto policy today.
    • If you find your vehicle before authorities do, contact the police and your

    Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) fact sheet


    MEDICARE: Where do I begin?

    If your 65th birthday is coming soon, you might have some questions about how Medicare works and when you can enroll. Medicare Parts A and B are separate from Medicare Advantage, which is also called Part C. Medicare prescription drug coverage is Part D.

    Click the following questions for answers to some questions you may have regarding your Medicare coverage.

    AMERICAN INSURANCE has two local certified health agents, Tim Gleason and Dave Root, available to meet with you by appointment to discuss Medicare and many other health care options. You can contact us to set up that appointment by calling us at 208-746-9646 or emailing us at Medical@Am-Ins.com.



    Medicare: What’s the difference?

    There are several different types of Medicare plans for you to consider.

    Part A is known as Hospital insurance, while Part B is considered Medical Insurance. Part C is also referred to as Medicare Advantage and Part D is for prescription drug coverage.

    Anyone who is eligible for free Medicare Part A is eligible for Medicare Part B by enrolling and paying a monthly premium. If you are not eligible for premium-free Medicare Part A, you can qualify for Medicare Part B as a 65 years or older U.S. citizen, or a permanent resident lawfully residing in the U.S. You may also qualify for automatic Medicare Part B enrollment through disability.

    doctor-840127_1920.jpgMedicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover:

    • Inpatient care in hospitals
    • Skilled nursing facility care
    • Hospice care
    • Home health care

    Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover:

    • Services from doctors and other health care providers
    • Outpatient care
    • Home health care
    • Durable medical equipment
    • Some preventive services

    Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage):

    • Includes all benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B
    • Usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) as part of the plan
    • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies
    • May include extra benefits and services for an extra cost

    drug-943759_1920.jpgMedicare Part D (prescription drug coverage):

    • Helps cover the cost of prescription drugs
    • Run by Medicare-approved private insurance companies
    • May help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future

    AMERICAN INSURANCE has local certified health agents available to meet with you by appointment to discuss Medicare and many other health care options. You can contact us to set up that appointment by calling them at 208-746-9646 or emailing us at American@Am-Ins.com.

    Here are some more answers to questions you may have regarding your Medicare coverage.

    • If your 65th birthday is coming soon, you might have some questions about how Medicare works.
    • Your out-of-pocket costs in your original Medicare plan will depend on several factors.
    • If you have Original Medicare, you’ll get a “Medicare Summary Notice” in the mail every three months that lists all the services billed to Medicare.

    AMERICAN INSURANCE has local certified health agents available to meet with you by appointment to discuss Medicare and many other health care options. You can contact us online or call us at 208-746-9646 or email us at Medical@Am-Ins.com to set an appointment with a health agent.



    Medicare: When can I enroll?

    There is a seven month enrollment period, including three months prior to your 65th birthday birth month, the birth month itself, and three months following it, for your Medicare enrollment.

    If you sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the period before your birth month, your coverage starts the first day of your birthday month in most cases. Those whose birthdays are on the first day of a month could start a month ahead of the birth month. If you enroll in Part A and/or Part B during your birth month or the period after it, the start date for your Medicare coverage will be delayed.

    Each year, Medicare Open Enrollment is open from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.

    Depositphotos_11750644_s-2015.jpg

    Special Enrollment Period

    Some seniors may have a chance to sign up for a Medicare plan during a Special Enrollment Period. If you didn’t sign up for Part A and/or Part B when you were first eligible because you’re covered under a group health plan based on current employment (including your own, a spouse’s work, or as a disabled worker, or on a family member’s plan), then you can sign up for Part A and/or Part B:

    • Anytime you’re still covered by the group health plan
    • During the 8-month period that begins the month after the employment ends or the coverage ends, whichever happens first

    General Enrollment Period

    Seniors who did not sign up for Medicare during the seven month window for sign up during your Initial Enrollment Period and who are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period can sign up between Jan. 1–March 31 each year to start their coverage on July 1.

    Here are some more answers to questions you may have regarding your Medicare coverage.

    • Medicare Parts A and B are separate from Medicare Advantage, which is also called Part C. Medicare prescription drug coverage is Part D.
    • Your out-of-pocket costs in your original Medicare plan will depend on several factors.
    • If you have Original Medicare, you’ll get a “Medicare Summary Notice” in the mail every three months that lists all the services billed to Medicare.

    AMERICAN INSURANCE has local certified health agents available to meet with you by appointment to discuss Medicare and many other health care options. You can contact us to set up that appointment by calling them at 208-746-9646 or emailing us at American@Am-Ins.com.


    Medicare: What do I pay?

    cost-1174936_1280.jpgIf your 65th birthday is coming soon, you might have some questions about how Medicare works. 

    Your out-of-pocket costs in your original Medicare plan will depend on:

    • Whether you have Part A and/or Part B. Most people have both.
    • Whether your doctor, other health care provider, or supplier accepts “assignment.”
    • The type of health care you need and how often you need it.
    • Whether you choose to get services or supplies Medicare doesn’t cover. If you do, you pay all costs unless you have other insurance that covers it.
    • Whether you have other health insurance that works with Medicare.
    • Whether you have Medicaid or get help from your state paying your Medicare costs.
    • Whether you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy.
    • Whether you and your doctor or other health care provider sign a private contract.
    • Medicare Parts A and B are separate from Medicare Advantage, which is also called Part C. Medicare prescription drug coverage is Part D.
    • If you have Original Medicare, you’ll get a “Medicare Summary Notice” in the mail every three months that lists all the services billed to Medicare.

    AMERICAN INSURANCE has local certified health agents available to meet with you by appointment to discuss Medicare and many other health care options. You can contact us to set up that appointment by calling us at 208-746-9646 or emailing us at Medical@Am-Ins.com.

    Here are some more answers to questions you may have:

    AMERICAN INSURANCE has local certified health agents available to meet with you by appointment to discuss Medicare and many other health care options. You can contact us online by call us at 208-746-9646 or email us at Medical@Am-Ins.com to set up that appointment .


    Medicare: How do I know what Medicare paid?

    one-69528_1280.jpg

    If you have Original Medicare, you’ll get a “Medicare Summary Notice” in the mail every 3 months that lists all the services billed to Medicare. The notice shows what Medicare paid and what you may owe the provider. This notice isn’t a bill. Read it carefully and do this:

    • If you have other insurance, check to see if it covers anything that Medicare didn’t.
    • Keep your receipts and bills, and compare them to your notice to be sure you got all the services, supplies, or equipment listed. If you paid a bill before you got your notice, compare your notice with the bill to make sure you paid the right amount for your services.
    • If an item or service is denied, call your doctor’s or other health care provider’s office to make sure they submitted the correct information. If not, the office may resubmit the claim.

    Here are some more answers to questions you may have regarding your Medicare coverage.

    • If your 65th birthday is coming soon, you might have some questions about how Medicare works.
    • Medicare Parts A and B are separate from Medicare Advantage, which is also called Part C. Medicare prescription drug coverage is Part D.
    • Your out-of-pocket costs in your original Medicare plan will depend on several factors.

    AMERICAN INSURANCE has local certified health agents available to meet with you by appointment to discuss Medicare and many other health care options. You can contact us online or call us at 208-746-9646 or email us at Medical@Am-Ins.com  to set up that appointment.



    UBER, Lyft, and Rideshare answers

    How to “void” all coverage under your Personal Auto Policy (PAP)?

    J
    ust sign up with a mobile app service like UBER or Lyft and provide your vehicle as a ride service like a taxi for hire.

    Before you sign up with Uber or Lyft you need to know that the auto insurance issues are complex. Special insurance is required to avoid being uninsured for both auto liability and physical damage protection for your vehicle.

    Virtually every PAP excludes all coverage - liability, uninsured / underinsured motorist, medical payments and physical damage - if your vehicle is:

    • Used as a public or livery conveyance. (the public pickup and delivery of: people - like a taxi cab, limo or shuttle; or goods - like a public delivery or freight company)

    This exclusion is not new and in fact has been a main exclusion in Personal Auto Policies for many decades. To keep the PAP affordable for all drivers, the premiums charged do not include the risks associated with commercial business use like public taxi cabs or freight companies. That does NOT mean that vehicles used in your business or that all business use is excluded (read: Does my Personal Auto Policy exclude "business" use?) – but this specific use is directly excluded.

    To strengthen this Public or Livery exclusion the Insurance Services Office (ISO) has developed a new endorsement known as the Public or Livery Conveyance Exclusion Endorsement (PP 23 40 10 15). It defines the “Transportation Network Platform” and clarifies the exclusion in the auto policy. The endorsement excludes liability, medical payments and physical damage while the auto is being used by an insured who is logged into a transportation network platform as a driver, whether the insured has a passenger in the car or not. The endorsement takes effect Oct. 1, 2015, in Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It is effective Nov. 1 2015, in Colorado, Indiana and Nevada, and effective Dec. 1, 2015, in Delaware and Idaho.

    THEN, THERE WAS UBER
    Uber Technologies Inc. is an American international transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile app, which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars as a taxi service. By May 28, 2015, the service was available in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide.

    Since Uber's launch, several other companies have copied its business model, a trend that has come to be referred to as "Uberification". Uber was founded as "UberCab" by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009 and the app was released the following June. Beginning in 2012, Uber expanded internationally. In 2014, it experimented with carpooling features and made other updates. By mid-2015, Uber was estimated to be worth $50B. The legality of Uber has been challenged by governments and taxi companies, who allege that its use of drivers who are not licensed to drive taxicabs is unsafe and illegal. Source: UBER on Wikipedia.

    INSURANCE PROBLEMS
    Now suddenly, everyone who owns a private passenger auto and a smart phone can be in the taxi business. As Uber has been building its business model there have been clashes with existing legal and business structures – taxicab drivers, labor laws, state statutes, local regulations and insurance coverage. Each area is needing to adjust to adapt to this changing industry.

    In the meantime, anyone who uses their private passenger auto for hire with Uber or similar taxi service needs to know that they will not be covered by their auto insurance policy. An uncovered claim exposes the Uber driver to financial disaster in exchange for a part-time taxi job. No auto liability coverage for bodily injury or property damage lawsuits. No legal defense. No uninsured motorist and auto medical payments. No physical damage coverage to repair your wrecked or totaled vehicle.

    INSURANCE SOLUTIONS
    The insurance industry is slowly finding an approach to provide the needed coverage. Affordable coverage is available now under a Commercial Auto Policy but this may still be too expensive a solution for the part-time Uber driver. A few insurance companies are developing endorsements to their Personal Auto Policies to cover a driver and vehicle when under Uber type hired use.

    Safeco, for instance, offers a RideShare coverage endorsement option to close the "gap" that your personal auto coverage otherwise might not otherwise cover. This endorsement costs about $10/month.

    For the latest insurance solutions for Uber, Lyft or or other RideShare coverage plans, please Contact Us at AMERICAN INSURANCE.


    Coverage gaps - College Students & Your Homeowners Policy

    firefighter-756826_1280.jpgThis is the phone call you don’t want to get from your college student… “Hi dad, all my stuff got burned up in an apartment fire….and…. I am being sued by the apartment owner because they say the fire was my fault!” Next, you find out that your Homeowners insurance policy may not provide any coverage for your college student. So, here’s what you need to know before you get that dreaded phone call.

    Get answers to these 3 important questions below:

    1. Is your student insured for Property and Liability under your Homeowners Insurance policy?
    2. What coverage is provided by your Homeowners policy for your student?
    3. How to remove all coverage doubt and assure the right coverage for your student?

    1) Is your student insured for Property and Liability under your Homeowners Insurance policy?

    A parent’s Homeowners insurance policy DOES provide some coverage for a student while away at school – BUT only limited coverage. The typical Homeowners policy (ISO form HO 00 03) extends coverage to your student as an “insured” relative only under the following circumstances:

    5.b. A student enrolled in school full time, as defined by the school, who was a resident of your household before moving out to attend school, provided the student is under the age of:

    1. 24 and your relative; or
    2. 21 and in your care or the care of a person described in #1 above.

    “Full time” enrollment and their “age” become the issues of concern. Your college student may have enrolled full time when they started the term but dropped classes and suddenly becomes part-time; or, they turn age 24 during the term – both would cause them not to be an “insured” of your policy and no coverage would apply.

    2) What coverage is provided by your Homeowners policy for your student?

    As long as your student continues to be an “insured” then three essential coverages are extended:

    Coverage C: Personal Property – The personal property (contents) of your student is covered anywhere in the world for the same “broad named perils” as your own personal property. However, the limit of insurance is 10% of the Coverage C limit for personal property in the Homeowners policy, or $1,000, whichever is greater. NOTE: Theft is a covered peril but the student must visit their residence at least once in a 60 day period or theft is excluded. So, the student can’t leave their personal property unattended and go home for the summer and then come back and find things stolen.

    Coverage E: Personal Liability – Coverage follows an “insured” anywhere in the world up to the personal liability limit selected on the Homeowners policy. This covers the student for legal defense costs and damages from an accident (other than in an auto, boat or aircraft) that causes bodily injury or property damage for which they become legally liable.

    emergency-780313_1920.jpgCoverage F: Medical Payments – No fault medical payments for the medical expenses of others because of bodily injury occurring at the student’s temporary residence premises or caused by the activities of an “insured”.

    3) How to remove all coverage doubt and assure the right coverage for your student?

    At some point every dependent child grows up. They keep their apartment at school year-round, find a regular year-round job and they quit coming home from college in the summer – or they drop out of school and live independently - or they graduate from college and live independently. To avoid the possibility of having on-again / off-again coverage extended from your own Homeowners it might be best to get your student their own policy – a “Renters” Insurance policy.

    A Renters policy (HO-4 form) is a separate policy written for your student and lists their premises as an “insured residence”. This policy provides the three essential coverages of Personal Liability, Medical Payments, and Personal Property with limits you select. The annual premium ranges from $120 to $240 for the typical policy. This becomes a fundamental and necessary coverage to protect your student’s financial future as they become more and more independent.

    Questions? Contact us for more information and a Renters Insurance quote.


    Tips to Avoid Child Heatstroke

    One distracted moment in a busy, hectic, tired day - every parent, even a great parent, can forget a child in the back seat of a car by mistake.

    Prevent mistakes with safety habits that remind you a child is in the car. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers these tips to avoid child heatstroke.

    Always Look Before You Lock - 
    • Always check the back seats of your vehicle before your lock it and walk away.
    • Keep a stuffed animal or other memento in your child’s car seat when it’s empty, and move it to the front seat as a visual reminder when your child is in the back seat.
    • If someone else is driving your child, or your daily routine has been altered, always check to make sure your child has arrived safely.

    Heatstroke is one of the leading causes of death among children. Other risk factors include caregivers who aren’t used to driving kids or whose routine suddenly changes.

    Whether you’re a parent, caregiver or bystander of a child left in a car, it’s vitally important to understand children are more vulnerable to heatstroke than adults. 

    Keep in Mind a Child’s Sensitivity to Heat
    • In 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees.
    • Even at an outside temperature of 60 degrees, the temperature inside your car can reach 110 degrees.
    • A child dies when his/her body temperature reaches 107 degrees.
    Understand the Potential Consequences of Kids in Hot Cars
    • Severe injury or death
    • Being arrested and jailed
    • A lifetime of regret

    See also 2019 Heatstroke Fact Sheet  or the Heatstroke Prevention Tips for Parents & Caregivers flyer

    Source: NHTSA National Child Heatstroke Prevention Campaign

    Related story from American Insurance


    Wellness - 7 Tips for Managing Stress

    We can all use some help managing stress in our lives. Below are 7 very practical, free and easy tips for managing daily anxieties provided by Business Psychology Associates. (For more information about free and confidential counseling that may be available to you or could be added to your group medical insurance plan please contact us.)

    THE PROBLEM - Stress binge & purge: Do you experience a great deal of stress and anxiety all day only to go home in the evening feeling depleted? Once you are home, do you settle in to watch the news with a glass of wine or a beer, and plan your next visit to the spa or a weekend in the mountains? More often than not, this is how American workers relieve their stress - in a "binge and purge" fashion - stress all day with tiny compartments of relief here and there.

    The trouble with the "binge and purge" approach to managing stress is that it can eventually lead to heart disease, obesity, mental health disorders, and a compromised immune system.

    It's how you spend your days, not how you block out downtime that matters.

    The following are simple, free, and effective ways to decrease your toxic stress response and develop resilience:

    1. Apply the quick fixes to the "small stuff." Rather than muttering self-talk and rehashing the negative, solve the small problems right away and move on.
    2. If your job allows, take a walk every hour or so.
      Sitting at a computer screen with one's eyes intently glued to the screen with shoulders high and tight has been shown to engage our fight or flight response over time, even though we're in no real danger. Take a walk down the hall or in the parking lot to clear your mind and relax your body.
    3. Develop "perspective" skills. Learn to see concerns from multiple points of view. Not only does this allow you to become more empathetic, it generates new ideas and solutions.
    4. Lower your expectations. People who expect everything to go right often face disappointment and anger. If you expect interruptions and bumps in the road, they'll bother you less when they come up. Embrace adversity as an opportunity for growth.
    5. Adjust your breathing. Deep and slow breathing into the abdomen is central to relaxation. Drop your shoulders and follow your breath to a more relaxed state of body and mind.
    6. Take a vacation from the news. In an era of near-constant exposure to information and 24- hour TV news, we are bombarded with tales of misery and destruction. We absorb the anger, stress and pain of others and become sensitive and worried ourselves. People need to laugh (which increases blood flow and releases natural-high endorphins), so watch a comedy instead.
    7. Get your carbohydrates.
      This piece of advice may not sit well with some dieters. However, eating moderate amounts of high-fiber carbohydrates releases serotonin that calms moods (particularly in the late afternoon).

    Spending the day in chronic stress mode means spending the day awash in hormones and other bio-chemicals that cause the body to resist and prepare for 'fight or flight' in unnecessary ways. Those people who develop resilience are less prone to illness and the social issues that accompany constant stress, worry, and fatigue. The key ingredient in developing resilience is to establish habits that relieve your stress response all day long in addition to the stress-free activities you design for your weekends and vacations.

    Make the added effort to remain keenly aware of your resilience and ability to perform despite what is going on around you. Contrary to popular belief, stress and the common stress response do not lead to ideal performance and productivity.

    EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: If you need help managing stress or any emotional problem affecting your life check with your employer to see if you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Typically, EAP provides free and confidential counseling with professional counselors. For more information about Employee Assistance Programs that may be available or could be added to your group medical insurance plan please contact us.

    Source: Business Psychology Associates (BPA), Boise, ID, provides behavioral healthcare solutions that help people improve their lives. Many Blue Cross of Idaho group customers have Employee Assistance Program benefits provided by BPA. For more information visit www.bpahealth.com.


    What to do if you see a child alone in a car?

    In the span of 10 minutes, a car can heat up by 20 degrees, enough to kill a child left alone in the vehicle. The U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and other safety advocates and academic institutions have recognized the safety threat heatstroke poses for children left unattended in hot cars. 

    So, what should YOU do if you see a child alone in a car?

    TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION!

    That's the advice of the NHTSA. They recommend you not worry about getting involved in someone else’s business — protecting children is everyone’s business; besides, “Good Samaritan” laws offer legal protection for those who offer assistance in an emergency.

    Here’s What You Can Do:

    • Always make sure the child is okay and responsive. If not, call 911 immediately.
    • If the child appears to be okay, attempt to locate the parents or have the facility’s security or management page the car owner over the PA system.
    • If the child is not responsive and appears to be in distress, attempt to get into the car to assist the child—even if that means breaking a window—many states have “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from lawsuits for getting involved to help a person in an emergency. 

    Warning Signs of Heatstroke

    • Red, hot, and moist or dry skin
    • No sweating
    • Strong, rapid pulse or slow, weak pulse
    • Nausea
    • Confusion or strange behavior

    Did you know that heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash-related deaths for children under 14? A child dies when their body temperature reaches 107 degrees.

    Heatstroke is the leading cause of vehicular not-in-traffic non-crash-related deaths for children under 14. In fact, each year, an average of 38 children have died from heatstroke since 1998.

    Sadly, these are the current statistics: 

    • Child vehicular heatstroke fatalities in 2018 = 52 
    • Child vehicular heatstroke fatalities in 2017 = 43

    Tips for Parents & Caregivers

    Is dropping off a child not part of your normal routine? Come up with some ways to remind yourself that the child is in the car.

    • Place a briefcase, purse, or cell phone next to the child’s car seat so that you’ll always check the back seat before leaving the car.
    • Call your spouse or another caregiver to confirm you’ve dropped your child off.
    • Have your child care provider call you if your child doesn’t arrive.
    • Write a note and place it on the dashboard of your car, or set a reminder on your cell phone or calendar.

    See also 2019 Heatstroke Fact Sheet  or the Heatstroke Prevention Tips for Parents & Caregivers flyer

    Source: NHTSA National Child Heatstroke Prevention Campaign


    Claims - Auto Accident Report Guide

    Accidents happen - when you least expect it!  Be prepared by printing this Auto Accident Report Guide and placing it in each of your vehicles. Keep this guide with your proof of liability insurance card.

    Auto Accident Report Guide

    It's hard to think clearly after an accident. So, follow these 10 helpful steps for your safety and to document the important information you will need for an insurance claim. 


    Workers Compensation - ID First Report of Injury

    Q: If an employee is injured on the job, is the employer required to report it?

    A: Yes. If a work-related injury or illness results in lost work time or requires medical treatment, that injury or illness must be reported to the Idaho Industrial Commission.

    This is done with a "First Report of Injury or Illness" form. Filing the form is not an admission of liability for the employer. 

    Instructions - read before completing "First Report" form 

    Idaho First Report of Injury or Illness - fillable form

    The form can be filled out, printed and mailed to:
    Idaho Industrial Commission
    PO Box 83720
    Boise, ID 83720-0041

    Or, sent as an email attachment to froi@iic.idaho.gov.



    Workers Compensation - Audits Explained

    Workers Compensation policies are subject to annual payroll audit. During the year, your business may expand or reduce the number of employees or change wage levels. So it is important to remind you about audits, how they work, and 6 ways to avoid surprises.

    What is the purpose of a payroll audit?

    The initial Workers Compensation premium charged at the beginning of a policy term is a “deposit only” based on an estimate of payroll for each worker classification for the coming policy year. The insurance company will perform a payroll audit to ensure that you only pay a premium based on your “actual” payroll.  An accurate audit at the end of the policy term will adjust your final

    premium up or down when reconciled against the initial estimated payroll. 

    So, prior to your policy renewal each year you will received an audit form from the insurance company requesting actual payroll paid in each worker classification.

    A surprise to avoid!

    Nobody likes to face an unplanned expense.  If you expand your payroll significantly during the year you may want to adjust your estimated payroll and pay more now into your premium deposit. That way you can avoid a large and unbudgeted additional premium expense at the end of the policy year.

    What you can do to avoid surprises:

    1. Verify during the year that your estimated payroll is what you anticipated. If your estimate is too low, an audit will create an unwelcomed bill for additional premium. If your estimate is too high then you will overpay the initial premium deposit and must wait until audit for a refund.  Contact us for help to revise your estimate and adjust your premium during your policy term.
    2. Keep accurate payroll records and separate actual payroll for each worker classification that appears on your policy.  
    3. Monitor during the year your actual payroll amounts in relation to what was estimated. If you are having a great year with higher payroll than estimated it would be wise to set aside money in anticipation of the audit premium that will be due. 
    4. Subcontractors or Independent Contractors you hire in your operations need to provide you certificates of insurance as proof of Workers Compensation Insurance.  Keep these certificates on file for your audit.  If you can’t provide this proof at audit then all uninsured subs or independent contractors are assumed to be your employee for Workers Compensation purposes. You will charged a Workers Compensation premium for the gross cost paid to subs or independent contractor.  
    5. Voluntary audits are sent to you at the end of your policy term.  You must respond in a timely fashion.  By law, a mandatory on-site auditor may inspect your payroll records for compliance. Contact us with any questions you have when completing an audit.
    6. Contact Us for advice during the year if you have a material change in your operations. A change in operations may increase or decrease your workers compensation premium or create new employee rating classifications with different rates on your policy. 

    Workers Compensation - Audits Explained (click to view as PDF)


    Small Group vs Individual Medical Plans

    Small group medical insurance vs. individual medical plans for employees? That is the question most small employers are asking. Although not required to do so by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most small employers (under 50 FTE employees) want to provide their employees group medical insurance or financial assistance for individual medical plans. Finding the least cost solution – small group plan or ACA individual medical plans is the challenge for small employers.

    GET FREE ASSISTANCE

    Our experienced health insurance agents can help you compare the coverage and premiums for small group vs individual plans for your employees. Contact us online here or call (208) 746-9646 or email Medical@Am-Ins.com for an appointment with Tim Gleason or Dave Root to review your medical insurance needs and update you on the latest regulations and information regarding the Affordable Care Act.

    Small Group Plans

    Certain current small group medical plans may be “grandfathered” or “grandmothered” and may not be fully compliant with ACA market reforms. New small group plans may be quoted at any time and are fully compliant ACA plans. You can now apply for the Small Business Health Insurance Marketplace (SHOP) that was created under ACA  plans and tax breaks. You control the coverage you offer and how much you pay toward employee premiums. Ask us for free quote assistance to compare group plan prices, coverage, and quality of plans inside or outside of SHOP. SHOP provides qualified small businesses with up to a 50% tax credit on premium costs.

    Individual Medical Plans 

    The attraction for small employers is that many employees may qualify for premium subsidy under an ACA qualified individual plan through the Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace, thus shifting cost from the employer to the Exchange. However, to keep employers from dumping workers onto the health exchanges, the IRS and Department of Labor have created barriers with rules and penalties.

    Essentially, the issue is the tax deductibility of the employer contributions. On Sept. 13, 2013, the IRS issued , which explains how the Affordable Care Act’s market reforms apply to certain types of group health plans, including health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs), health flexible spending arrangements (health FSAs) and certain other employer healthcare arrangements, including arrangements under which an employer reimburses an employee for some or all of the premium expenses incurred for an individual health insurance policy. The new rules make these various arrangements and Employer Payment Plans to be “group health plans” that are subject to all ACA market reforms. This effectively prohibited using these arrangements for Individual Medical Plans or providing reimbursements on a non-taxable basis to the employee.

    This does NOT mean that small employers can’t give money for medical insurance premiums to their employees. It just means that those contributions are taxed as wages leaving only the net "after-tax" money available to pay an individual premium. The exception to IRS Ruling 61-146 says, “An employer payment plan, as the term is used in this notice, does not include an employer-sponsored arrangement under which an employee may choose either cash or an after-tax amount to be applied toward health coverage. Individual employers may establish payroll practices of forwarding post-tax employee wages to a health insurance issuer at the direction of an employee without establishing a group health plan, if the standards of the DOL’s regulation at 29 C.F.R. §2510.3-1(j) are met.”

    COMPARING SMALL GROUP TO INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL PLAN RATES:

    Do not underestimate the financial impact of the tax burden when comparing the relative premium costs of group (which is deductible and not included as income to employees) and individual premiums (which must be paid after-tax). A $100 gross wage contribution to an employee for premium is reduced by employer and employee taxes.

    $100.00 Gross Wages to Employee

    • - 7.65 FICA Employee Contribution (7.65%)
    • - 10.00 Federal Income Tax (10% at a minimum)
    • - 7.00 State Income Tax (7% at a minimum)
    • $ 75.35 Net Wage left for Employee to pay premium

    So, at least 25% reduction in net amount because of various taxes. In this example, an employer would need to increase the employee gross wage to $133.33 to pay a net $100 premium. Higher compensated employees will lose 30% to 40% to taxes further increasing the employer cost.

    $100.00 Cost to Employer

    • + 7.65 FICA Employer Tax (7.65%)
    • $ 107.65 Adjusted Cost to Employer
    • + ?.?? Pension or other payroll related benefits

    Although the wages, taxes and benefits are tax deductible to the employer, the gross cost to fund individual medical contributions may be much higher than anticipated.

    GET FREE ASSISTANCE

    Our experienced health insurance agents can help you compare the coverage and premiums for small group vs individual plans for your employees. Contact us online here or call (208) 746-9646 or email Medical@Am-Ins.com for an appointment with Tim Gleason or Dave Root to review your medical insurance needs and update you on the latest regulations and information regarding the Affordable Care Act.


    Workers Compensation - Reporting Workplace Injuries

    Reporting Workplace Injuries (click to view as PDF)

    Question: Must I track and report workplace injuries to workers compensation and OSHA?

    Answer: If you have employees, workers compensation or similar programs are required in every state (except Texas). The reporting requirements may vary in each state but generally speaking all worker injuries are required to be reported within a short number of days.

                Idaho Industrial Commission – Injured Worker Reporting Information
                Washington State Department of Labor & Industries – Reporting of Worker Injuries

    Also, under the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recordkeeping regulation (29 C.F.R. 1904), covered employers are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses using the OSHA 300 Log. This information is important for employers, workers, and OSHA in evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards, and implementing worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards.

    Some employers are exempt from OSHA reporting:
    Employers with less than 10 employees and whose establishments are classified as a partially exempt industry are not required to report.  All others must record work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301, available here. Partially exempt industries include establishments in specific low hazard retail, service, finance, insurance, or real estate industries and are listed in Appendix A to Subpart B.

    Employers who are required to keep Form 300, the Injury and Illness log, must post Form 300A, the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, in a workplace every year from February 1 to April 30. Current and former employees, or their representatives, have the right to access injury and illness records. Employers must give the requester a copy of the relevant record(s) by the end of the next business day.

    For more information, read “Do I need to fill out the OSHA Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses?” (OSHA Publication 3169).

    Source: www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/pub3169text.html

    www.osha.gov/recordkeeping

    www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/RKforms.html


    Group Medical for Medicare Eligible Employees

    Group Medical Enrollment
    Medicare-Eligible Employees (click to view as PDF)

    Question: Can we terminate employees from our group plan when they become Medicare eligible?

    Answer: The federal Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) rules prohibit some employers from terminating group coverage, providing financial or other incentives to encourage dropping group coverage, or purchasing a Medicare supplement policy for active employees (or their spouses) who are Medicare-eligible. Employers who violate this prohibition are subject to penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation.

    Rules vary by employer size:
    The rules vary based on whether the employer size is under 20 employees, between 20 – 99 employees, or 100 or more employees. The employer’s size determines whether the employer’s group health plan is the “primary” plan; that is, the plan is required to pay claims first or before Medicare. The prohibition against terminating group coverage, or providing incentives, applies if the employer’s group health plan is the primary payer.

    For employers with under 20 employees:

    • If Medicare entitlement is due to age (age 65 or over), the primary payer is Medicare.
    • If Medicare entitlement is due to disability (under age 65), the primary payer is Medicare.

    For employers with 20 – 99 employees:

    • If Medicare entitlement is due to age (age 65 or over), the primary payer is the group health plan.
    • If Medicare entitlement is due to disability (under age 65), the primary payer is Medicare.

    For employers with 100 or more employees:

    • If Medicare entitlement is due to age (age 65 or over), the primary payer is the group health plan.
    • If Medicare entitlement is due to disability (under age 65), the primary payer is the group health plan.

    For non-active employees (or their spouses), such as retirees or COBRA beneficiaries, the group health plan is no longer the primary payer.

    Source: Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Manual from CMS, www.cms.gov/manuals/downloads/msp105c01.pdf


    RISK MANAGEMENT - Explained

    No one needs to tell a business owner that business is risky! Even small business owners feel the pressure and expectations of the public, employees, suppliers and regulators that hold businesses to ever higher levels of professionalism in their operations.

    Many types of risk.
    Besides the common economic risk all businesses face, there is physical risk of loss to business assets from fire, theft, weather, accidents, etc; legal risk arising from tort lawsuits (legal liability from customers, suppliers or employees) and, ever increasing statutory liability and regulatory compliance; social risk to reputation or brand including new social media concerns; and even political and regulatory risk regarding changes in laws or enforcement of complicated regulations.

    Risk management is more than insurance.
    Insurance does not lessen, change or mitigate risk. However, it is an essential and fundamental way to "finance" certain types of losses. A business can budget and pay an affordable, predictable premium that will cover the most common business losses and shift the financial risk of those losses to the insurance company. This allows the cash and surplus of the business to be used to operate and expand rather than reserved for unexpected losses.

    So, what is risk management?
    Whether you run a small one-person business or a multi-national corporation, all businesses naturally practice some form of risk management. Most small business rely only on informal safety plans, procedures and insurance.

    Risk Management is a more formal approach.
    It is defined as the process of managing the uncertainty of risk exposures that affect an organization’s assets and financial statements using five steps:

    1. identification and analysis of exposures
    2. controlling the exposures
    3. financing of losses with external and internal funds
    4. implementation
    5. monitoring of the risk management process.

    Benefits of risk management.
    Big financial surprises can serious set-back or even destroy a business. An effective risk management program helps plan for the inevitable surprises and minimize their impact by having an organization identify their unique exposures and the risks associated with those exposures. Once the exposures and risks are identified, the organization can then attempt to prevent and reduce costs associated with losses, and to spread the financial risk over various funding methods.

    Establishing a risk management program.
    Get help and start small – but start! Like any complicated endeavor you take it one step at a time. AMERICAN INSURANCE can help you get started. Just CONTACT US!


    Work Comp Reduced By Positive Reinforcement

    Safeway, the grocery chain, rebuilt its safety culture on a foundation of positive reinforcement, leading to savings in excess of $100 million.
     
    Safeway’s “Culture of Safety” initiative turned their worker injury frequency from bad to best, now outperforming their industry sector. Read how they did it in this April 6, 2015 report by Risk & Insurance. Be sure to read the last section on “positive reinforcement” for an idea that even a small business can easily implement.   

    Safety Initiative Saves Millions


    Most Common & Most Costly Small Business Claims

    What do you think is the most common claim suffered by small business owners? A recent study by The Hartford Insurance Co. identified the top 10 most common types of claims followed by the top 10 claims with the highest average cost per claim. 

    Many of these claims would be preventable if small business owners knew which hazards to focus on for prevention.   

    Find the answers in this article posted by Insurance Journal - 

    10 Most Common and Costliest Small Business Claims


    Reporting Requirements

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) added two new employer reporting requirements to the Internal Revenue Code (Code) for 2015:

    • Code § 6056 requires applicable large employers to provide an annual statement to each full-time employee detailing the employer’s health coverage offer.
    • Code § 6055 requires employers that provide minimum essential coverage under a self-funded (uninsured) plan to provide an annual statement to covered employees.

    Find more information

    Note: Small employers (under 50 full-time-equivalent employees) that sponsor self-funded health plans are subject to reporting requirements not discussed here. Self-funding by small employers is uncommon.

    Washington and Idaho residents are invited to contact our Exchange Certified Health Agents, Dave Root or Tim Gleason, online here or by calling 208-746-9646 to discuss your health care options at any time.


    Pay or Play Guide

    The Affordable Care Act’s Employer Shared Responsibility (ESR) provision — often called “the Employer Mandate” or “Play or Pay” — requires large employers to offer health coverage to their full-time workers or face a potential penalty. Small employers with fewer than 50 full-time and full-time-equivalent employees are exempt.

    Play or Pay took effect on January 1, 2015, although special transition relief rules will allow some employers to delay compliance for several months or into 2016.

    PAY OR PLAY GUIDE: This Guide offers step-by-step guidance about the basic Play or Pay rules for employers and brokers and advisors assisting employers:

    • Starting with Basics and Definitions
    • Determining Large Employer Status
    • Determining Full-Time Employees for Coverage
    • Using Measurement Periods and Stability Periods
    • Determining Minimum Essential, Minimum Value, and Affordable Coverage
    • Estimating Penalties
    • Qualifying for Transition Relief
    • Checking Your Case

    The Guide focuses on the most common provisions applicable to typical employer groups.

    ACA Employer Mandate - Pay or Play Guide


    Claims Management - Planning Ahead

    Your business may benefit by establishing a plan to manage claims.  Using an insurance company for all claims, large and small,may have a negative impact on future premium rates, deductible levels, impairment of liability limits, and underwriting acceptability leading to non-renewal of insurance. While an insurance company may be responsible to manage insured claims, its goal will always be to protect the assets of the insurance company before those of the insured.
    Not all claims may require the extensive resources or expense of a formal insurance claim. Retaining and settling smaller claims with an internal active retention program reduces the claim frequency from the insurance company’s viewpoint and creates favorable conditions during insurance policy negotiations. 

    RM-CLAIMS-ClaimsManagement.pdf


    Motor Vehicle Safety Program - guide & checklist

    Employers, you can protect your employees and others on the road from being hurt or killed in motor vehicle crashes. 

    All employers - from long-haul trucking companies to local service businesses with vehicle fleets to small employers with drivers – everyone benefits from implementing a driver safety program that prevent accidents and injuries which reduces claims and insurance premiums for Workers Compensation and Commercial Auto policies.   

    The attached guide recommends ways you can keep workers safe when driving or riding in a motor vehicle on the job. It outlines components of a successful motor vehicle safety program.  It ends with a checklist that you can use to implement the recommendations. 

    MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY PROGRAM

    An NIOSH Publication No. 2015-111 March 2015 


    An overview of Forms 1095-C and 1094-C

    How to complete IRS forms 1095-C and 1094-C.

    Two IRS forms have been required of large employers since 2015 are IRS forms 1095-C and 1094-C. Large employers want to familiarize themselves with these forms for compliance.

    Form 1095-C is a form designed by the IRS fulfilling reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to collect information about applicable large employers and the group health coverage, if any, they offer to their full-time employees. Employers will provide Form 1095-C (employee statement) to employees and file copies, along with Form 1094-C (transmittal form), to the IRS.

    Form 1095-C is comprised of three parts:

    • Part I: Identifying information about the employee and the employer.
    • Part II: Information about the employer’s offer of group health coverage.
    • Part III: Information about the employer’s self-funded health coverage (if any), including names and Social Security numbers of the employee and his or her covered dependents.

    Due dates: The due dates are the same as the due dates for Form W-2 for the same calendar year. If the due date falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the employer may file by the next business day.

    Forms and instructional materials include:

    • Form 1095-CEmployer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage.
    • Form 1094-CTransmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns.
    • Instructions for Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.

    The types of information that applicable large employers should be capturing for this report will depend on whether the employer is eligible for simplified reporting. Employers should work with their payroll administrators and human resources information system administrators to identify the data elements needed to complete Forms 1095-C and 1094-C, including capturing data elements needed to determine employee eligibility for benefits. All large employers must report basic information, similar to W-2 information:

    • Employee name, Social Security number (SSN), address.
    • Employer name, Employer Identification Number (EIN), address, telephone contact.

    The IRS regulations provide a general method for all applicable large employers to complete Form 1095-C. The general method requires reporting information about the full-time employee and the health coverage (type, required contribution) offered to that employee. Many employers, however, will be able to take advantage of one of the alternative (simplified) methods outlined in the regulations.

    For example, alternative methods of reporting are available for employers that made a qualifying health coverage offer to employees for all 12 months or for employers that offered affordable minimum value coverage to at least 98 percent of full-time employees (and their children).

    Employers that do not sponsor a self-funded (uninsured) plan will complete Parts I and II with respect to each full-time employee. Persons covered under a group insurance plan also will receive a form directly from the insurance company regarding the coverage.

    The IRS Form 1094-C is the transmittal form that employers will use to submit, along the copies of Forms 1095-C, to the IRS. The employer will indicate on Form 1094-C if it is eligible for alternative (simplified) reporting. Employers also will use this form to certify that the employer is eligible for transition relief under the ACA “play or pay” rules, if applicable.

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released final forms and instructions to be used for Internal Revenue Code § 6055 and § 6056 reporting. This material is for 2014 reporting, which is voluntary for employers. Reports for 2015 (due in early 2016) will be required, so employers should review the material and begin preparing now.

    Source: ThinkHR Compliance Blog


    2015 - Our New Year's Wish - Fiberoptic!

    My employees had one wish for the 2015 new year – faster, more reliable internet to provide the best service possible for our clients. Their new year’s wish is coming true with the installation of a new fiberoptic business connection through CenturyLink.  But, getting fiber routed to our office building was a challenge.

    The fiber line runs parallel to Snake River Ave on the west side.  So, they had to bore more than 100 feet under three road lanes to reach our office. Another challenge was missing high pressure natural gas lines along the way. Next they inserted 3 inch orange conduit the entire distance. The final stage will be to insert the fiberoptic cables and establish service at our office.  We hope to have the new dedicated 30 megabite fiberoptic connection by early February 2015.

    This change to a fiberoptic service should mean more stable connections, faster processing speeds, and the ability to do more in less time. But, technology aside, great customer service starts with our dedicated staff.  Nothing substitutes for the one-on-one relationships they maintain, the personalized advice that comes from knowing their clients, or the persistence to find the best answers to every insurance request. Internet service is just a business tool to get that work done efficiently. To the credit of my staff, they don’t tolerate any barriers to providing the best possible customer service.      

    One final note: I must admit, I am a bit-of-a-pessimist when it comes to these technical endeavors.  Things never go as smoothly as hoped. So, don’t be surprised (I won’t be) if we lose service at some point for a number of hours or even a day while we get all the bugs worked out. But rest assured, we will be running better than ever with the latest technology to provide you the best service possible in 2015 and beyond. 


    2014 Dec 1 - Bashore Sells to American Insurance

    Bashore Insurance Transfers Grange Policies to American Insurance 

    On December 1, 2014 Bashore Insurance Agency of Clarkston selected American Insurance of Lewiston and Moscow as service agents for more than 450 Grange policyholders previously serviced by Bashore. Tony Bashore, owner of Bashore Insurance Agency, will focus entirely on his Crop Insurance business and transferred his Grange Insurance Association policyholders to American Insurance, which also is an experienced Grange representative and very familiar with the policies and service requirements of Grange.

    Bashore said, “I have represented Grange for over 34 years and I can attest to the fact that they are one of the best companies in the marketplace. I also feel very confident that the Sullivans and their staff at American Insurance will provide excellent service to Grange policyholders."  

    “We are honored”, said John Sullivan, President of American Insurance, “to be selected by Tony Bashore and the Grange to provide ongoing service for their common policyholders.  We appreciate their trust and confidence in us.  My entire staff is looking forward to working closely with Grange policyholders and provide the personal service they expect and deserve.”

    Grange Insurance Association, Seattle, WA is a mutual insurance company serving the insurance needs of individuals and farm families.  Founded in 1894 and deeply rooted in agricultural communities across the west, Grange Insurance Association has expanded in recent decades to better serve you. The company offers competitive auto, home and other personal insurance policies along with extensive underwriting experience in farm insurance.  Learn more at www.grange.com.


    BBQ Safety Tips

    BBQ masters fire up their grills when the weather is warm, especially during summer holidays and family get-togethers. This adds up to more than three billion barbecues a year. But serious accidents can occur without proper precautions. 

    Here are some important tips to help you keep danger away when you are enjoying food and fun:

    Choose a safe location for your grill. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than one-quarter (27%) of home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio and 29% started on an exterior balcony or open porch.* Keep grills on a level surface more than 10 feet away from the house, garage, deck rails or other structures. Keep away from children, pets, landscaping and overhanging branches. Grills should not be used on a balcony or under an overhang.

    Grill outside only! Never use a grill in a garage, vehicle, tent or other enclosed space, even if ventilated, due to risk of harmful carbon monoxide buildup.

    Keep gas grills and supplies safe. Always store gas grills – and propane tanks – outside and away from your house. Turn off valves if the odor of gas is detected or when not in use. Check at least annually for leaks in the connections.

    Use the right fuel the right way. While starting and maintaining the flame in a charcoal grill can be challenging, avoid shortcuts. Only use starter fluids intended for these grills. Never use gasoline or too much starter fluid. If the fire is too low, rekindle with dry kindling and more charcoal if needed. Avoid adding liquid fuel because it can cause a flash fire. Do not leave grill unattended.

    Do not forget post-grilling safety. Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. If using a charcoal grill, dispose of coals by soaking them in water to let them cool completely and placing them in a closed metal container away from your home, garage or deck. Be aware that grills themselves remain hot long after extinguished.


    PERSONAL PROPERTY - How is it insured?

    Over time we spend a great amount of our earnings accumulating things – food, clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics, recreation and entertainment items, etc. – it’s all our personal stuff that makes our life comfortable and enjoyable.

    The loss of these personal items to fire, theft, vandalism, natural disaster or any other cause creates a financial loss as well as being unsettling to our lives. So, how do you insure all your stuff?

    What is Personal Property (PP)? 

    For insurance purposes, “Personal Property” is generally considered to be tangible property that you own (except motorized land vehicles) that is moveable as opposed to “real property” which is fixed to a location, principally land and buildings.

    How to insure Personal Property? 

    The most common and lowest cost way to insure personal property is under a Home Insurance policy or a Renters Insurance policy. In both cases, the Personal Property is insured in the Coverage C section of the policy. The policy form may assign an automatic or minimum limit of coverage but you may adjust your limit to reflect the total estimated Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost Value (RC) of your personal property. Covered claims are subject to a property deductible per loss.

    How to quote and secure coverage 

    We recommend you get a quote on the type of coverage that you need:

    • Home insurance - This policy includes coverage for the dwelling as well as personal property.
    • Mobile Home Insurance - For those property types.
    • Condo Insurance - If you are buying a condominium you would quote a that includes coverage for the Unit Owners interior.
    • Renters insurance
      - If renting a house or apartment you would quote a that covers your personal property but no structures. 

    In every case, you should endorse the policy with replacement cost coverage (new for old without depreciation) for personal property as well as other enhancement endorsements.

    For more about Personal Property, read Personal Property - Where is it insured?

    Want more information? 





    Personal Property - Where is it insured?

    When you travel on vacation, move to a new residence, put items in a storage unit, have a family member living at college, or pack up all your earthly belongings in a U-Haul truck, suddenly you wonder, Is all my stuff insured when away from my residence premises?”

    Personal Property is most often insured as part of a Homeowners or Renters insurance policy. As long as you have an in-force policy that includes your Personal Property then the answer is “Yes, you have coverage.” But, where your personal property is covered, how much limit is available, and what type of claims are covered needs further explanation. See SPECIAL CONCERNS at the bottom of this article to learn about the two common losses that are not covered claims without additional insurance protection.

    PERSONAL PROPERTY - WHERE IS IT COVERED?

    Here’s what the typical Homeowners or Renters insurance policy says under:

    SECTION I – PROPERTY COVERAGES,
    COVERAGE C – PERSONAL PROPERTY

    1. Covered Property

    We cover personal property owned or used by an “insured” while it is anywhere in the world.

    Your personal property is insured anywhere in the world, not just at your residence premises. So, all or part of your personal property can be with you while traveling on vacation, stored in a storage unit, in your car, in your hotel room, in the back of your pickup truck, in a U-Haul truck, etc. and it is still insured. You have the full personal property limit shown in the policy except for a couple of notable exceptions: The full limit is not provided for personal property at other residences and certain types of personal property described under the section Special Limits For Personal Property.

    2. Limit For Property At Other Residence

    Our limit of liability for personal property usually located at an “insured’s” residence, other than the “residence premises”, is 10% of the limit of liability for Coverage C, or $1,000, whichever is greater.

    The policy makes the distinction between your “residence premises” which is your main residence insured list in the policy and other residences (second or seasonal homes, a dorm room, time-share condo, etc.). The policy reduces personal property exposure to 10% at these other part-time residences because they are subject to increased risk like theft, vandalism, and water loss of personal property and should be insured separately if higher limits are needed. So, if you have a $100,000 Cov C Personal Property limit in your policy then 10% or $10,000 is available at other residences. 

    NOTE: Theft is not a covered loss at other residences except while you are temporarily living there. Staying in a hotel/motel is not considered as other residences.

    3. Special Limits of Liability

    The policy assigns lower coverage limits to a short list of specific types of personal property like money, jewelry, firearms and business property. For the these limits in your own policy please contact your agent.

    SPECIAL CONCERNS

    Two common personal property losses are not covered without extra insurance protection – dropping or breaking and losing or misplacing.

    Dropping or breaking

    When you are handling and moving your personal property items they can get damaged or broken. This type of loss would not be a covered claim unless you endorsed your policy with “Special Risk” coverage on personal property (HO-5 form or equivalent). Even with “Special Risk” coverage there are exclusions for fragile items like china and glass. For valuable items that can be easily broken you can provide breakage coverage if you “Schedule” those items for additional coverage.

    Damage by vehicles

    Fortunately, you do have coverage for damage including breakage of your personal property if damaged by a vehicle. This is really important coverage because when all your personal property is loaded in a vehicle it could all be lost in a collision or roll-over accident. Generally this means that if your personal property is damaged by impacting your vehicle (being carried inside your car or a truck) or is impacted by another vehicle then it is a covered claim. However, if your load just shifts causing damage or your unsecured load just falls out (or blows out) of your vehicle no coverage would apply. You still must make every effort to protect your property by packing and securing it for transport.

    Losing or misplacing 

    When you lose or misplace a personal property item it is not a covered loss. For expensive items like wedding rings and other jewelry you may want to consider “Scheduling” the item. If scheduled the item is then covered for losing or misplacing. NOTE: If you leave an item in a known place and it disappears then the presumption is that the item has been stolen and is covered as a theft.

    For more about Personal Property, read PERSONAL PROPERTY - How is it insured? 

    Want more information? 


    2014 June 27 - The Man Behind The Boom


    The following story by Doug Bauer was published in the Lewiston Tribune on June 27, 2014.

    John B. Sullivan doesn't have to think too hard to remember where he's been for the past 29 Fourth of July celebrations. The former president and current vice president of Community Spirit has been at Adams Field, enjoying the annual fireworks display he helps stage on an annual basis.

    Sullivan joined the family business, American Insurance, in 1977 as a third-generation agent. He's been president and general manager of the firm since 1996, and counts two of his sons among his agents.

    In his down time, Sullivan is a television, movie and reading buff. His favorite pursuits are science, history and science fiction.

    Doug Bauer: What is the most challenging aspect of putting on the annual fireworks show?

    John Sullivan: We contract out all the services that are needed for the fireworks. We've used the same pyrotechnic firm for probably the last 25 or 26 years, called Entertainment Fireworks Inc. They just do a bang-up job for us, excuse the pun. But really, raising the money through our corporate sponsors is the challenge. We've met that challenge by the great services of Ida Vend Broadcasting, which is our media sponsor. They take on the challenge through their sales staff and their work to attract corporate sponsors, and (then) advertise those sponsors over their radio stations as sponsors or major sponsors. That, plus the generous donations we get at the gate at Adams Field during the performance, is the glue that holds the financial part of it together.

    DB: Can you describe a typical Fourth of July for you?
    JS: My pattern anymore is I'm up early with a crew of volunteers, who are very gracious ... and we go pick up 33 flags from the Clarkston VFW and transport them to Adams Field. We want to make sure they get up and unfolded in the locations around the field so we can all watch the flags fly for ... Independence Day. So I do that, and set up the gates, and rope off areas for safety and take care of that part of it. And then when the show is over we immediately get out there and take down the flags, make sure they're folded up correctly, and kept clean and dry. And we reload those and take them back to the Clarkston VFW. So it starts about 7 a.m. and ends at midnight. But every year I'm there to watch the aerial fireworks with my family, and spend that 20 minutes oohing and ahhing with everybody else, because it's just a great feeling to focus all our attention for a day, an hour, a moment on what independence really means. ...

    We always encourage families to come, because we're celebrating and it gives us a reason to explain to the next generation the cost and the benefits of independence and freedom. It's not free; it's worth fighting for. It's something that's been a remarkable experiment in the world and one we want to see continue.

    DB: Have there been years that were more challenging than others?

    JS: We only had one bad year. It was about the second year where we blew up the fireworks completely. That was before we hired professional pyro-technicians. There was a misfire during a test shelling, and a hot shell fell right into the pile of sorted fireworks, and they all went off in every direction. It was very dangerous, very scary. People were running for their lives. But that was the one and only ... mishap, and we went to a professional pyrotechnic show immediately after that. And we got the funding up over time so we could shoot the show safely electronically, and we've had no problems ever since. It's been perfect.

    DB: You've been around the insurance industry most of your life. How is it different today than when you started as an agent?

    JS: Insurance, like everything else, has become more regulated, more complex. We handle more lines of insurance. We've grown from a small-town agency to a multi-state agency with large employers, so the account sizes have gotten larger. Things are more complex all the way through, so you've got to be fully professional to be in that arena.

    DB: You enjoy science fiction. What are some of your favorite aspects of it?


    JS: Actually, in sixth grade I read the book "Wrinkle in Time" ... and that's the first time my imagination was really caught up in time travel and science fiction. ... Every Star Trek movie, I've seen. I've read all the books the authors have written. I just got into it. And then I got into Isaac Asimov sci-fi books, from "I, Robot" to his Foundation Series, which is probably nine books. He was really the forerunner of most modern science fiction. So I watch every blockbuster out there now, from the comic books on down. ... In later years, I've really started enjoying science for science's sake. I'm just amazed at the progress we make.


    2014 - Best of the West winner!

    For the third year in a row, AMERICAN INSURANCE, in Lewiston and Moscow, was voted "Best of the West" Insurance Agency for 2014 in a KLEW TV online survey of local resident's preferences. The Sullivans and staff are proud to be chosen and always strive to be worthy of your continued trust.  Read what our customers say about our service at Customer Service – what do our customers say?

    How are we doing for you?  Your comments make us better!  Tell us what you think at “Customer Service Feedback”.

    "Best of the West" is an annual online consumer survey conducted by KLEW-TV to identify the best businesses in the categories of entertainment, food & drink, health care, house & home, service providers, shopping, sports & recreation, and transportation. 


    BBQ Common Mistake Burns House

    Time to light up your BBQ? 

    Here’s how it happens!  You light up your gas BBQ and let it heat up while you go inside the house to get the food ready....

    You’ve done it a hundred times with no problems. But this time, you go back outside with your steaks and find your gas grill has become a flame-thrower!

    So, what’s wrong with this picture?  The BBQ is set too close to the house and under the eaves. Now, the leading cause of BBQ structure fires is about to happen because the BBQ was too close to something that could burn. But, two other BBQ mistakes were made that in combination cause tragic fire losses (see BBQ Mistakes To Avoid below). 

    Five of every six grills involved in home fires (84%) were fueled by gas while 13% used charcoal or other solid fuel.  Gas grills were involved in an average of 6,900 home fires per year, including 2,600 structure fires and 4,300 outdoor fires annually.

    BBQ MISTAKES TO AVOID:

    1. The BBQ should be placed well away, at least 3 feet, from your home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
    2. Clean, maintain and check your propane BBQ for leaks or breaks at the regulator or hose by spraying with a soapy water solution and check for bubbles.
    3. Never leave your grill unattended.

    For more safety tips click Grilling Safety from the National Fire Protection Association.

    Click Barbecue safety – Look before you cook! for how to check your BBQ and a safety video by energysafe Victoria. 



    GLOSSARY - Insurance Terms A-Z

    GLOSSARY OF INSURANCE TERMS - click link to lookup insurance terms and definitions from A to Z.  This glossary is provided by IRMI Risk & Insurance.

    Insurance policies contain terms (words and phrases) with meanings that are specifically defined within that policy under a section called “Definitions”. Defined terms when used within a policy are denoted within “quotation marks” or shown in italicized bold print.  Definitions may differ among various policies, insurance companies and states. You must read your own specific policy to obtain the meaning of a defined term. Other words, terms and phrases within an insurance policy that are not specifically defined will take their meaning from legal or ordinary definitions in common use and interpreted from context.  


    Actual Cash Value (ACV)

    Actual Cash Value is a term used in property and auto physical damage insurance as a method to establish value for loss settlement. It is an attempt to calculate the monetary value of the damaged property at the time of the loss without betterment.  ACV is calculated by estimating the replacement cost of the damaged property, then subtracting the depreciation. Depreciation takes into account the useful life of the item and the amount an item has lessened in value since it was purchased, its age, wear and tear, market conditions and obsolescence. The insurance company has the option to pay for the repair of the damaged property or pay the ACV, whichever costs less.

    An example of a more detailed definition of ”Actual Cash Value” found in a property insurance policy is:

    (1) When damage to property is economically repairable, actual cash value shall mean the cost of materials and labor that would be necessary to repair the damage, less reasonable deduction for wear and tear, deterioration and obsolescence.

    (2) When damage to property is not economically repairable or loss prevents repair, actual cash value shall mean the market value of property in a used condition equal to that of the lost or damaged property, if reasonably available on the used market.

    (3) Otherwise, actual cash value shall mean the market value of new, identical or nearly identical property, less reasonable deduction for wear and tear, deterioration and obsolescence.  


    ACA Health Exchange - Who Needs A Quotation?

    The new Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace isn’t just for the uninsured!  Almost everyone needs to take a serious look at their own state’s Health Exchange Marketplace.  

    Here’s who should obtain an Exchange quotation and why…

    •  Anyone without health insurance coverage now. You are now subject to the ACA individual mandate and penalties as of 2014. You will receive the same low rates as all applicants and are guaranteed acceptance regardless of any health conditions.
       
    • Anyone covered now by individual health insurance. You should look now at an Exchange plan for premium savings due to subsidy or ACA changes that effect how rates are calculated that may lower your current premium. If you are being charged a higher premium rate now because of past claims or a chronic health condition you may get a lower premium rate with an Exchange plan.  Your past claims or health conditions are not considered in an ACA Exchange plan.
        
    • You or any family member who loses access to group coverage. Group plans are also changing causing some employers to drop coverage for a spouse or cancel the group policy entirely.
       
    • Employer Education Meetings & Individual Assistance. Employers that do not provide group medical insurance are invited to schedule voluntary ACA / ObamaCare education meetings for their employees. Private, individual meetings can then be scheduled to assist you in the Exchange registration, calculation of premium tax credits and cost sharing, quotation of all Exchange health plans, and enrolling in the plan of your choice.

    GET LOCAL, NO-COST ASSISTANCE.

    Call for an appointment with an ACA Exchange Certified Health Agent at AMERICAN INSURANCE. Only an agent is authorized to explain and recommend specific Exchange health insurance plans. Two agents at AMERICAN INSURANCE are licensed with the state, certified and available to discuss and sell health care plans. 

    We can offer you the support you need to make the choice with the best value for your family. Call our office at 208-746-9646 or 800-735-6355 or request an appointment online with a CERTIFIED health insurance agent today!



    Frank "Sully" Sullivan - A Life Remembered


    Frank W. "Sully" Sullivan
    March 12, 1923 ~ August 12, 2013

    The Sullivan family deeply appreciates the tremendous outpouring of kind comments, condolences, cards, letters and flowers. For friends and family that could not attend Sully’s Celebration of Life we have provided an expanded obituary with pictures below and links to the following special memorial tributes.

    Frank "Sully" Sullivan - A Life Remembered

    Frank William “Sully” Sullivan (90) passed away peacefully on August 12, 2013, in Kennewick, WA, surrounded by his loving family. He survived active duty in two wars and as a prisoner of war to live a long and amazing life filled with personal achievement, business success and civic service. Here’s what a remarkable life of hard work, service and sacrifice looks like!

    Frank was born March 12, 1923 to John Orval and Metta Gladys (McEldowney) Sullivan on a farm near the town of Bloomfield in Davis County, Iowa. He was called “Buddy” when he grew up during the Great Depression as the 4th of 14 children (9 girls and 5 boys - 2 passed away in infancy).

    He was farmed-out through 8th grade to his grandparents, Frank L and Cora Belle (French) Sullivan on their farm, 10 miles south of Bloomfield. He walked a mile (up-hill both ways, he joked) to the one-room school house, the Brown School. He didn’t live with his parents until he moved into the town of Bloomfield to attend high school. Buddy was outgoing and athletic. He loved all sports playing varsity football, basketball and baseball in high school, was a popular boy that was voted President of his Senior Class and worked at the local drug store after school.

    Frank is one from “The Greatest Generation” who graduated from high school in 1942. World War II had just begun so he enlisted in the Army Air Corps in May 1942. He became a Radio Operator and Gunner on a B-17 Bomber crew. While in the army he picked up the nickname “Sully” which stuck with him the rest of his life.

    He met Betty Crawford in Dalhart, TX where he was a radio operator instructor in the Army Air Corps. They married on June 18, 1944 while he was stationed at Gulfport, MS just before he flew overseas to England with his B-17 Bomber crew. On his 15th mission flying bombing runs over Germany his plane was shot down and he was held as a P.O.W. until the end of the war. (Read Sully's POW story in THE RAT & THE WIND.)

    He met Betty Crawford in Dalhart, Texas, where he was a radio operator instructor in the Army Air Corps. They married on June 18, 1944, while he was stationed at Gulfport, Miss., just before he flew overseas to England with his B-17 Bomber crew. On his 15th mission flying bombing runs over Germany his plane was shot down and he was held as a P.O.W. until the end of the war.

    After returning from WWII, Sully received an invitation from Harry W. Christy and his paternal aunt, Blanche (Sullivan) Christy to join their insurance business out west in Lewiston, Idaho. He joined AMERICAN INSURANCE in January 1946 where he helped build up the insurance agency over a 50 year career, becoming the owner and President until 1996. He and Betty had two sons, Harry C. Sullivan and John B. Sullivan. They divorced in 1964. Sully later married Edith "Dee" Tobin on July 17, 1965, in Lewiston and they were active in many community organizations.

    While working as an insurance agent Sully continued to serve his country in the Idaho National Guard and was called back into service in 1951 for the Korean War with the 148th Field Artillery Unit. He served as a forward observer for the 3rd Infantry Division, 10th Field Artillery for a year in Korea and then spent the next year as the Assistant Intelligence Officer for the I Corp and briefed many officers on the front line of Korea. Sully stayed in the Idaho National Guard retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1978. During his military service he received 2 Purple Hearts, 2 Bronze Stars, 2 Presidential Citations, and 5 Air Medals. Sully was awarded the special POW medal on September 9, 1989.


    Sully and Betty divorced in 1964. He later married Edith “Dee” Tobin on July 17, 1965 in Lewiston and they were active in many community organizations together.

    Sully excelled as an insurance agent and was a natural civic leader. He served and was past president of: The Junior Chamber of Commerce (JC’s), the Chamber of Commerce, the Lewiston Boys Club, the local and Idaho State Independent Insurance Agents Assoc., the Idaho National Guard Assoc., The Community Chest (now United Way), the Lewiston Roundup Assoc, and the Lewiston Golf and Country Club. Sully was a lifetime member of: The Elks Lodge BPOE896, Masonic Lodge No. 10, Scottish Rite, York Rite, American Legion Post #13, VFW, DAV, Reserve Officers Assoc, Purple Heart Club, and the 40 & 8. Other honors include recipient of the Young Man of the Year Award in 1954 for the State of Idaho, the Key Stone Medallion of the National Boys Club, 1971 Potentate of the Calam Temple of the Shrine, and Who’s Who in the USA in 1966.


    For 20 years Sully and Dee enjoyed their summer cabin on Coeur d'Alene Lake and later their second home in McCall, ID. They were "snowbirds" living in Sun City West, AZ during 12 winters. Then in 2000 they moved and lived year-round in Kennewick, WA to be close to both sides of the family. Dee passed away on June 21, 2011.

    Where ever he lived Sully was everyone’s friend! He won you over with kindness and entertained you by telling jokes or playing you a tune on his jaw harp or harmonica. If he saw your name in the paper you could count on receiving a personal note with a clipping and a joke.

    He was preceded in death by his parents, John & Metta Sullivan, Edith (Dee) Sullivan, his wife of 46 years, and sisters Joy Swanson, Doris Whitacre, Alberta Collister and Ruth Jean Rayburn and brothers Robert, Johnny and Park Sullivan and daughter-in-law, Mary Beth Tobin.

    Sully is survived by his sons, Harry C. Sullivan of Bellevue, WA, John B. Sullivan and wife, Pamela, of Lewiston, step-daughter Darlene Mowery and husband, Barry, of Benton City, WA and step-son, Lynn Tobin, of Lewiston, ID; sisters, Kathryn Johnson and Mary Fulkerson, of Newton, IA, Nancy Gee of Ottumwa, IA, Eunice Taylor of Mesa, AZ, Judy McMaines and husband, Charles, of Mesa, AZ, and brother, Harry W Sullivan, of Murphreesboro, TN; 9 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren, step-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

    Services were held in both Kennewick, WA and Lewiston, ID.
    The Kennewick service on September 3, 2013 was held at Mueller's Tri-Cities Funeral Home.The service was officiated by Art King, Chaplain of VFW Post 5785. There was a special military display for the fallen soldier, a framed display of Sully's military medals and ribbons, and various pictures and military memorabilia. Sully's sons, Harry and John shared some stories, fun jokes and memories of their dad. Masonic Rites were conducted. About 80 friends and family attended including representation from Sully's Kiwanis Club and the Calam Shrine.

    The Lewiston services were held on Saturday, September 7th. Pastor Brad Bramlet officiated. The graveside service was at 10:30AM at the Normal Hill Cemetery to commit Sully's beautiful urn, a mosaic rendering of the American flag, to it's final resting place . The service included Masonic Rites and Military Honors with three gun volleys, taps and the folding and presentation of the American Flag to the family.

    Lunch was hosted at the Lewiston Elks Lodge at 12 pm followed by the Celebration of Life at 1 pm. Pastor Bramlet shared his own story of being mentored and encouraged by Sully when he was the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club. While he read Sully's obituary he highlighted Sully's unique and wonderful ability to have an extraordinary number of life-long friends, provide civic leadership, serve his country with honor, and build a successful insurance business. He noted Sully had a perfect mixture of a gregarious personality and a disciplined life. A video slideshow was shown with pictures of Sully throughout his life showing his family fun, military service, civic involvement, business achievements, and leisure activities. Next John Sullivan got laughs by sharing a joke his dad told him years ago that represented how Sully seemed to know everyone. Harry Sullivan shared how his dad was motivated by the many positive attributes of comradery to serve and lead in the military, civic organizations and business. Finally, funny memories about Sully from letters and stories were shared for the amusement of all.

    The Sullivan family appreciate the many memorials to honor Sully that were sent to the Shriners Hospitals For Children at 911 West 5th, PO Box 2472, Spokane, WA 99210-2472 and the Lewis Clark Valley Boys & Girls Clubs, 1021 Burrell, Lewiston, ID 83501.


    Sully's Last Letter

    Sully’s Last Letter
    Who would Sully write his last letter to? 

    If Sully were writing his last letter it would be addressed to The Lewiston Tribune.  Why? Well, you see, he always felt that The Lewiston Tribune was his “love letter” to the community.  Frank “Sully” Sullivan had a subscription to the Tribune from his first day on January 1, 1946 that he started work at AMERICAN INSURANCE to the last day of his life on August 12, 2013.

    For 67 years Sully read the Tribune every day and if he saw the name of a customer, a friend or the family member of a friend in print he would clip it out and mail it with a personal note.   Thousands of letters were sent to say congratulations, provide encouragement, or send condolences.  And, if appropriate, he would include a copy of the latest joke to share a laugh with you.  It was Sully’s gift to his friends. He was everybody’s friend and he knew that everyone appreciates recognition. Even Sully, his own name and picture appearing dozens of times over the years documenting his service in the Idaho National Guard and his leadership of many civic organizations.

    So, Sully would write his last letter to say “thank you” to The Lewiston Tribune. He would tell his good friend Butch Alford, “Your son, Nathan, is doing a great job running the paper.  Tell the kid to keep up the good work. We’re proud of him. Have you heard the one about the newspaper publisher and monkey sitting at the bar?”   

    For Sully (his son, John B Sullivan)

     


    Last Letters To Sully

    DID YOU RECEIVE A LETTER FROM SULLY?

    Enjoy reading last letters from friends and family below.

    For 67 years if Sully saw the name of a customer, a friend or a relative of a friend in the Lewiston Tribune he would clip it out and mail it with a personal note and a joke. Thousands of letters were sent to say congratulations, provide encouragement, or send condolences.  

    So, it seemed right to ask his friends to send one last letter to Sully. I asked them to tell us their story about receiving a letter from Sully or about an event they shared with him or just what they remembered most about Sully.

    Thank you to all who sent a last letter to Sully. The Sullivan family deeply appreciates receiving your letters, emails and sympathy cards. Often we learned something new or a funny story about Sully. For the enjoyment of all we have shared the letters we received below.

    LAST LETTERS TO SULLY:
    GLADYS HUFFMAN - Sully was embarrassed! 
    SHELEEN MEADOR -Oh, you pinched my butt that day!
    GAIL (KELLER) SCOTT - One of the 18th Ave kids 
    DR BILL & RONNIE MANNSCHRECK - friends since July 1954
    JUDY MCMAINS (Sister) - I remember a letter from Bud when I was 4 years old.
    NANCY GEE (Sister) - Bud's weekly letters to Iowa kept us up on things
    BUTCH ALFORD (Lewiston Tribune President) - read some "Sully lore" 
    JACKIE PETERSON (worked 40 years for Sully) - He was one of a kind!
    BARB CAMPBELL (worked for Harry Christy & Sully until 1950) - Mr Christy has always told me I'd have a job at American Insurance. 
    DARLENE (ANDERSON) KIDDER - When I worked at the Idaho Dept Store I'd get a daily hug from Sully.
    MARIE EIER - He and Doug loved jokes
    BRIGHT BO - If you met Sully you became his friend (Bright is a close friend who shared his notes from his memorial talk at the Kennewick service)
    MRS ELWOOD HIRZEL - Sully helped us at Hirzel's Music Store (Mary is over 100 years old and still a customer of American Insurance)
    RAY ROSCH - Following Sully's inspiration 
    GEN LARRY LAFRENZ (Ret) - Sully became my trusted advisor and friend 
    LEO SNIDER - Sully had a harmonica and played a couple of tunes
    BILL HAMILTON - Sully was my inspiration to go through the Shrine chairs 
    GEORGE & NANCY FOLLETT - friends for over 50 years sharing joys and sorrows
    BILL THOMAS, COL USAF, RET - You knew when you received a fat envelope... 
    JOHN SULLIVAN- Sully was quite shocked to see that John Sullivan went to work at the bank! (No this is the other, John Sullivan)
    JOHN & SHARON LYNCH FAMILY - Uncle Sully left his mark on us. 
    JIM & NANCY SATTLER - Being a competitor, Sully would put that aside.
    BILL CHETWOOD - Would that we all could leave such a legacy.
    BOYD PEDERSEN, CSM (Ret)- I have a box full of jokes.
    TIM ARMOUR-  Sully was a big piece of my Lewiston childhood. 
    ARLENE (MAYNARD) WORLEY - I first met Sully on the Lewiston Roundup Board.
    LUNETTA (WRIGHT) VAUGHN - Sully touched so many lives
    BARARA BIRD - I first met Sully when he was appointed by the Insurance Commissioner... 
    CECELIA DALE - Sully was busy, well-known & extremely well liked.
    JOE HALL - I never had the pleasure of meeting Sully but received many letters.
    JOCK PRING - Sully was a local hero and legend.  

     

     


    2013 - Philip Sullivan Promoted

    Way to go dad!

    Philip Sullivan with son, Maxim (age 1)

    Philip Sullivan, CIC has been named Personal Lines Department Manager at AMERICAN INSURANCE.  As manager, Philip directly supervises the sales and service of more than 10,000 personal lines policies – auto, home, boat, motorcycle, RVs, ATVs, and classic cars. Philip joined the Agency in 2004 and is a licensed agent for property, casualty, surety, life and health insurance. Philip served as Assistant Manager in Personal Lines the last three years. Philip has advanced his insurance knowledge through various industry schools and has earned and maintains his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation.

    Philip is the son of agency owner John Sullivan and is a 4th generation family insurance agent. He grew up in Lewiston and graduated from Lewiston High School in 1997. He then received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Idaho in 2004. Philip has served on the Boys & Girls Club’s Scholarship Committee since 2006 and co-chaired various fund raising projects to raise money for area youth.

    He and his wife LeeAnne have one son, Max, who turned one year old on July 1st


    2013 - Best of the West Winner!


    AMERICAN INSURANCE, in Lewiston and Moscow, was voted "Best of the West" for 2013 in a KLEW TV online survey of local resident's preferences. The Sullivans and staff are proud to be chosen and always strive to be worthy of your continued trust. 

    Read what our customers say about our service at Customer Service – what do our customers say?

    How are we doing for you?  Your comments make us better!  Tell us what you think at “Customer Service Feedback”.

    "Best of the West" is an annual online consumer survey conducted by KLEW-TV to identify the best businesses in the categories of entertainment, food & drink, health care, house & home, service providers, shopping, sports & recreation, and transportation. 


    Fireworks – what if something goes wrong?

    If you celebrate Independence Day with your own fireworks show, you will be personally liable if anything goes wrong. So, here is some information about how to cover your liability plus safety tips to keep your show safe for everyone concerned.
    Whether “Safe & Sane” or fired by professionals, fireworks must be handled with care. Not all fireworks are legal so check your local restrictions (read fireworks restrictions in Lewiston, ID.). Family fun can turn into tragedy in a flash. Each year over 8,000 people are injured by fireworks and more fires are reported on the 4th of July than on any other day. A study In 2005 found fireworks caused an estimated 1,800 total structure fires, 700 vehicle fires, $39 million in direct property damage, 10,800 people were treated in the ER, and 4 persons died.

    Fireworks and your personal liability

    Any incident of injury or property damage creates serious liability issues for adults and parents of children. If you have a Homeowners or Tenants (renters) insurance policy it will provide you coverage under Section II, Coverage E -Personal Liability. If you have this coverage you have protection for the personal activities of all “insureds” (you, family members, and others under age 21 living with you) that may accidently cause bodily injury or property damage to others. Coverage applies anywhere in the world, not just at your residence premises. And, there are no exclusions regarding the consumer use of fireworks (Safe & Sane or even illegal ones) but there can be a troublesome exclusion that comes into play with children over the age of 12 that may use poor judgment with fireworks.

    Expected or intended injury or property damage is excluded. Generally speaking, insurance companies excuse the actions of children age 12 and under for poor judgment but not your teenagers. So, if your teenager helps blow up the neighbor’s mailbox with M-80’s don’t expect coverage. If they should have known the fireworks would burn down the shed/house/dry field/forest - don’t expect coverage. If they….OK, you get the idea. However, any circumstance that is a genuine accident will be a covered liability loss up to the limits of your policy. You may want to consider increasing your Homeowners Personal Liability limit to $500,000. The cost is usually less than $20 per year. Are you interested in a quote to increase your liability coverage? Contact us online here or via email American@am-ins.com or call us at (208) 746-9646 today!

    Fireworks Safety Tips

    Learn and follow some common sense fireworks safety basics to protect your family from injury and you from liability claims. Even with the best planning accidents can happen but fireworks and unsupervised children/teens are accidents waiting to happen.

    • Never allow young children to handle fireworks. Sparklers burn at such high temperatures that they can burn clothing. An 8-year-old girl received second and third degree burns to her leg when a spark from a sparkler she was holding ignited her dress.
    • Keep fireworks out of reach of young children. A 7-year-old boy lost half of his left hand, including his fingers when he lit an M-80 he found hidden in a family bedroom.
    • Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision.
    • Light fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from onlookers houses and flammable materials.
    • Always have water handy (a hose or buckets of water).
    • The shooter should wear safety glasses.
    • Light one device at a time; maintain a safe distance after lighting.
    • Spectators should keep a safe distance from the shooter.
    • Never re-light a “dud” firework, wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
    • Do not allow any running or horseplay while fireworks are being used.
    • Only use fireworks as intended. Do not try to alter them or combine them. The results could be fatal.
    • Never ignite devices in a container.
    • Obey local laws.
    • Report illegal explosives to the fire or police department in your community.

    Do you have more questions or now want to get a quote to increase your liability coverage? Contact us online here or email American@am-ins.com or call us at (208) 746-9646 today!


          Wind Damage - If my fence got blown over, is it covered?

          460681_10150736470211543_793505512_o.jpgYES! The typical Homeowners policy covers a fence as an “Other Structure” under Coverage B of the policy. Special form (the most common type) and the Broad form (16 named perils) Homeowners policies include coverage for windstorm.

          The limit of insurance on "Other Structures" is usually 10% of the Coverage A - Dwelling limit. This limit is shared by all "Other Structures" at the time of a loss. Loss settlement for a wooden fence may be limited to Actual Cash Value while other type of fences (vinyl or metal) can be settled at Replacement Cost, if endorsed on the policy. Loss is subject to your property deductible.

          For answers to related questions click: Wind Damage ~ Am I Covered?


          Claims - How Smart Phones Are Smarter!


          Smart phones have features that make documenting and reporting auto accidents or any claim quicker and easier.  With millions of smart phones now in our hands they are a ready tool to help protect you and your interests after a claim.  Here are few ideas on how to use your smart phone features after an accident…

          1. Phone – call 911 to report your accident to local police and seek emergency medical response if needed.  Having cell phone access is a wonderful safety and security device. Call us day or night for claim advice and help.  We have on-call agents for after hours and weekend assistance.  
          2. Mobile websitem.Am-Ins.com .  Put us in your mobile internet favorites for quick & easy access to information and advice.
             
          3. Pictures – after a non-injury fender bender, take pictures with your phone of the scene.  Get pictures of the full scene, then closer pictures of vehicles, damage, people involved and bystanders before everything gets moved.  Pictures will help tell the correct story in a disputed claim.
          4. Video – you can ask witnesses to tell what they saw happen on video.  Have them say their name, address and phone number and then what they saw happen.  A witness to an accident or parking lot incident when no police will respond is very powerful for the adjuster to determine liability.  Even video yourself while the incident is fresh in your mind.
          5. Email – you can email the pictures and/or video to us immediately to: referenced on our mobile website.
          6. Notes – type or dictate information into your notes for future reference.

          There are lots of creative ways to use your smart phone to make claim documentation and reporting smarter.  Email us your ideas to .

           


          THE RAT & THE WIND

          B-17 Bomber Shot Down - Sully a Prisoner of War!


          Frank “Sully” Sullivan enlisted in the US Air Corps immediately after graduation from high school on June 3, 1942. He was inducted at Fort Des Moines, IA and completed his basic training at Jefferson Barracks, St Louis, MO. He completed radio school at Sioux Falls, SD. Then Morse Code school - 25 words/minute and printed out - to qualify as a radio operator on a B-17 bomber. Next was Gunnery school at Harlingen, TX to qualify as an aerial gunner (50 cal machine gun). A B-17 had a crew of 9 if fully staffed. Sully became a radio operator/gunner on a B-17. He skipped two grades and went from Private to Gunnery Sergeant.

          In the summer of 1944, to support Operation Overlord which began with D-Day on June 6, 1944, Sully was deployed to England. He first flew to Gulf Port, Miss, then to Atlanta, GA and on to Bangor, MN for the hop across the Atlantic. They hit really bad weather as they crossed the Atlantic and had to jettison everything on board (food, liquor, supplies, even their clothes) to save altitude. Sully was the communications officer on the plane and let out trailing-wire antenna of 100 ft and sent coded messages as to flight’s condition and position. They struggled to make it to Valley, Wales on the two remaining engines. Even considering his later bombing runs Sully said it was the worst flight he ever experienced in the war!

          THE RAT & THE WIND

          .....On the family farm back home in Bloomfield, Iowa his grandparents and Uncle Bob worried daily about Frank and prayed he would survive the war. As a young boy they called him “Buddy” and he was farmed out to live and work on the family farm. As boys do, he had killed a rat, skinned it with his little pocket knife and stretched the skin out on a wire hanger. For years that dried rat skin had hung on a nail in the barn.

          It was a windy day on September 5, 1944 when his Uncle Bob went to the barn and found that the rat skin had blown off the nail and fallen to the ground. As he picked it up and put it back on the nail he wondered silently if Buddy was OK.....

          It was on that day, the 5th of September 1944, on Sully’s 15th bombing mission that his B-17 reduced altitude to 20,000 ft and dropped their bombs on the marshaling yards (train hub) in Nuremburg, Germany. Their plane, Southern Comfort, was hit by German flack and fighters causing the engines to catch on fire. They tried to limp back to England but were progressively losing altitude. The plane’s four engines were on fire and acrid smoke came through the bomb doors filling up the plane. The oxygen tanks strapped to legs were exploding from the fire heat. The parachutes were burning. There was no way to make it home across the English Channel so they were forced to crash land the plane, skidding wheels-up on the belly into a brushy swamp area in Holland. With every bounce of the plane men began jumping out. Two men went out the waist door and were injured by the plane. Sully stayed with the plane to the end and then got out the waist door.

          PRISONER OF WAR

          Covered in black soot he moved away from the burning airplane but was immediately pinned down by enemy gunfire. German SS Officers captured them, took all their jewelry, rings, ID, watches and took them to an underground potato cellar. No food or water for 72 hours. The German Army (Wehrmacht) took over and put them on an old bus that burned wood for power to travel to Frankfurt, Germany for interrogation.

          The interrogators were so proud of themselves about the information they knew about you. They knew your mom & dad’s name, where you were from, and every military training school you completed. From there he was bused to Keel, Germany, then marched to Amsterdam, Holland, then down to Rotterdam, Holland, and finally back up to a monastery in Aalsmeer, Holland (tulip capital of the world).

          There, in the basement of the monastery, he remained a prisoner of war with an estimated 200 prisoners – mostly air corp. They lived on flower bulbs, blue cabbage, and ginger tea. Conditions were tough and some POWs died due to stomach problems and dysentery. They were starving and Sully at 6 foot tall went from 190 lbs down to about 140 lbs while in captivity.

          VE DAY – FINALLY FREE & GOING HOME
          On the eve of VE day, May 8, 1945, Canadian and British troops in fierce fighting liberated the 200 prisoners from the monastery. Sadly, the battle cost around 200 Allied casualties that would have been spared if the battle had been one day later.

          So, nine months after being taken prisoner, Sully was free! He was taken to Brussels, Belgium where he stayed in a hotel and had some medical treatment. He was fed eggnog to help gain some weight. Next he was transported to Namur, Belgium, then to a hospital in Reims, France and later to camp “Lucky Strike” northeast of LeHavre, France, where troops were processed and waited for a "Liberty Ship" to return to the states.



          Author’s Note: For 66 years my dad remained silent about details of his WWII POW experience. Finally at age 88 he began telling me his story and I took these notes. I then wrote this story and attempted to fact check places and dates. My dad then helped me correct and fill in my understanding of events to the best of his ability and memory. My dad passed away on August 12, 2013 at age 90. He was proud of his service to his country but knows he was lucky to survive. Others paid the ultimate sacrifice and he felt privileged to be able to live the best life he could while continuing to serve his country, his community, and his family. Oh, by the way...I still have that rat skin! John B. Sullivan

          PS: KOREAN WAR - After his service in WWII, Sully joined the Army Reserves, 148th Engineering Battalion, stationed here in Lewiston, ID. When America entered the Korean War, his unit was called up. At that time he was age 28, married to Betty, and they had one son, Harry, age 2. Sully, a 1st Lt, was assigned to the 105 mm Howitzer Battery, 3rd Infantry Division as a Forward Observer (FO).

          Click and read a letter Sully send home from Korea that details events that occurred on March 12, 1951, that can only be described as...SULLY'S WORST BIRTHDAY.

          After the Korean War, Sully ended his service with the National Guard. He continued to build a successful career at AMERICAN INSURANCE. At the urging of military friends, he re-joined the Idaho National Guard to complete his years of service. Although he was a Captain, he had to serve as a Staff Sgt and there are many stories told by other guardsman how the “old timer” was close friends with all the generals. He ended his service with the Idaho National Guard in 1978 and attained the rank of Army Lt. Colonel.


          Halloween - How it was invented by evil geniuses.

          When you think about it, Halloween has more ways to cause claims for liability and property damage than a big bag of assorted candy! I’m convinced Halloween was created by evil marketing geniuses.

          They had a meeting and here is how they planned it…

          HALLOWEEN PARTIES!

          Ok, let’s have a party where we turn out the lights, have open flame candles everywhere, invite guests who wear masks so they can’t see clearly and costumes with accessories to trip over. And, just to keep it interesting let’s feed them small candies to choke on, try to scare them senseless and give them spiked Witch’s Brew. How could anything go wrong?

          TRICK-OR-TREAT?

          Let’s invite lots of kids to the front door; put an obstacle course of tomb stones, goblins, skeletons, spiders and extension cords in their path; if they make it to the front door let’s scare them with creatures that pop out and shriek and then give them little candies to make them sick. How could anything go wrong?

          WHAT ABOUT TRICKS?

          Let’s have a night that invites “tricks” and ask less-than-mature teenagers to roam around our neighborhoods wearing masks. Then, when home owners turn their lights off around their house and go out everyone will know they aren’t at home. Since they didn’t give out candy then this will invite the kids to do “tricks” at their house – you know, things like throwing raw eggs, breaking flower pots, keying a car, stealing little stuff – get creative here and let your imagination go. How could anything go wrong?

          DODGING CARS!

          This is really good. Let’s have people drive their cars all over the neighborhoods on a really dark night with rain and fog and have them dodge little trick-or-treaters that are excited to run from house to house for candy while they wear black clothing you can’t see and then put masks on them so they can’t see where they are going. How could anything go wrong?

          Obviously, the insurance guy was not invited to the meeting (or any Halloween parties either!) This was to be expected because everyone knows insurance guys are boring people and nothing fun ever happens if you invite the insurance guy. So, the only thing the insurance guy could do was sell really good insurance in case something does go wrong.

          HOW YOU ARE PROTECTED FROM THE “TRICKS” OF HALLOWEEN:

          • Your home or car is the target of Halloween “tricks” that cause property damage. Standard homeowners and renters insurance policies provide coverage for vandalism. There will be a deductible before your policy starts to pay, but if you suffer expensive damage to your home or possessions you will be financially protected. In the event that your car is damaged by mischievous trick-or-treaters, there is coverage under the optional "Other Then Collision" (comprehensive) portion of your auto insurance policy.
          • There is a fire in your home. If a Halloween candle or electrically powered decoration causes a fire, any damage will be covered by standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. If the fire is significant enough to make your home unlivable, you would also be covered for additional living expenses, such as having to check into a hotel while your home is being repaired.
          • A trick-or-treater is injured on your property. If a trick-or-treater or Halloween party guest is accidently injured in your house or apartment, you would be covered under the liability portion of your homeowners or renters insurance policy, should the injured guest sue you. Standard policies also include no-fault medical coverage so that the injured guest could simply file their medical claim with your insurance company and avoid a lawsuit. Not everyone is familiar with this coverage, but it provides very important financial protection.
          • You crash your car into a tree to avoid hitting a trick-or-treater. Of course, we know you will drive slowly and carefully, but if a group of excited trick-or-treaters darts in front of your car causing you to swerve and hit a tree, you are covered if you have optional "Collision" coverage. If another car or person is involved in the accident, the "Liability" portion of your auto policy would respond to protect you.

          Source: Insurance Information Institute


          Halloween - what is really scary?!

          Halloween is a scary cauldron potion - mixed with one part darkness, one part costumed kids (darting across streets), one part teens (with “tricks”), one part scary decorations (to trip over), one part sweet candy (to rot your teeth), one part open flame candles and overloaded extension cords – and POOF ............

          Halloween fun can become a lawsuit and “horror show” unless you use some common sense and pre-planning.  

          REDUCE THE RISKS THAT SPOIL HALLOWEEN FUN

          Home fires and trip/fall injuries – Don’t underestimate how dangerous open flame candles can be.  Candles frequently are the cause of fires so careful placement away from combustibles and out of reach of children is a must. Never leave them unattended.  Inside and out keep Halloween decorations and extension cords away from the path of trick-or-treaters and guests.  Use approved exterior, grounded extension cords with outside decorations.  Don’t chain your extension cords together …unless you plan on re-animating  Frankenstein (or Frankenweenie if you have a dog).  Oh, and keep pets inside and away from trick-or-treaters. You are absolutely liable for any injury caused by your dog.  

          Home / Car Vandalism – Park your car in the garage when available or park as close to your home as possible in a lighted area.  Remove any items from around your house that can be a hazard or a temptation for theft or vandalism. Turn on outside lights in the back and side of your house to make it less inviting for vandalism. 

          Auto / Pedestrian accidents - It’s gloomy and dark so it is hard for both drivers and masked trick-or-treaters to see clearly.  Avoid driving if you can but if you are driving your little goblins around the neighborhoods use extreme caution. If you are going to a party that serves alcohol plan ahead for a designated driver. 

          To everyone’s credit, Halloween has become an amazingly safe celebration considering all the potential dangers.  All the ingredients are safer – from the consumer decorations and costumes, to the individually wrapped candies and parents that accompany their children, to the more informed and safety conscious society at-large.

          Have a safe and fun Halloween! 


           


          2012 Our 90th Anniversary Open House In Review

          The Sullivans and staff wish to express our sincerest “thanks and appreciation” for the outpouring of kindness, best wishes and congratulations we received while celebrating our 90th Anniversary.  We received phone calls, greeting cards, flowers – and, more than 200 customers, past employees and friends attended our OPEN HOUSE parties at our Lewiston and Moscow offices.  It was great to be able to visit face to face and share our history with you. Thank you for sharing your life with us!

          “A good time was had by all.”   We invite you to enjoy some of the pictures taken at our OPEN HOUSE parties below:











           

           

           
           


           




          Facebook - Why people say they "like" us!

          Here are 7 reasons people say they “Like” us on Facebook!


          Just one click to “Like Us” and you’ll receive timely and useful information when you need it most!

          FACEBOOK COMMENTS - Read what our customers say about us!

          • Brian Nollette - "Great Service , Staff and Rates, have them check all your polices you will be amazed."
          • Steven Branting - "There is a good reason why I have been with the company for decades --- superior service and staff."
          • Stephanie Gilbert - "Thanks so much to Tina Heitmann for helping me with my Scheduled Property coverage to insure my rings. What a huge relief!! Thank you!!!!"

          • Dawn Gwordske - "Now I have another way to stay up to date with my insurance! That is great!!!"
          • Tanys Miller - "Our agent Helen is just awesome!"
          • Christy Coy - "Good job American Insurance!"
          • Cindy Graffee - "Tina is the best insurance representative, She has handled my insurance for 20 years. Thanks for all of your help!"
          • Dawn Heath - "American Insurance does all of the insurance policies where I work. They are easy to work with, respond quickly to my questions and go that extra mile."
          • Julia Akin - "Our family has been with you for six years :)"
          • Erin Welch Hocking - "Great rates and easy to work with!"
          • Morrie Kirpes - "Thanks for sponsoring the fireworks show (it was great) and for your past service."

          "Like" us on Facebook. Just click and the "Like" button.


          Windstorm & Hail – am I covered?

          How does your own insurance respond to these weather related claims?

          HailstormInsert.jpg

          The rumble of thunder, the crack of lightening, the rush of windstorm, the clatter of hail stones - thunderstorms can bring devastation to your property and your autos in a flash. Fortunately, the insurance industry provides coverage for the perils of “windstorm & hail” and pays $billions in claims annually to individuals and businesses devastated by severe weather related damage. (see Violent Storms Kill 2, Leave Thousands Without Power in Mid-Atlantic, Midwest) and Thunderstorms & Wildfires Bring Destruction)

          Property - How Coverage Applies:
          The typical Homeowners policy (HO-3) insures the Dwelling (Coverage A) and Other Structures (Coverage B) against “risk of direct physical loss to property” and does not restrict losses for windstorm and hail damage. Even more restrictive “named peril” basic and broad policy forms like the Homeowners (HO-1 & HO-2) and Dwelling Fire forms (DF-1 & DF-2) all provide coverage for the perils of windstorm and hail. In the same way, Commercial Property (CP) policies also provide coverage for windstorm and hail losses. All property losses are subject to your selected deductible.

          NOTE: Personal Property (Coverage C) is insured under “named perils” in most forms of which #2.

          460681_10150736470211543_793505512_o.jpgWindstorm Or Hail is restricted in the following way: “This peril does not include loss to the property contained in a building caused by rain, snow, sleet, sand or dust unless the direct force of wind or hail damages the building causing an opening in a roof or wall and the rain, snow, sleet, sand or dust enters through this opening.” This restriction is necessary because Personal Property under HO, DF, and Renters forms is insured anywhere in the world not just inside your home. So Personal Property left outside and exposed to weather events is not insured for windstorm or hail damage.

          Auto Policy – How Coverage Applies:
          Personal Auto Policies (PAP) and Commercial Auto Policies (CAP) will cover windstorm and hail physical damage claims if “Other Than Collision” (Comprehensive) coverage is included on the damaged vehicle. Loss is subject to your selected deductible.

          (For related Property coverage information click WIND DAMAGE ~ Am I Covered?.)


          2012 - Best of the West winner!

          AMERICAN INSURANCE, Lewiston and Moscow, were voted “Best of the West” Insurance Agency for 2012.   

          We are very proud to be chosen by popular vote and always strive to be worthy of our customers' continued trust.  

          Our “Mission” continues to be: AMERICAN INSURANCE is Independent and strives to be the quad-cities leading insurance agency for all personal, business, farm and benefit  protection. Our licensed and experienced agents endeavor to know you and discover your unique risk needs; to provide competitive quotations and creative choices using the best policies at the lowest prices; and to enhance our relationship with personal service that is prompt, accurate and caring.”

          How are we doing for you?  Your comments make us better!  Tell us what you think at “Customer Service Feedback”.

          "Best of the West" is an annual online consumer survey conducted by KLEW-TV to identify the best businesses in the categories of entertainment, food & drink, health care, house & home, service providers, shopping, sports & recreation, and transportation. 


          2000-2009 Newsletters

          Here are some of our previous newsletters, from 2000-2009, including:

          2009 NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • The Ghost of Christmas Past
          • American Insurance named Safeco's largest Idaho agency
          • Helpers for All Seasons - Lesha Limitz and Heather Browning featured
          • Welcome Red Umbrella - Travelers Insurance added
          • Medicare open enrollment shared
          • Sully's Sillies
          • Referral Rewards

          2008 NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Good Times & Bad Times - The American Advantage
          • Welcome Magnuson!
          • The Quiz - UM/UIM
          • Medicare Annual open enrollment period
          • Email us!
          • Uninsured motorist coverage - New Idaho mandated coverage effective 1/1/09
          • Free lunch?

          2007 NEWSLETTER - 85 year anniversary edition - Read about...

          • 85 year celebration & Holiday Open House
          • Jackie Peterson's retirement
          • Insuring the unusual in the LC valley
          • Wife Stealing - Can you insure against it?
          • Welcome Levi Sullivan
          • When insurance companies compete, you win!
          • Pictures of our 6 agents from 10 years ago

          2006 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Safety and security
          • Identity theft - A new "Crime of the Century" announced and prevention tactics.
          • Guarding your personal data
          • So many ways to pay
          • Medical Plan Answers
          • You know you are living in 2006 when ....

          2005 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Moscow location added - Purchase of Remington Insurance Agency adds second office.
          • Moscow staff introduced
          • Medicare Part D explained
          • 2005 compared to 1905
          • $4 billion for frozen pipes

          2005 FALL COMMERCIAL LINES NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Patricia Johnson retires after 38 years
          • Welcome Shirley J. Loss, CIC, CPIW - New Commercial Lines Manager named

          2004 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • New people, new companies, new choices
          • Staff members'experience in industry - Welcome to Philip Sullivan, Mike Everett and Lisa Gludt
          • Politics and Medical Insurance
          • Building dedication to Frank "Sully" Sullivan
          • 2004 Hurricanes break records for payouts

          2004 SPRING OPEN HOUSE NEWSLETTER- Read about...

          • Let's Celebrate - Open house invitation for 1-5 p.m. April 15
          • Ribbon cutting - Retired Agency President Frank "Sully" Sullivan honored
          • Contractors, artisans and suppliers listed
          • New people, new companies, new choices

          2003 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • New office building and new chapter - Including agreement, Ground Breaking Ceremony, contractors and other service providers
          • Market review & forecast
          • Group Medical overview
          • Allied Insurance: Success Story
          • Helping Hand Award given
          • Annuities overview
          • Stella Award winner for the year

          2002 FALL NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men
          • Questions? We've got answers!
          • Mold! Black death for homeowners insurance.
          • What is CIC?
          • Privacy information
          • Staff contact information

          2001 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • United We Stand!
          • Staff contact information
          • World Trade Center impact on insurance consumers
          • Credit scoring - Key to affordable insurance
          • Term life insurance quotes
          • Let's work together
          • IRA information
          • Medical insurance information

          2000 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Website under construction
          • Email addresses shared
          • Website explained
          • Holiday websurfing links
          • New phone system announced
          • Agency services outlined

          And, come back soon to find even more past newsletters from our archives!

          More archived newsletters


          1990-1999 Newsletters

          Here are our archived newsletters, found from 1991 to 1999, including:

          1997 WINTER NEWSLETTER  - Read about...

          • 75th anniversary year celebration review
          • Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997
          • Medical insurance - American Insurance saves clients thousands in medical premiums
          • Summit Securities, Inc. interest rate report
          • Medical Insurance experience and companies named
          • Safeco acquires American States
          • American Insurance Agency Services named

          1997 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • July 17, 1997 - 75th anniversary "Old Fashioned American Picnic" invitation announced
          • Back to the Future - 75 years and counting
          • Harry W. Christy, Agency Pioneer
          • Frank "Sully" Sullivan profile
          • A look at the Future - John B. Sullivan, president
          • Did you know 75 years ago ....
          • We're there when you need us most! Staff pictures shared

          1996 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • 75th anniversary and Happy Holidays from the Agency
          • Medical insurance turned upside down - Radical changes coming in 1997
          • IRAs have changed - take a new look
          • All you really need is one phone number - 746-9646
          • Combine your insurance with us - personal, business and benefit coverage offered
          • Read more about Dave Root and Tim Gleason
          • Idaho Workers Compensation changes effect all businesses

          1995 WINTER NEWSLETTER  - Read about...

          • Personal holiday greetings to 200 new families and businesses added in 1995
          • Heart to Heart for parents of teens
          • Rings & Things - scheduled insurance options
          • Make more money with CDs and Annuities
          • Re-Evaluate your life -- and your life insurance coverage
          • Becky Eisele profile
          • Workers Compensation insurance reviewed - Are you properly covered in Idaho and Washington?

          1995 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Celebrate Independence Day at our aerial fireworks display (WWII - Victory + 50 years!)
          • Fire insurance pays off for local business owner
          • Community Spirit 4th of July fireworks celebration schedule
          • Cellular phones need insurance
          • Protect your business from costs of rebuilding after a catastrophe
          • Re-Evaluate your life - and consider level term life insurance coverage
          • New choices for Medical insurance
          • Promises to our clients

          1994 WINTER NEWSLETTER  - Read about...

          • Holiday greetings - 1994 significant events including the addition of Shawn Sullivan and a new computer system
          • The (Homer & Marge) Simpson Case - "The Nightmare After Christmas"
          • Losing interest in your bank?
          • Claim questionnaire responses
          • Martin Holmes profile
          • Client letter from Tom Fruechtel
          • Things to do

          1994 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • 8th year as major sponsor for Independence Day local aerial fireworks display
          • Sponsor a fireworks shell
          • Community Spirit 4th of July fireworks 1994 celebration schedule
          • Vacation insurance checklist - Review your coverage before you leave town
          • Incredible claim statements
          • The "Package" Mortgage Protection Plan
          • Client letter from Frankie Anderson
          • Pat Johnson profile
          • Shawn Sullivan profile

          1993 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Holiday greetings and a "thank you"
          • Satisfaction Survey results
          • Guaranteed health insurance - Changes for small businesses in 1994
          • Individual Capital Appreciation Plan
          • A tax hit on the elderly
          • Jackie Peterson profile
          • Client letter from Tess Rogers

           1993 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • 7th year as major sponsor for Independence Day aerial fireworks display
          • Cutting medical insurance costs
          • Community Spirit 993 4th of July fireworks celebration schedule
          • Investment yardsticks
          • We made a mistake?
          • Thank you for your letters
          • Client letter from Deanna Vickers
          • Dave Root profile

          1992 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Keeping our promises
          • 3 ways to reduce taxes now
          • Responding to personal catastrophy
          • Unclaimed rewards
          • Peterson & Johnson receive CPSR
          • Our "Every Year" New Year's Resolution
          • Sullivan named 1992 Preferred Broker

          1992 SUMMER NEWSLETTER  - Read about...

          • Community Spirit 4th of July fireworks celebration promoted
          • Communication assures value
          • What's up concerning boat insurance
          • Avoiding the double whammy
          • The right benefits at the right price
          • Dear Sullivans' American Insurance

          1991 WINTER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Sullivans' 63rd year comes to close
          • Selection, Benefits, Service
          • Who insures insurance companies?
          • Help, I need higher CD rates!
          • IRP - Tax free growth & income
          • Our "Every Year" New Year's Resolution
          • Dear Sullivans' American Insurance

          1991 SUMMER NEWSLETTER - Read about...

          • Fireworks celebration - American Insurance major sponsor since 1987
          • Promises, promises, promises
          • Dave Root recognized by Lewiston chamber

          And, come back soon to find even more past newsletters from our archives!

          More archived newsletters


          Answers to renters insurance quiz

          Find the original quiz online here!

          TRUE OR FALSE:  A renters’ insurance policy….

          1. Is not needed because the landlord’s insurance policy will pay for a renter’s personal belongings lost in a fire or theft.  FALSE A landlord’s insurance does not insure your personal property items and will not replace them after a loss.
          2. Will pay your extra expenses if you are forced to temporarily move out of your unit after a covered lossTRUE The Loss of Use coverage will pay your extra expenses like extra rent, food, and laundry expenses related to temporary housing.
          3. Will replace your Personal Property items, but only while inside your unit when stolen. FALSE Your Personal Property items are insured on or off the premises including theft from inside a vehicle, subject to a per loss deductible.   
          4. Will pay medical expenses for a guest that is accidentally injured in your unitTRUE regardless of fault or liability, the medical expenses will be paid for your guest if accidentally injured in your unit, up to the limit purchased on the policy.
          5. Provides Personal Liability protection for you or any family member living in your unit for accidents anywhere in the world. TRUE The Personal Liability protection will defend and pay a claim if you or a family member living with you is liable for an accident that causes injury or property damage to others anywhere, not just at the rented premises.
          6.  Is expensive and costs as much or more than Auto Insurance.  FALSE Most Renter’s Insurance policies and very inexpensive and cost from just $10 to $25 per month in premium.  Far less than Auto Insurance policies.

          In the US there are more than 43 million renter-occupied units yet only 41% buy renters’ insurance according to an Insurance Information Institute poll. 

           NOTE: Renters or Tenants Insurance refers to the typical HO-4 Policy Form available from all major insurance companies.   For specific coverage information and a quotation for your individual insurance needs, you are invited to Contact Us at AMERICAN INSURANCE and speak to one of our helpful agents or find out more about Renters Insurance online here. 



          Life Insurance - How much do I need?

          Everyone has different life circumstances, wants and desires but there are objective methods of deciding what amount of life insurance death benefit is best for you. Below you will find links to two life insurance "calculators" but first... 

          Remember that the goal of life insurance is to provide enough money to pay your immediate obligations and replace your "human life value" - some portion your earning potential that would be cut short by a premature death.  If you live, you hope to set aside enough money in assets, pensions and savings to retire. Then the earnings from your accumuated assets will replace your earning power so you can quit working.

          So then, if you were to die today, how much money in total assets can be created by life insurance to pay your immediate obligations with a balance sufficient to provide the income needed so your family can continue to live the life you planned? You need to know...

          1. How much will be needed at death to meet immediate obligations?
          2. How much future income is needed to sustain the household?

           To assist you in answering these questions, L.I.F.E., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing you information concerning life insurance, has provided two types of life insurance "calculators".  Click on a calculator and answer a few simple questions to get a rough sense of what your personal need for captial at death through life insurance might be.   

          Life Insurance Needs Calculator

          Human Life Value Calculator

          For answers to other basic life insurance questions click 

          LIFE INSURANCE - What are the basics?

          AMERICAN INSURANCE has licensed professional life insurance agents to help you.  We can help you secure the right coverage at the right price!  Ask us for a quick quote on individual term life insurance.  We will find you the lowest term life insurance rates.  We instantly compare rates from eight of the top life insurance companies for you.  Click here to request a LIFE QUOTE.  

           





          Life Insurance - Who Needs It?

          If someone will suffer financially when you die, chances are you need life insurance.  Life insurance provides cash to your family after your death. This cash (known as the death benefit) replaces your income and can help your famiy meet many important fiancial needs and obligations like...

          • funeral costs
          • mortgage and credit card debt
          • daily living expenses
          • college funding

          L.I.F.E., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing you information concerning life insurance, has prepared resources to help you make smart life decisions.  For an answer to this basic life insurance question please click below.  

          Who needs life insurance?

            For answers to other basic life insurance questions click 
            LIFE INSURANCE - What are the basics?

              AMERICAN INSURANCE has licensed professional life insurance agents to help you.  We can help you secure the right coverage at the right price!  Ask us for a quick quote on individual term life insurance.  We will find you the lowest term life insurance rates.  We instantly compare rates from eight of the top life insurance companies for you.  Click here to request a LIFE QUOTE.  

               


              HOMEOWNERS – What coverage is provided?

              A Homeowners insurance policy contains property, liability and other coverages packaged together to provide all the basic protection needs of the “average” home owner at low discounted rates.  However, not all Homeowners insurance policies are the same. Coverage and pricing can vary greatly from company to company and state to state. 

              NOTE:  It is important to tailor your Homeowners coverage to your own specific needs with specialized endorsements.   Your AMERICAN INSURANCE agent will work closely with you to review and explain all your coverage options and help you select your preferences.  For more information see Homeowner Insurance. If you have a coverage question please contact us.

              A Homeowners insurance policy is arranged into these main coverage categories:

              • Declarations Page:  This page “declares” the variables that are unique to your own policy.  It includes the date coverage begins and ends, the name and address of the “Insured”, the property address, the policy limits selected for each coverage, your deductible, a list of all endorsements, discounts applied and your premium amount.   A new “dec” page is provided at each policy renewal.
              • SECTION I – PROPERTY COVERAGES: This section describes what property is covered and what is not in the categories below -

              Coverage A – Dwelling
              Coverage B – Other Structures
              Coverage C – Personal Property
              Coverage D – Additional Living Expense and Loss of Rent

              • SECTION II – LIABILITY COVERAGES: How you are protected for the legal liability of bodily injury, property damage and personal injury claims.

              Coverage E – Personal Liability
              Coverage F – Medical Payments To Others

              • Endorsements:  There are many options available to enhance your coverage. Some essential ones include –

              Replacement Cost coverage on dwellings, structures and contents.
              Dwelling Replacement Cost Extra- up to 50% more limit is provided if needed after a loss.
              Water Damage from Backup of Sewer or Drain
              Identity Theft Recovery
              Enhancement Endorsements that broaden coverage, add extra coverage, and increase internal limits.

              Other Homeowners policy categories include:

              • Insuring Agreement:  Most policies say “We will provide the insurance described in this policy in return for the premium and compliance with all applicable provisions of this policy.”
              • Definitions:  words and phrases with specific meaning in the policy are defined.  When they appear in the policy they are in bold italic type.
              • Section I - Additional Coverages: A list of extra property coverage that you may need.
              • Section I – Perils Insured Against:  The HO-3 Special Form, the most common policy form, insures the Dwelling and Other Structures for  “every accidental direct physical loss except as limited or excluded in the policy”.  Personal Property is insured only for the 16 “Broad Named Perils” listed in the policy.
              • Section I – Exclusions:
                 This is a list of the main property exclusion like Earth Movement (earthquake), Water Damage (flood), War, Nuclear Hazard and others.
              • Section I – Conditions: Items like - Your Duties After Loss, Loss Settlement, Loss Payment and others.
              • Section II – Additional Coverages: A list of extra liability coverage that you may need.
              • Section II – Exclusions: This is a list of main liability exclusions like Intentional Acts, Business Pursuits, Workers Compensation, and other exclusions.
              • Section II – Conditions: Items like – Your Duties After An “Occurrence”, Co-ordination of Other Insurance, Concealment or Fraud and others.
              • Section I & II - Conditions: Provisions like – Cancellation, Nonrenewal, Subrogation and others.
              • Special Provisions: State specific requirements that modify the main policy. 

              Want more information? 


              CLUE Report - do I need one before I buy a home?

              Catching a CLUE before you buy a home!

              CLUE stands for "Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange". Before you buy a home a little detective work can reveal a lot about a property’s claim history, and could save you from unexpected surprises later.

              It's called CLUE, but it's no mystery

              Most insurance companies use the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) to see if a home has had significant losses. The five years of claim history the report offers can give you a better perspective on your biggest financial investment. The information helps you decide if you should investigate further before committing to a purchase.

              The earlier you find out about risks, the better

              When you are buying a house or rental property, it’s a good idea to request a CLUE report and an insurance quotation from AMERICAN INSURANCE before you make your initial offer. That way, if there has been previous serious damage or repair to the house you can let your home inspector know what to look for. Also, previous losses may impair your ability to purchase insurance at the lowest rates on a particular property.

              CLUE reports also help home sellers. Reviewing the report in advance before listing a house allows the seller to be completely honest and prepare the proper documentation to show the property was fully repaired and inspected.

              The internet accelerates information sharing

              Before CLUE was available, insurance companies would call the home’s previous insurers (if known), to find out if there were previous claims and if the damage was fully repaired to Code. Internet technology made this information sharing much faster, more accurate and more convenient for everyone. Now a CLUE report is readily available to insurers and consumers.

              Get your FREE "CLUE Report" with your request for a home quote.

               


              BUSINESS USE - Does my Personal Auto Policy exclude 'business' use?

              Yes, but only very specific types of business use are excluded in the Personal Auto Policy (or PAP).

              Even though your Personal Auto Policy appears to exclude all business use (except farming and ranching), the exclusion does not apply to “private passenger autos, pickups, motorhomes and vans, or trailers used with one of these vehicles”. So, using one of these types of vehicles in your own business or in the business of your employer is not excluded, except in three very specific cases.

              Your PAP excludes all coverage - liability, uninsured / underinsured motorist, medical payments and physical damage - if your vehicle is:

              • Used as a public or livery conveyance (the public pickup and delivery of people - like a taxi cab, limo or shuttle; or goods - like a public delivery or freight company).
              • Used in the business of selling, repairing, servicing, storing, or parking vehicles (like auto dealers, auto repair and lube shops, parking garages and valet services). This is meant to exclude coverage on customer’s vehicles you may drive in the course of business. It does not exclude your own vehicles that are “your covered autos”.

              NOTE – this following new exclusion appears in some, but not all, PAP policies:

              • Used for the pickup or delivery of newspapers or magazines, food (like pizza or other food) or any products for the purpose of compensation. This exclusion does not apply to delivery that is incidental to the insured’s business (defined as your trade, profession or occupation).

              So, except for these specific exclusions, using your own vehicle in the course of your employment is not excluded. Here are some examples of use that would NOT be excluded…

              1. Salesperson who drives to various customer and prospect locations to show, demonstrate, or deliver their products (a product not excluded in the policy).
              2. Building contractor who picks up supplies and delivers them to his job sites.
              3. Home health or social worker who drives to clients homes.
              4. Employee who uses their own vehicle to pick up the mail or take the deposit to the bank.

              ACCEPTABLE RISKS – VS – EXCLUSION: Even if not specifically excluded, how you use your vehicle may not be an acceptable risk to the insurance company under a PAP. The insurance company may charge additional premium for certain “business use” or refuse to insure or cancel policies when the use presents too much risk. In these cases a commercial auto policy may be the best solution to your coverage needs.


              What is our nation's oldest property insurance company?

              Twenty-four years before Benjamin Franklin helped draft and sign the Declaration of Independence, he started an insurance company!


              In 1752 Franklin, his fellow firefighters and several prominent business associates founded The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. The company formed as a mutual insurance company, one in which policyholders would come together to share the risks, modeled after the Amicable Contributionship of London. 

              The Contributionship, as it is commonly called, was a proactive insurance carrier that would only provide coverage to houses and other structures that were constructed according to strict building standards. It was the first insurance carrier to enact loss control standards. Even during the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777, The Contributionship hired a chimney sweep to maintain the chimneys of insured houses that were still occupied. 

              The Contributionship was the first successful fire insurance company in the colonies and is still in business today under the name "The Philadelphia Contributionship".  The earliest, but unsuccessful, mutual organization established in the British North American colonies was created in 1735 in Charleston, South Carolina, but was liquidated following a 1740 fire which gutted much of the city's buildings and had left the company unable to recoup the losses.

              Unlike today's property insurance policies that are usually written with an annual fixed term for a non-refundable annual premium, the policies sold by The Contributionship were "perpetual".  Perpetual insurance is a type of property policy written to have no term, or date, when the policy expires. From the effective start date, the coverage exists for perpetuity (forever, until cancelled). The insured deposits money, called a "deposit premium", with the insurer to obtain coverage for the life of the risk. The deposit was many times larger than the cost of a non-refundable, annual premium for an equivalent policy with a one-year term. The insurer must earn enough income from investing the deposits to cover losses and operating expenses for the model to be economically viable. Upon cancellation, the insured is entitled to a full refund of the initial deposit premium, usually without interest. This unique perpetual insurance type policy is still sold by The Philiadelpia Contributionship for fire and homeowner's insurance.

               

               

               


              Clothes Dryers – How can you prevent fires?

              You may be surprised to know that one of the most common household fires is caused by clothes dryers. Annually, on average, there are more than 12,000 house fires causing $88 million in property damage, 300 injuries and 15 fatalities caused by clothes dryers according to a FEMA study. The worst part is they are nearly all preventable losses with a little help from the home owner.

              Clothes dryers are a modern marvel and an indispensable convenience. We use them constantly and they work so well that we tend to ignore them until they make funny noises or quit working. But, taking your clothes dryer for granted is a BIG mistake. If clothes dryers are not properly installed or maintained, life threatening fires occur.

              What causes clothes dryer fires?
              Clothes dryers must vent hot air from the dryer to the outside of the house. During the drying process, damp lint from clothes is carried through the exhaust system.

              As lint builds up in the exhaust pipe or inside the dryer it slows down the air movement out the exhaust and overheats the dryer. The slower air movement causes even more lint to collect on the backside of dryer drum, on the dryer motor, and on the electrical connections inside the dryer. This places highly combustible lint fibers adjacent to the heat sources inside the dryer which may ultimately lead to a fire. “Failure to clean” is the leading factor contributing to clothes dryer fires in residential buildings.

              Don’t ignore these signs that your dryer vent may be obstructed:

              • Clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle
              • Drying requires longer times than normal
              • Clothes feel hotter than usual at the end of the cycle
              • Outside the dryer is unusually hot
              • Damper (or flappers) on exhaust termination doesn’t open or barely opens during drying
              • Laundry room feels warmer or more humid than normal
              • Burnt smell in laundry room

              TAKE ACTION! What can a homeowner do?

              1. At least once a year have your dryer serviced and cleaned to remove any lint collected on the motor, wires and inside the exhaust pipe. This is critical to safe operation of your dryer.
              2. Replace the white vinyl type flexible exhaust hose with flexible metal or sheet metal vent pipe. The metal is more fire resistant and can help contain a fire should one start. Metal pipe is also less likely to kink than vinyl exhaust hose.
              3. Exhaust hoses should be kept as short as possible and have a minimum of bends to facilitate adequate airflow.
              4. Locate the dryer as close to an outside wall as possible for safe venting.
              5. Do not operate your dryer when no one is home or while you are sleeping.
              6. During times of snow accumulation, your home dryer vent could be blocked by snow outdoors. Make sure to check that the vent is clear to ensure overheating the duct or the dryer, which could lead to a fire.

              Source: Clothes Dryer Fires in Residential Buildings, a FEMA Publication, Topical Fire Research Series, Vol 13, Issue 7 (August 2012)


              Liability - Are Dog Bites Insured?

              Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2016, costing in excess of $600 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $33,230 in 2016, compared with $37,214 in 2015 and $32,072 in 2014.

              Dog-Vicious.jpgDog Owner Liability

              Dog owners don’t realize that they have few legal defenses if their dog bites anyone – for any reason. Under tort law the owner of a dog has "absolute liability" for any injury without regard to fault or negligence. (Read more below under "Dog Owner Liability - continued")

              How to Protect Yourself — And Your Assets

              Homeowners and Renters insurance policies typically cover dog bite claims under the Personal Liability section of the policy, which can range from a coverage limit of $100,000 to $500,000. However, if the claim exceeds the policy limit, the dog owner is personally responsible for all damages above that amount, including legal expenses.

              The Personal Liability coverage also provides no-fault Medical Payments coverage in the event your dog bites someone. This allows for minor medical bills to be submitted directly to the dog owner's insurance company. Home owners can generally get from $1,000 to $5,000 worth of this coverage under Medical Payments.

              Most insurance companies will insure home owners with dogs. However, once a dog has bitten someone, your insurance company may charge a higher premium, exclude the dog from coverage, or non-renew your insurance policy.

              A single lawsuit — even if won by the dog owner who is being sued — can end up costing thousands of dollars in legal fees and lost wages. The greater a person’s assets, the higher the risk of a costly lawsuit. The personal liability coverage available through a standard homeowners may not be enough. Concerned home owners are urged to consider purchasing a Personal Excess Liability policy (umbrella) that protects you with an extra layer of liability limit above your Personal Liability limit.

              Personal Excess Liability coverage limits usually range from $1 million up to $10 million. Personal Excess Liability insurance is relatively inexpensive. The first $1 million of coverage costs about $150 per year; the second million about $75, and subsequent increments of $1 million cost about $50 per year. Are you interested in getting a quote for this coverage? Contact American Insurance online here or at (208) 746-9646 or to .

              Dog Owner Liability continued

              Depending on where the offense occurs there are three kinds of law that impose liability on dog owners; not all the laws apply in every state:

              1. Dog-bite statute: The dog owner is automatically liable for any injury or property damage the dog causes, even without provocation.
              2. “One-bite” rule: In some states, the owner is not held liable for the first bite the dog inflicts. Once an animal has demonstrated vicious behavior, such as biting or otherwise displaying a “vicious propensity,” the owner can be held liable. Some states have moved away from the one-bite rule and hold owners responsible for any injury, regardless of whether the animal has previously bitten someone.
              3. Negligence laws: The dog owner is liable if the injury occurred because he or she was unreasonably careless (negligent) in controlling the dog.

              In most states, dog owners are not liable for losses incurred by trespassers who are injured by a dog. However, if a dog owner is considered legally responsible for an injury to a person or property, the owner may have to reimburse the injured person for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damage.

              Do you have questions about your specific insurance policy? Contact American Insurance online here or at (208) 746-9646 or to .


              WATER DAMAGE ~ Am I Covered?

              Understanding which losses are covered and which are not will help you take the necessary precautions to avoid uninsured water losses. The damage from water can be devastating, expensive and always unexpected!

              The typical Homeowners policy (HO-3, Special Form) covers all risks of direct physical loss to your home including water damage but with significant exclusions and limitations. Generally speaking, your Homeowners policy will pay for sudden and accidental water damage from inside water sources but does not pay for losses caused by water that finds its way into your home from the outside. Where the water originated ultimately determines whether a loss may be covered or not.

              Click the following questions for explanations of the major water exclusions in a Homeowners policy.
              Water Damage ~ is flood excluded in a Homeowners policy?
              Water Damage ~ if water backs-up through my sewer or drain am I covered?
              Water Damage ~ if waters leaks through my foundation am I covered?

              Answers to other common water claims.
              Water Damage ~ if my roof leaks is the water damage covered?

              So, unless excluded or otherwise limited, water damage is a covered loss when caused after an inside water pipe leaks or breaks (like behind a wall or under a sink); or leaks from appliances (like hot water tanks, washing machines, or dishwashers). Your property deductible is deducted from the covered loss.

              LOSS SETTLEMENT: It is important to note that it is the “damage” to your home from the water loss that is covered; NOT the repair to the actual item that failed. Your Homeowners policy pays for the necessary costs to access (eg. cut open an undamaged wall to access a broken pipe and then pay to repair the wall) and repair the damage caused by the water. But, the broken pipe itself, which failed because of wear and tear, decay, defective materials or methods of construction is not part of the covered loss. The cost to repair the pipe or appliance is your responsibility.


              Water Damage ~ is flood excluded in a Homeowners policy?

              The typical Homeowners (HO-3) policy, under SECTION I – PROPERTY EXCLUSIONS, excludes “water damage” caused by:
              (1) Flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, tsunami, seiche, overflow of a body of water, storm surge or spray from any of these, whether or not driven by wind, including hurricane or similar storm.
              (2) release of water held by a dam, levee, dike or by a water or flood control device or structure.

              There are two primary reasons it is necessary to exclude “flood” from a homeowners policy:

              • Flood losses are often devastating natural disasters that cause more property losses than any individual insurance company can financially withstand.
              • Most surface water losses can be prevented with proper landscaping of a property that drains water away from structures. If these losses were covered, property owners would not go to the expense of preventative landscaping for the extreme weather events that occur in long cycles – like every ten, twenty or thirty years.

              National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
              If your property is located in a floodplain and your community participates in the NFIP, you can purchase flood insurance coverage. Your lender may require flood insurance as a condition of your loan. The NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which works closely with nearly 90 private insurance companies to offer flood insurance to property owners and renters through authorized property and casualty insurance agents.

              AMERICAN INSURANCE is authorized to offer NFIP flood insurance. Rates are set and do not differ from company to company or agent to agent. These rates depend on many factors, which include the age and type of construction of your home, along with your building's level of risk for flood loss.

              For more information and a quotation for flood insurance please contact us.

              For answers to related questions click: WATER DAMAGE ~ Am I Covered?


              Water Damage ~ if water backs-up through my sewer or drain am I covered?

              Nearly all property forms, including Homeowners policies, exclude or restrict water damage caused by the backup of sewers or drains. The provisions vary from company to company but usually read like in SECTION I – PROPERTY EXCLUSIONS, that water damage is excluded if caused by:

              Water or water-borne material which backs up through sewers or drains or which overflows or is discharged from a sump, sump pump or related equipment.

              This exclusion is talking about “overflows” of water from sewers (like out of toilet bowls) and “backups” from drains (like floor drains and sinks). The source of the water or sewage may be “off premises” from a plugged public sewer system or caused by water inside the home that is left on or stuck on which overwhelms a drain system that is plugged or restricted.

              NOTE: Coverage for sewer or drain water backup can be added by endorsement for a small additional premium. AMERICAN INSURANCE highly recommends that all Homeowner’s policies be endorsed with sewer and drain water backup coverage. These type of claims can be costly to cleanup and repair. Review your policy with your agent to determine what coverage, if any, is currently provided. Contact us.

              Why do Homeowners and other property forms exclude coverage for sewer or drain water backup?

              1. Water backup losses are extremely common but preventable with maintenance and preventative measures by the home owner. Water losses from plugged up toilets and clogged up drains can be prevented or minimized when home owners are observant and promptly repair sticking toilet bowls and clogged, slow running drains.

              2. Water systems require periodic maintenance or reinvestment by the home owner. Over time, every water drainage system becomes restricted with rust, deposits and accumulated debris. Drain fields become saturated and tree roots interfere with drainage. Without preventative maintenance, slow running drains won’t handle normal water flow or plug up completely.

              3. Off premises sewage backups can be prevented with the installation of drain backflow preventers that are installed on your drain line. Unfortunately, many older homes did not have these preventers installed.

              4. During flooding the water table rises and first causes water backup through sewers and drains. Since “flood” is an excluded coverage, the unendorsed Homeowner’s policy has this exclusion.

              For answers to related questions click: WATER DAMAGE ~ Am I Covered?


              Water Damage ~ if waters leaks through my foundation am I covered?

              Most property forms, including the typical Homeowners (HO-3) policy, under SECTION I – PROPERTY EXCLUSIONS, exclude “water damage” caused by:

              Water below the surface of the ground, including that which exerts pressure on, or seeps or leaks through a building, wall, bulkhead, sidewalk, driveway, foundation, swimming pool, hot tub or spa, including their filtration and circulation systems, or other structures.

              To keep Homeowners policy premiums low and affordable for everyone, coverage is not afforded to losses that can be prevented by sound building practices or as a result of normal wear and tear rather than sudden and accidental events. So, the main reasons it is necessary to exclude “water below the surface” from a Homeowners policy are:

              1. Current construction methods require the foundation to allow water to drain away from the home. Older homes may not have followed these methods or due to improper grading, the shifting of the soil or past severe water events, water may find a path to begin collecting underground next to the home. If the intrusion of water through foundations were covered by insurance, then a home owner would have no incentive to correct the problem. Covering these events would give rise to repeated claims after every periodic severe weather season.
              2. Over time, every foundation settles, cracks, and eventually deteriorates. This “wear & tear” may require a home owner to excavate around the foundation (and basement) to place drain tiles and patch/re-seal the foundation and basement concrete walls. Again, if this type of water loss was covered then a home owner would have no financial incentive to repair or improve their home.

              For answers to related questions click: WATER DAMAGE ~ Am I Covered?


              Water Damage ~ if my roof leaks is the water damage covered?

              The answer to this question may surprise you. Even if your roof is not damaged by an accidental external cause and just becomes old and worn out which allows rain water to leak inside causing water damage to your walls, ceilings, carpet, etc.; that damage IS a covered loss under the typical Homeowners (HO-3), Apartment and Commercial building (Special form) policy subject to your deductible.

              But, what about the “wear and tear” exclusion? You’re right, “Wear and Tear is a main exclusion in your Homeowners and other property policies and that exclusion in this example applies to the roof itself. A worn out roof will NOT be covered because it must first be damaged by “accidental direct physical loss”. If the roof is damaged by a wind storm, hurricane or tornado or some other accidental cause then the roof itself would be a covered loss.

              The reason that the resulting water damage to the rest of your home or building is a covered loss is because the “wear and tear” exclusion goes on to say, “However, we do insure for any resulting loss.” This makes sense when you consider that most other covered water losses result from something that failed because of wear and tear and leaked water causing damage – like a water pipe that rusts and leaks, or a hot water heater that wears out and leaks, or a water connection that gets old, splits and leaks. So, this is why insurance companies monitor and care about the condition of your roof.

              NOTE: Because of this exception to the “wear and tear” exclusion insurance companies may periodically inspect the roof on property they insure to make sure it has not worn out. If a roof becomes deteriorated or neglected, the insurance company may insist that the roof be replaced or they will refuse to stay on the risk and cancel the insurance policy.

              For answers to other related questions click: WATER DAMAGE ~ Am I Covered?


              What is Commercial General Liability Insurance?

              Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance is the most common form of insurance to cover the legal liability of an insured for claims arising out of their business premises, operations, products, and completed operations.

              The CGL has three basic coverage parts:

              1. Bodily Injury and Property Damage -- Claims involving injury to people or their property
              2. Personal Injury and Advertising Injury -- Offenses like false arrest, detention or imprisonment; malicious prosecution; wrongful eviction; or advertising activities that cause slander or libel, violates a right of privacy, or infringement of copyright)
              3. Medical Payme
                nts -- Accidents of bodily injury, regardless of fault, that occur on your premises or because of your operations

              COVERAGE: The insurance company agrees to pay “those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay” and they have a duty “to defend the insured against any suit seeking those damages”, even if frivolous or unfounded. Defense costs do not reduce your limit of insurance. The insuring agreement is so comprehensive in scope that nearly all of the CGL policy wording is to limit or exclude certain kinds of losses.

              LIMITS: The limit you select can usually range from $300,000 up to $1,000,000 each occurrence. To obtain a higher limit requires the purchase of an Umbrella or Excess Liability policy.

              The CGL separates the limit of insurance into coverage categories -
              typical example:

              Each Occurrence Limit (Per Occurrence)....................................$1,000,000
              General Aggregate Limit (other than products-completed ops)...$2,000,000
              Products-Competed Operations Aggregate Limit.........................$2,000,000
              Personal and Advertising Injury Limit (any one person)...............$1,000,000
              Damages to Premises Rented To You Limit (any one fire)...........$ 100,000
              Medical Expense Limit (any one person)......................................$ 5,000

              PREMIUM: The minimum policy premium is usually $500. Your liability rate is calculated based on each business class that applies to your operations. Depending on the business class the rate will be applied to: total annual payroll or number of employees (for service businesses), gross annual sales (for retail and manufacturing businesses), or premises area or units (for office and rental businesses). The insurance industry collects claim statistics and provides a basic rate for each type of business classification.

              AUDITS: Your premium is an estimate collected in advance and may be subject to annual audit at the end of the policy term. For example, higher or lower payroll than estimated would produce either additional premium or a refund for that policy year.

              HOW TO BUY COVERAGE: American Insurance provides a CGL as a stand-alone policy or as part of a business package policy. When the CGL is “packaged” the policy may include many other coverage parts like: property, business interruption, inland marine, crime, business auto coverage, etc. A package premium discount and scheduled credits help reduce your premium.

              Many businesses qualify for a special package called a Business Owners Policy (BOP). BOPs are bundled policies that contain property and general liability with other optional coverages available. BOPs are class rated with discounts that make them very attractive for small businesses.

              Need CGL coverage? 

              AMERICAN INSURANCE has liability coverage available for every kind of business need. Contact us for the advice of our professional agents and free coverage quotations.


              Liability Audits – Don’t Get Caught Unaware!

              A liability premium audit might come as an expensive surprise - because you may not have gone through an audit for several years.  Most business owners are familiar with Workers Compensation premium audits but have forgotten that Liability Insurance may also be subject to audit.  Although insurance companies have the right to conduct these audits annually, during stable or declining economic times they may not go the expense of an audit.

              As the economy recovers and business activity increases, insurance companies are more likely to exercise their right to do an annual liability premium audit.    So it is important to remind you about audits, how they work, and 5 ways to avoid surprises below.

              What policies are subject to premium audit?

              Commercial General Liability (CGL) coverage, either as a stand-alone policy or part of a Package policy, IS subject to premium audit.  A notable exception is the Business Owners Policy (BOP) form which is generally NOT subject to audit. Your policy will declare in the “Conditions” if it is subject to premium audit.  

              What is the purpose of a premium audit?

              The initial liability premium charged at the beginning of a policy term is a deposit only based on an estimate of the rating basis (usually total payroll or receipts/sales) for the current policy year. The insurance company may perform a premium audit to ensure that you only pay a premium based on your actual risk exposure.  An accurate audit at the end of the policy term will adjust your final premium up or down when reconciled against the initial premium deposit.  

              An expensive surprise to avoid!

              If it has been several years since your last liability premium audit you may discover that you inadvertently have been under-reporting your rating basis.  That means you have enjoyed lower premiums for past years but now a current audit may create a large additional liability premium (but only for your policy term just ended – not prior years).  Nobody likes to face an unplanned expense.   

              What you can do to avoid surprises.

              1. Verify that your estimated rating basis (usually total payroll or sales/receipts) is what you anticipate for the year.  If your estimate is too low an audit will create an unwelcomed bill for additional premium. If your estimate is too high then you will overpay the initial premium deposit and must wait until audit for a refund.  Contact your agent to revise your estimate and adjust your initial premium deposit at the beginning of your policy term.
              2. Keep accurate records of the information needed to verify your rating basis at audit.
              3. Monitor during the year your actual numbers in relation to what was estimated. If you are having a great year with higher payroll or gross sales than estimated it would be wise to set aside money in anticipation of the audit premium that will be due. 
              4. Subcontractors or Independent Contractors you hire in your operations need to provide you a Certificate of Liability Insurance as proof they are insured.  Keep these liability certificates on file for your audit.  If you can’t provide this proof then they are assumed to be uninsured subs and become covered under your liability policy causing you to pay an additional premium.
              5. Contact your agent for advice during the year if you have a material change in your operations. A change in operations may increase or decrease liability risk and create new liability rating classifications and rates on your policy during audit.


              Liquor Liability – is special coverage needed?

              (NOTE: Liquor Liability quotes are provided ONLY in the following states: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah and North Dakota.)

              Any person or business entity that sells or furnishes liquor to a guest has a civil and legal duty to do so responsibly. That legal duty is spelled out in various “dram shop” laws passed in 43 states and in court decisions that guide the other states. A “dram shop” is traditionally a business that serves alcoholic beverages by the "dram," which is a British unit of measure. These laws protect the public from the irresponsible sale of alcohol to underage or intoxicated people. Although the laws only apply to purchased alcohol, similar standards may be applied for tort lawsuits alleging the wrongful serving of alcohol that leads to injury.

              There are two categories of liability exposure – “liquor liability” for those in the business of selling alcohol and “social host liquor liability” for those not in the alcohol business but who host a party or event where alcohol may be served or provided for free.

              Liquor Liability is excluded from coverage under Personal Liability and Commercial General Liability policies for anyone “in the business of manufacturing, distributing, selling, serving or furnishing alcoholic beverages”. Breweries and distilleries, wineries, alcohol distributors, bars, taverns, restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores –any business that makes money selling alcoholic beverages (including beer and wine) requires special coverage for Liquor Liability. In most cases, liquor liability coverage can be added by endorsement to a Liability, Business Owners or Commercial Package policy for an additional premium. For more information and a coverage quotation please contact us. (NOTE: Liquor Liability quotes are provided ONLY in the following states: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and North Dakota.)

              Social Host Liquor Liability is NOT excluded under Personal Liability and Commercial General Liability policies. These liability policies protect you when you host parties and events where alcohol is served and not sold by you. No matter where the party is actually held, your liability insurance goes with you. However, if you rent a location you must add that location to your policy temporarily as an “insured location” for premises liability and medical payments to apply. The act of hiring a caterer to serve food and alcohol does not exclude your host liquor coverage. But, if you cater the event and the venue or caterer sells the alcohol then they assume the liquor liability exposure. You should verify that they have liquor liability insurance by requesting proof of insurance.  (NOTE: Liquor Liability quotes are provided ONLY in the following states: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and North Dakota.)

              • Personally hosted parties - Your personal liability is provided as a coverage component of your Homeowners, Condo, or Tenants (Renters) Insurance policy. Check your liability limit which can vary from $50,000 up to max of $500,000. You can increase your limit to the max for a small premium (usually under $25/yr). If liability limit is a concern you should consider a personal excess liability (umbrella) policy for $1,000,000 limit (usually about $150/yr in premium). (NOTE: Liquor Liability quotes are provided ONLY in the following states: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and North Dakota.)
              • Business or office hosted parties – You and your business entity would be insured under a Commercial General Liability policy (or as a section to your BusinessOwners or Package Policy). Coverage is not excluded for a party you host where alcohol is not sold by you. Check your liability limit which can range from $100,000 to $1,000,000 limit. For increased limits or limits over $1,000,000 please contact us(NOTE: Liquor Liability quotes are provided ONLY in the following states: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and North Dakota.)
              • Special Event Liability – if you are hosting a party and don’t have Personal or Commercial Liability coverage then you can purchase a separate policy for Special Event Liability. Premiums range from $150 for personal parties to $750 or more for business parties. Contact us for more information. (NOTE: Liquor Liability quotes are provided ONLY in the following states: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and North Dakota.)

              (NOTE: Liquor Liability quotes are provided ONLY in the following states: Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah and North Dakota.)


              Cyber Liability – should I insure this new business threat?

              A data breach at your business creates immediate and serious legal liabilities and exposes your good customers/clients to identity theft.

              Regardless of the size of your business, federal law and most states now require you to immediate notify every person effected by the breach. And, it doesn’t end there. 

              You will need to pay for computer forensic services to identify the extent of the breach, which records were compromised, discover how your records were breached and make the necessary security changes to prevent another breach. You will need to pay for legal services to defend you from individual and class action lawsuits. You will need a crisis management plan of action and help with the public relations nightmare created by the breach, and you will need to buy extra advertising to reassure your customers and rebuild your image of trust. 

               The disruption to your normal business activities along with significant extra expenses can cripple even the best business enterprise. Insuring your cyber liability risk for a small, manageable premium is smart risk management.

              HOW DO DATA BREACHES HAPPEN?

              There are a variety of activities that may give rise to data security breaches. Breaches can result from intention actions, including hacking, employee theft, theft of equipment (such as laptops and hard drives), and deception or misrepresentation to obtain unauthorized data. They can also arise from negligent conduct by the organization that suffered the security breach, including the loss of laptop computers or hard disks, loss of data tapes, unintentional exposure of data on the Internet, and improper disposal of data. Security breaches can also arise from an organization’s implementation of software, which the organization reasonably believes to be secure, but which contains vulnerabilities that render it insecure.

              HOW DO I INSURE MY CYBER LIABILITY?

              Until recently, no insurance coverage was developed to cover cyber liability. Companies that rely on Commercial General Liability (CGL) forms, the most common liability policy form, to cover this cyber exposure will find that no coverage will apply to their loss. The CGL covers “bodily injury” and “property damage” caused by occurrences but does NOT cover the economic damages from failure to protect personal information held by the insured.

              CYBER LIABILITY INSURANCE

              AMERICAN INSURANCE has access to the new Data Breach and Cyber Liability policies from a variety of insurance companies. Coverage varies widely between policies and must be tailored to the specific exposure and needs of each business. Premiums for $1,000,000 of cyber liability insurance ranges from a minimum of $500 for small business, to $1,500 for medium sizes business, and higher premiums for large business entities. If a breach occurs, your Cyber Liability policy coverage will include:

              First Party Response expense reimbursement options include:

              • Legal & Forensic Services
              • Crisis Management/Public Relations
              • Notification and Remediation Expenses
              • Good Faith Advertising Expenses
              • Business Interruption and Additional Expense
              • Cyber Extortion Expense
              • Computer Program and Electronic Date Restoration
              • Computer Fraud
              • Funds Transfer Fraud
              • Telecommunications Theft

              Third Party Defense & Liability expenses (including defense costs) include:

              • Data security breaches can take many forms and do not necessarily lead to any direct consumer injury like identity theft. However, you will likely need to defend against individual and/or class action lawsuits anyway.
              • Your policy will provide defense and pay liability judgments against you up to the limit of insurance you select.
              • In addition, you will have access to a proprietary breach preparedness web site with pre and post-breach services and resources.

              Nearly all companies and health care practices that handle or store any personally identifiable information, customer and patient or employee data are at risk for a data breach. The possibility is especially high for businesses that routinely deal with credit cards, patient medical records, Social Security numbers and other sensitive information. 

              Securing Cyber Liability Insurance for your business will give you the peace of mind of knowing you have the insurance coverage needed to help pay for certain response expenses necessary to comply with notification regulations and to help avoid potential lawsuits that might be brought against you as the result of a breach; and the confidence that services are available to help mitigate any damage to your business’ reputation and help quickly restore any loss of customer, patient or employee trust.

              For more information and a quotation for Cyber Liability Insurance, please contact your Agent online here.


              Employment Practices Liability (EPL) – why every business needs coverage.

              Employers large and small are increasingly targets of lawsuits alleging a “wrongful employment act” that violates employment rights protected by law – wrongful termination, discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile workplace, retaliation, invasion of privacy, and numerous variations of these topics.

              THE PROBLEM:

              • Employment practices liability lawsuits represent 30% of all civil litigation in the US today  (source: Bickmore Risk Services)
              • Three out of five large employers are sued by former employees every year (source:  Society of Human Resource Managers)
              • There are more than 27,000 open lawsuits against employers with less than 100 employees (source: EEOC)
              • The average cost to defend an EPL lawsuit to jury trial is $150,000. (source:  Insurance Journal) 
              • Jury verdicts are in favor of plaintiff’s 67% of the time (source: Jury Verdict Research)
              • The median jury award is $250,000 (source: Jury Verdict Research)
              • Costs for defense and judgments are uninsured because Commercial General Liability forms cover bodily injury & property damage type claims but do not cover breach of employment contracts or wrongful employment acts.

              THE SOLUTION:
              Before EPL insurance was available, employers funded the total cost of litigation and judgments themselves, taking valuable resources away from their business. The growth in claims of discrimination and then sexual misconduct spawned the beginnings of Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI).  The first policies were provided to large public companies and their board of directors. Availability expanded as the growth of EPL claims shifted to privately owned business, non-profits organizations and small business.

              Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI)
              Now EPLI coverage is readily available for nearly every business – large and small – at very affordable premium rates.

              1. EPLI for public companies and non-profit organizations is offered as an endorsement to Directors & Officers Liability policies or on a stand-alone basis.
              2. EPLI for private companies (usually with 100 or more employees) is available on a stand-alone policy basis.
              3. EPLI for small business is offered as an endorsement under most Business Owners Policy (BOP) forms at very low rates with policy limits up to $100,000.  

              AMERICAN INSURANCE specializes in EPLI and other professional liability coverage with direct access to America’s biggest insurance companies for large and small employers of every kind.  Contact us for more information. 

               


              Slip & Fall Accidents - Winter Prevention

              Here are 3 essential tips to help prevent winter slip and fall accidents.

              When you Google “slip and fall accidents” you will get a long list of law firms ready to sue you or your business.  Slip and fall injuries are big business and a driving force behind workers compensation and liability claims. Whether at a residence, rental property or business location, the property owner has a legal duty to do what a “reasonable and prudent person” would do to provide a safe environment for invitees and employees at the premises.  Winter weather is an especially important time to actively manage your premises to prevent trip and fall claims. Neglecting your responsibility has expensive consequences.

              1. Be prepared.  Rain, sleet, snow and freezing temperatures should not be a surprise during winter months. You need to have on hand snow shovels, ice melt for sidewalks, wet floor caution signs, floor mats, and any other equipment necessary to make your premises safe.  And, if needed, arrange in advance with a contractor to clear your parking lot and sidewalks – but don’t stop there.
              2. Make someone responsible for safety. 
                Either you or someone you designate must take timely action during foul weather events.  Access to your home or business needs to be made reasonably safe if you are open.  And, constant monitoring of changing conditions inside and out needs to be a priority.  When sundown comes around 4pm, temperatures drop below freezing and turn light mist to slick ice quickly.  
              3. Limit access and guide invitees to safety.  Many times you can’t keep an entire premises free of snow or ice.  It may actually be better to do nothing in non-essential areas and only clear obvious safe paths to your parking, entrances and exits of your premises.  For example, if you can’t clear an entire drive way or parking area then clear the most convenient parking spaces for the normal number of expected visitors. If an area is not cleared then it should be obvious to customers that it is not safe and they should not use that area at this time.  But, in the paths you do clear, every reasonable effort needs to be made to make them free of ice and snow.  Absorbent mats and wet / slick floor caution signs are a necessary precaution inside.  

              The sad truth is, even with your best efforts, someone may slip and fall.  You may even be sued for their injury even when it seems unreasonable or groundless.  Here is what one law firm posted to their website regarding slip and fall claims: “If the property owner was well aware of the danger that caused your injury, and if the property owner had a sufficient opportunity to fix the problem but did not, he or she could very well be liable for your accident and responsible for your medical bills and any related pain and suffering.”  However, by taking active and consistent precautions, you will have less frequent slip and fall incidents and will have compelling defenses to reduce claim costs.  

              Let’s talk

              We invite you to contact us at American Insurance to make an appointment with one of our Agents. We have resources and advice concerning safety and insuring against lawsuits.

              Find more articles about Risk Management



              What is Excess & Surplus Lines Insurance?

              Some business ventures are unusual or have too much risk for main stream “standard” insurance companies.  In order to provide insurance for these unique, dangerous and unusual types of businesses a “non-standard” market developed called Excess & Surplus (E&S) Lines.  The E&S insurance market creatively approaches risks that the standard lines are unable to consider.

              To learn more about E&S insurance click on these related questions:


              AMERICAN INSURANCE has access to hundreds of Excess & Surplus Lines insurance companies, both admitted and non-admitted, including Lloyd’s of London to find the best coverage options and lowest prices.  For an E&S insurance quotation please contact us. 

               


              Why must I have an Excess & Surplus Lines policy?

              Before an insurance risk can be placed in an Excess & Surplus (E&S) Lines policy it must be rejected for coverage by standard insurance companies. It is against Department of Insurance regulations to place a risk in an E&S “non-admitted” market if it qualifies for coverage in an “admitted” company.

              Business and personal risks may be rejected for a variety of reasons. The typical types of risks written in E&S Lines include those that:
              • Are high risk  (eg. explosive manufacturing, firearms makers, hazardous haulers)
              • Do not fit standard market underwriting  (eg. bars & taverns with dance floors, vacant properties, taxi cabs)
              • Require higher limits than offered by standard markets (eg. $10,000,000+ Liability Umbrellas, $5,000,000+ Property limits)
              • Specialty coverage (eg. special events, concerts, hole-in-one contests, and unique situations)
              • Have excessive or otherwise unacceptable loss history 

              The E&S insurance markets originated when those who needed insurance coverage were unable to secure it from the standard “admitted” companies. E&S markets have the flexibility to design insurance policies with specific insurance coverages (if needed - more restrictive or offer extra coverage) and adapt quickly to changing market conditions so consumers and commercial entities can secure the unique insurance protection they need.

              For a list of related E&S questions click:

              What are “admitted” and “non-admitted” insurance companies?

              Admitted Insurance Companies:
              An “admitted” or standard insurance company has received a license from the state Department of Insurance for the authority to write specific lines of insurance. These companies are also bound by rate and form regulations, subject to financial examination and are strictly regulated to protect policyholders from a variety of illegal and unethical practices, including fraud. Admitted companies are also required to financially contribute to the state guaranty fund, which is used to pay for losses if an insurance carrier becomes insolvent or unable to pay the losses due to their policyholders.

              Non-admitted Insurance Companies (Excess & Surplus Lines):
              In contrast, a “non-admitted” or non-standard insurance company is not directly regulated by the state Department of Insurance. An Excess & Surplus (E&S) Lines insurer is not required to be licensed by the state and is allowed to do business as a “non-admitted” company if it is approved for sale on the E&S “white list”. E&S carriers are financially stable companies that are regulated in other ways.

              Most states require that E&S insurers submit financial information, articles of incorporation, list of officers, and other general details. Also, they cannot write insurance that is typically available in the admitted market, their policyholders are not protected by the state guaranty fund, may pay higher taxes, may only write a policy if it has been rejected by admitted insurers, and only when the agent placing the business has a surplus lines license.

              Excess and Surplus Line insurers are not bound by most of the rate and form regulations imposed on standard market companies, allowing them the flexibility to change the coverage offered and the rate charged without time constraints and financial costs associated with the filing process. This is good for both the company and the policyholder.

              For a list of related E&S questions click:
              What is Excess & Surplus Lines Insurance?


              Who sells Excess & Surplus Lines insurance?

              Excess & Surplus (E&S) Lines insurance policies can only be sold through licensed resident insurance agents and/or non-resident Surplus Line Brokers. John Sullivan of AMERICAN INSURANCE holds an Idaho Surplus Lines License and is authorized to place E&S insurance policies.

              AMERICAN INSURANCE maintains marketing relationships with select General Agencies that represent dozens of E&S insurance companies having specialized insurance programs for risks that do not qualify for standard insurance coverage.

              RESTRICTIONS: E&S policies cannot be written on risks that are acceptable in the standard "admitted" insurance market. This is because E&S policies are different from "admitted" policies in several key areas: E&S policyholders are not protected by the state guaranty fund, may pay higher premiums including fees and taxes, and are available only when the agent placing the business has a surplus lines license.

              PREMIUMS, TAXES & FEES: E&S "non-admitted" policies that are accessed through Surplus Lines Brokers usually contain a broker fee from $100 to $500.  The annual premiums for E&S policies are payable in full before issue and if cancelled early have a 25% fully earned premium. In rare cases, for certain E&S policies, the premium is fully earned at issue and no refund is available for early cancellation. The state Department of Insurance also collects a Surplus Lines Tax and Stamping Fee (varies by state). 

              For a list of related E&S questions click: 
              What is Excess & Surplus Lines Insurance?


              Why is there a disclosure on my Excess & Surplus Lines policy?

              Excess & Surplus Lines insurance policies are not fully regulated by the state Department of Insurance. E&S insurers are not regularly examined for their financial condition, have non-standard reserve requirements and do not participate in the Guaranty Association for the protection of policyholders. Even though E&S insurance companies are financial sound, many states require a disclosure statement be provided with every policy.

              In Idaho and other states, every insurance policy sold and delivered as a surplus line coverage must be countersigned by the broker who procured it, and must have conspicuously stamped upon it in RED ink with at least 10 pt BOLD print - alternatively the verbiage may be in BLACK ink with at least 12 pt BOLD print, like this example below.

              For a list of related E&S questions click:  
              What is Excess & Surplus Lines Insurance?

               


              BUSINESS USE -- Does my Homeowners policy exclude business activities?

              Yes, you can lose the entire value of a detached garage or shop building to a fire or have a liability claim denied for coverage due to the business exclusions in your Homeowners policy.

              All Homeowners policy forms contain business exclusions in the property, liability, and medical payments sections. The business exclusions are necessary to restrict the scope of coverage to normal personal activities. Otherwise, the pricing of all Homeowners policies would be affected by claims paid on an endless variety of business activities.

              Depositphotos_77088341_s-2015.jpgIf you have a home-based business you need answers to the following questions.
              Click on each question to read the policy wording and explanations for the most common Homeowners insurance policy.

              38 million people need answers to these questions. That’s how many people the US Census Bureau says have home-based businesses. You need to know that if you conduct business activities, even part-time, at your home residence premises there are serious insurance coverage issues that need to be addressed. So, if you have a home-based business or your hobby becomes a part-time business venture you need to contact your agent for coverage advice.

              Policy forms vary by company and by state of issue. Please read your own policy and consult with your agent for specific answers that apply to your personal circumstances.

              Policy references for the above questions are from the unendorsed ISO HO-3 Special Form policy 01-00 edition.

              Do you need a quote for business insurance? You can request a business quote online here or call us at (208) 746-9646 today to contact an agent to help you with that quote!

              Business Use - How does my Homeowners policy define 'business'?

              Words in an insurance policy that are printed in bold type indicate that the word has a special meaning that is listed in the DEFINITIONS section of the policy. “Business” is a specifically defined term in your Homeowners insurance policy.

              DEFINITIONS, B. 3. “Business” means:

              a. A trade, profession or occupation engaged in on a full-time, part-time or occasional basis; or
              b. Any other activity engaged in for money or other compensation, except the following

              1. Volunteer activities for which no money is received other than payment for expenses incurred to perform the activity
              2. Providing home day care services for which no compensation is received, other than the mutual exchange of such services
              3. The rendering of home day care services to a relative of an “insured”.

              EXPLANATION:

              As you can see, Business is very broadly defined and even includes minor activities such as hobbies where any amount of money is expected to be earned. There are very few exceptions to the Business definition.

              This definition of Business is important to keep in mind in order to understand how the business exclusions in the property, liability, and medical payments sections of a Homeowners policy may apply to you.

              Homeowners policy references are from the unendorsed ISO HO-3 Special Form policy, 01-00 edition. The “Business” definitions may vary somewhat from company to company and state to state. Read your policy.

              For a list of related questions see:
              Does my Homeowners policy exclude business activities?



              Business Use - Does my Homeowners policy exclude buildings used in business?

              Without realizing it, you can void all coverage on a detached “Other Structure” like a garage or shop building if it is used for business, as defined in the typical Homeowners insurance policy. See item B.2. below for the exclusions on other structures.

              SECTION I – PROPERTY COVERAGES

              B. COVERAGE B – Other Structures

              1. We cover other structures on the “residence premises” set apart from the dwelling by clear space. This includes structures connected to the dwelling by only a fence, utility line, or similar connection. This coverage does not apply to land, including land on which the other structures are located.

              2. We do not cover other structures:

              a. Used in whole or in part for “business”; or
              b. Rented or held for rental to any person not a tenant of the dwelling, unless used solely as a private garage.

              EXPLANATION:

              In B.2.a. Other structures that are used in whole or in part for “business” are NOT covered.

              This means that if you start using a detached garage or shop located on your residence premises for business purposes no coverage is provided. The entire value of the building is at risk from any and all perils including total loss by fire.

              This business exclusion became necessary to restrict the scope of coverage to normal personal activities. It is not uncommon for home owners to convert their garages or shop buildings to business use to make extra money like doing auto repair, cabinet making, wood working, manufacturing and the like. The solvents, fuels, paints, sawdust, etc. caused increased loss experience far beyond normal personal use.

              If you are using your other structure for business purposes you will need to arrange separate insurance coverage to protect the value of your building.

              NOTE:
              The business use exclusion applies only to the “other structure” not the “residence premises”. So, having a business inside your home doesn’t void the property coverage on your home or attached garage.

              Homeowners policy references are from the unendorsed ISO HO-3 Special Form policy, 01-00 edition. Policy language may vary somewhat from company to company and state to state. Read your policy.

              For a list of related questions click:
              Does my Homeowners policy exclude business activities?


              Business Use - Is business property covered by my policy?

              For a home-based business you may have a variety of items like office furniture, file cabinets, computers, tools, equipment, supplies, stock and inventory. Rather than exclude personal property used in business, the typical Homeowners insurance policy limits the amount of coverage provided.

              SECTION I - PROPERTY COVERAGES
              C. COVERAGE C - Personal Property
              3. Special Limits of Liability - These special limits do not increase the Coverage C limit of liability. The special limit for each category below is the total limit for each loss for all property in that category.
              h. $2500 on property, on the “residence premises”, used mainly for “business” purposes.

              4. Property Not Covered - We do not cover:
              i. “Business” data, including such data stored in:
              1) Books of account, drawings or other paper records; or
              2) Computers and related equipment.

              EXPLANATION:
              C.3.h. limits personal property used mainly for business purposes to $2,500. This limit can be raised by endorsement for a small additional premium. Quite often many personal property items that are used in business may also be used personally (like mechanics tools and power tools). It becomes a difficult matter to adjust claims on this type of property. The phrase “used mainly for business" becomes the deciding factor. It would be wise to increase the limit on personal property used in business to remove all uncertainty of how a loss would be adjusted.

              C.4.i. removes any coverage for “Business” data. So, although your computer and file cabinets themselves can be covered items, the data and records for any business are not covered by the policy.

              Homeowners policy references are from the unendorsed ISO HO-3 Special Form policy, 01-00 edition. Policy language may vary somewhat from company to company and state to state. Read your policy.

              For a list of related questions click:
              Does my Homeowners policy exclude business activities?


              Business Use - What limitations apply to Personal Liability and Medical Payments coverage?

              With very few exceptions, a typical Homeowners insurance policy provides no coverage involving “business” under the Personal Liability and Medical Payments to Others.

              Business risks, even for part-time activities, present vastly higher risk than personal type activities. Many home-based businesses have the added risk of claims from customers who visit the residence premises. Rather than charge an additional premium on all Homeowners policies for business risks, the policy provides the following coverage limitations:

              SECTION II - LIABILITY COVERAGES
              E. COVERAGE E – Personal Liability and COVERAGE F – Medical Payments to Others
              Coverages E and F do not apply to the following:
              2. “Business”

              a. "Bodily injury” or “property damage” arising out of or in connection with a
              “business” conducted from an “insured location” or engaged in by an “insured”,
              whether or not the “business” is owned or operated by an “insured” or employs an “insured”.

              This Exclusion E.2. applies but is not limited to an act or omission, regardless of its nature or circumstance, involving a service or duty rendered, promised, owed, or implied to be provided because of the nature of the “business”

              b. This Exclusion E.2. does not apply to:

              1) The rental or holding for rental of an “insured location”

              a) On an occasional basis if used only as a residence;

              b) In part for use only as a residence, unless a single family unit is intended
              for use by the occupying family to lodge more than two roomers or boarders: or
              c) In part, as an office, school, studio or private garage; and
              2) An “insured” under the age of 21 years involved in a part-time or occasional,
              self-employed “business” with no employees.

              EXPLANATION:

              emergency-780313_1920.jpg“Business” as broadly defined in the policy, is excluded for Personal Liability and Medical Payments to Others. Because Personal Liability and Medical Payments coverage is not limited to an insured location this exclusion extends to all “Business” regardless of where it is located or how you are involved in the business, even as an employee. This exclusion attempts to be absolute for any and all business exposures with only minor exceptions.

              Exceptions: The activity of taking money as rent for part of your house or a detached other structure (like an apartment over the garage) is not excluded as a “Business” activity. The rental must be as a residence, not for any other purpose (like renting your garage as an auto repair shop). Your personal liability for rental activities is covered for up to two renters. Three or more renters makes the activity turn into a business so liability coverage would no longer apply. This narrow exception also allows you to rent space as an office, school, studio or private garage.

              An “insured”, (you, if you are under 21 - but most likely your children), may mow lawns, babysit, have a lemonade stand, and the like and still have coverage for Personal Liability and Medical Payments to Others.

              Note: You may obtain Business Liability for a variety of home-based business ventures by endorsement to your Homeowners Policy. However, many home-based businesses must purchase separate Commercial General Liability to obtain the coverage needed. Consult with your agent.

              For a list of related questions see:
              Does my Homeowners policy exclude business activities?


              Business Use - Can my home-based business be covered by my Homeowners policy?

              Yes - sometimes! A "Home Business" Endorsement provides coverage for certain types of small businesses being operated from your home. The endorsement provides the basic coverages needed by most small home businesses, and optional coverages can be selected to tailor the policy to your specific needs.

              There are many home-based businesses that are acceptable for endorsement to your Homeowners insurance policy to add business liability and business personal property coverage. Typically, home-based businesses that involve doing the work at home with limited customer visitation to your premises are acceptable. Consult with your agent concerning your specific home-based business.

              Below is a partial list of generally acceptable home-based businesses:
              • Accounting, Advertising, Tax Preparation
              • Barber & Beauty Shops*, Cosmetic Sales
              • Cake Decorating & Party/Wedding Planning
              • Classes and instruction like art, music, sewing, cooking, computer use, etc.
              • Computer consulting / Desktop publishing
              • Dog & cat grooming
              • Dressmaking & alterations
              • Florist & flower arranging*
              • Graphic designers
              • Hand crafted products like costume jewelry, clay/ceramics, fabrics – sewing/knitting, wood, glass, leather goods
              • Household product sales like Amway Laundry services
              • Musical instruments – sales, service, repair
              • Photographers Picture framing
              • Tax preparation
              • Trophy making, engraving
              • Tutoring

              * Professional Liability or Errors or Omissions Liability is available as an optional coverage.

              This is not an exhaustive list. Consult with your agent concerning your specific home-based business.

              Unacceptable home-based business risks:
              Some home-based business classes can’t be added to your Homeowners policy and require separate business insurance coverage like:

              • Architects or Engineers
              • Auto dealers
              • Beauty & Barber schools
              • Building contractors
              • Catering
              • Computer programmers
              • Day care operators
              • Exercise classes
              • Gunsmiths or Firearms dealers
              • Janitorial Services
              • Landscapers
              • Pawn shops
              • Real estate agents
              • Taxidermists
              • Travel Agents
              • Upholsterers

              Again, this is not an exhaustive list. Consult with your agent concerning you specific home-based business.

              For a list of related questions click:
              Does my Homeowners policy exclude business activities?


              WIND DAMAGE ~ Am I Covered?

              We want you to know how your Homeowners policy responds to the most common types of wind damage claims.

              460681_10150736470211543_793505512_o.jpgAlthough the Pacific Northwest escapes the threat of hurricanes, the region is no stranger to strong, damaging winds. Each fall and winter season, several low pressure systems impact the Pacific Northwest, producing strong winds up to 60 mph. The powerful winds blow off roofs, damage vehicles and fences, up-root trees, and blow outdoor items and debris everywhere.

              Click on each question below for the answers to these common and important questions. Think you know the answers? You may be surprised!

              1. The wind blew off part of my roof - will my Homeowner’s policy cover it?
              2. The wind blew down my fence – is it covered by my Homeowner’s policy?
              3. My tree blew down and damaged my neighbor’s car – am I liable for the damage?
              4. My big tree blew over and fell in my yard – will my homeowner’s policy pay to have it removed?

              NOTE: "Windstorm" is a covered peril for losses under most property forms: HO-2 (Broad form), HO-3 (Special form), HO-4 (Renters form), HO-5 (Deluxe form), HO-6 (Condo-owners form) and similar property forms containing Special and Broad Form coverage. However, the rarely used HO-1 or Basic property form does not provide coverage for wind. In gulf states and areas subject to hurricanes, wind coverage may be restricted or obtained by endorsement for additional premium.


              Wind damage - Part of my roof is gone, so will my Homeowners policy cover it?

              YES! The typical Homeowners policy and most property policies include coverage for windstorm damage to your home, other structures, and personal property subject to your deductible.

              Loss settlement on a damaged roof presents some unique problems for the insurance company. Roofing materials discolor with age and have a useful life of perhaps 20 to 30 years. It may be hard to match the color of the shingles that blew off the roof. The insurance company is obligated to repair or replace the damaged roof, which ever costs less and without regard to cosmetic concerns. But, most insurance companies will strike a reasonable compromise between cost and cosmetic concerns to satisfy their customer's desires.

              Generally, if the shingles can be matched the roof will simply be repaired. If the shingles can not be closely matched or the damaged area is large then the entire side of the roof will be replaced with as close to a cosmetic match as possible. However, only the damaged side of the roof is replaced, not the undamaged side. If the roof is near the end of its useful life, many home owners take this opportunity to replace the undamaged side of the roof at their own expense.

              If your Homeowners policy is endorsed for Replacement Cost loss settlement (and most are), the insurance company will pay the full cost to repair or replace the damaged portion of roof without deduction for depreciation.

              For answers to related questions click: Wind Damage ~ Am I Covered?


              Wind damage - My tree damaged my neighbor’s car, so am I liable?

              The answer is "NO"! This issue is among the most misunderstood by the average person. Although you may feel bad for your neighbor and even feel somehow responsible, under “Tort” or “Common” law, the finding of legal liability requires that you be found “negligent”. A windstorm is considered an “Act of God”, a legal term for natural events outside of human control for which no one can be held responsible. This well established common law is why a claim of this type is almost always denied for liability.

              460681_10150736470211543_793505512_o.jpg

              This issue becomes clearer when you take your example from windstorm to tornado. Now your tree travels across town before falling on a car. You can see, for very practical reasons, no one is held legally responsible for natural disasters. You can’t have every neighbor suing each other for the variety of property flying everywhere. So, everyone must assume the risk of loss to their own valuables caused by events of nature.

              If your neighbor didn’t buy “other than collision" (comprehensive) coverage for his damaged vehicle then he self-insured his loss. That’s not your problem. Your neighbor was gambling the value of his vehicle every day from any and all causes.

              NOTE: Your neighbor may not want to get a legal liability lesson from you. Call your agent and have them explain this to your neighbor, keeping you out of the middle, and on good terms. In the unlikely event you are sued, your Homeowners policy contains protection for “Personal Liability” under Coverage E and will defend you up to your selected limit from claims of property damage liability, even if frivolous or groundless.

              For answers to related questions click: Wind Damage ~ Am I Covered?


              Wind damage - My big tree fell in my yard, so will my policy pay to remove it?

              NO – sorry. I know this is a disappointing answer but the reason it is not covered is important to understand. First, your Homeowners policy is primarily concerned with insuring real and personal property – your home, other structures, and personal property. Any coverage afforded to “trees” is incidental to the policy.

              Under ADDITIONAL COVERAGES, 1. Debris Removal, the typical Homeowners policy will pay up to $500 for removal of tree(s) felled by the peril of "Windstorm" BUT only when the tree caused damage to a covered structure. So, in the question above, a big tree blew over but didn’t damage a structure so no coverage can be provided.

              There are other very practical reasons that coverage for trees is limited or not provided. Trees, after all, are living things with a life cycle. Disease, drought, or other cause may kill all or part of a tree. If insurance covered the cost to remove fallen trees there would be no incentive for home owners to remove dead trees from their property. They would simply wait for the next windstorm and call their insurance agent for coverage. Also, some home properties include acreage with a forest of trees. Insuring items like trees that can lead to numerous and extremely common claims would cause premiums to rise for all Homeowners policies.

              For answers to related questions click: Wind Damage ~ Am I Covered?


              RENTAL CARS ~ Should I Buy “Collision Damage Waiver”?

              Depositphotos_car_rental_28867665_s-2015.jpg

              Rental car agreements may obligate you legally to more than any Personal Auto Policy (PAP) can fully cover. Because of these coverage gaps, we generally recommend that you purchase “Collision Damage Waiver” (CDW) to avoid potential costs that are not covered by your PAP and especially for added convenience. You don’t want a rental car claim to spoil your vacation plans, create unplanned expenses, impair your available credit and cause stress. With CDW, after a collision, you just return the car, report the damage, hand off the keys and go on your merry way.

              Get answers and more detailed information to help you make your own decision by clicking on these questions about rental car coverage:

              1. What is "Collision Damage Waiver"?
              2. What coverage is provided by my Personal Auto Policy?
              3. What coverage is NOT provided by my Personal Auto Policy?
              4. Are their alternatives to CDW from the rental car company?

              NOTE: The added cost of Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) when renting a car is why many people choose not to buy this coverage and rely only on their Personal Auto Policy (PAP). They are either unaware of the potential of uninsured obligations, feel that the added risk is minimal, or find a less expensive alternative coverage program when they rent a car.


              Rental Cars ~ What is “Collision Damage Waiver” ?

              Rental car companies usually offer the option of purchasing Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) when you rent a car. The coverage and cost varies depending on the rental car company. You need to read the small print of the rental car agreement to really know what coverage is being provided by CDW.

              Depositphotos_34322599_s-2015.jpgAdvantages to purchasing CDW are:
              1. After a collision you can return the car, report the damage, hand off the keys and be on your merry way.
              2. You are not responsible for a deductible.
              3. You don’t make claim under your own auto insurance policy and avoid loss of premium discounts or increased premiums. What coverage is provided by my Personal Auto Policy?

              Dis-advantages to purchasing CDW are:

              1. Cost! CDW may cost from $7 to $15 per day in addition to your daily rental fee.
              2. You may inadvertently “void” your CDW coverage by triggering an exclusion.

                Exclusions – CDW coverage may be voided for a variety of contract violations like:

                • Allowing unauthorized persons to drive
                • Allowing under-aged drivers (anyone under age 25)
                • Allowing a driver without a valid driver’s license or a suspended license
                • Abuse of the car
                • Driving recklessly or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
                • Failure to promptly report damage
                • Operation of the car off paved roads

                NOTE: Collision Damage Waiver may pertain only to damage caused by collision or roll over. Losses by fire, vandalism, theft or storm (other than collision or comprehensive type losses) may be your responsibility or retained by the rental car company.

                For answers to other questions related to rental cars, read:


                Rental Cars ~ What coverage is provided by my Personal Auto Policy?

                Depositphotos_car_rental_28867665_s-2015.jpgYour Personal Auto Policy (PAP) extends auto liability, uninsured / underinsured motorist, and medical payments coverage (if purchased) to any “non-owned auto”, including a rental car. The vehicle you rent must be a private passenger auto, pickup or van (not a large truck or moving van). Also, you must have at least one vehicle insured under your PAP with “Collision” and “Other than Collision” for those physical damage coverages to be extended to your rental car, subject to your deductibles.

                Coverage under a PAP is only provided in the United States of America, its territories or possessions; Puerto Rico or Canada. For rental cars in Mexico, Europe and other destinations you must purchase auto liability and physical damage coverages from the rental car company or other vendor.

                NOTE: Rental car agreements may obligate you legally to more than any Personal Auto Policy can fully cover. Most people don’t realize that many rental car agreements obligate you to uninsured expenses after a loss like: loss of rents during repair, diminished re-sale value, loss settlement and other administrative costs. Read the fine print!

                For answers to other questions related to rental cars, read:


                Rental Cars ~ What coverage is NOT provided by my Personal Auto Policy?

                Depositphotos_34322599_s-2015.jpgA Rental Car Agreement may make you legally liable for all physical damage to the rental car. For practical reasons, the rental car company doesn’t care how damage occurs or who is at fault for an accident. They don’t want to get embroiled in disputes of fault or value. They just want their car back so they can keep renting it out – that’s their business! You promised to return their car back in the same condition you received it, or they hold you financially responsible. They are holding you (and your credit card) liable by contract – even if the accident isn’t your fault.

                Here are some potential issues after an accident with a rental car:

                • Loss of Rents - If the rental car is damaged, the repair time takes it out of service for rental use. The rental car agency may require reimbursement for their loss of rental income. This expense is not normally covered by the PAP.
                • Diminution In Value – After an accident, the market or re-sale value of the car may be reduced as a consequence of the accident. The rental car agency may demand cash payment for this reduction in value. This expense is not normally covered by the PAP.
                • Loss Valuation – the PAP values the repair or replacement of a damaged auto at “Actual Cash Value”. The rental car agreement may require “Full Value” including their acquisition and handling costs. After a loss a disagreement on valuation for settlement may expose you to uninsured costs.
                • Loss Settlement - the PAP requires that the insurance company be allowed to inspect and appraise the damaged property before its repair or disposal. The rental car agency may choose to affect repairs immediately at expedited costs with higher cost materials and labor charges than allowed by the insurance company leaving you with the balance.
                • Loss Payment – the rental car agency may require immediate payment for the loss and max out your credit card for all anticipated charges until your insurance company can make settlement. This may result in restrictions to your credit and ruin your vacation plans.
                • Administrative Expenses – the rental car agreement may require reimbursement for loss related expenses such as towing, storage, appraisal, claim adjustment, etc. None of these expenses are normally covered by the PAP.

                For answers to other questions related to rental cars, read:


                Rental Cars ~ Are there alternatives to Collision Damage Waiver?

                Depositphotos_34322599_s-2015.jpg

                Although your Personal Auto Policy (PAP) can extend all the basic coverages to your rental car - auto liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist, medical payments, and physical damage coverage (if at least one vehicle insured in your PAP is insured for collision) – you still may want to obtain the “walk away” convenience of Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).

                One limited exception is Safeco Insurance Co. that has negotiated a special arrangement with Enterprise Rental Cars. If you have a Safeco PAP and rent a vehicle from Enterprise they state in their rental contract:
                "Each Enterprise Entity agrees not to pursue any Safeco insured or Safeco for a claim for diminishment in value damages or administrative fees for or with respect to physical damage to an Enterprise Vehicle while such Enterprise Vehicle is rented to a Safeco insured."

                For other companies you may be looking for less expensive alternatives to the CDW offered by the rental car company. Some credit card companies offer competing programs to provide CDW and other benefits if you use their card to book and pay for your rental car. One program is offered by American Express called Premium Car Rental Protection (click link) or call 1-800-326-2078. They charge a flat $24.95 for the entire rental period regardless of the number of days (up to 42 days). There is no fee for the program.

                For answers to other questions related to “Rental Cars” click:



                What information do you need when I apply for insurance?

                When you apply for an insurance policy, the insurance company needs detailed information about you and what they are insuring in order to underwrite, rate and issue a policy. The detailed information we collect helps us place your insurance with companies that will maximize your available premium discounts while insuring any coverage needs unique to you. While personal information about you is fundamental to our ability to do this, your privacy is extremely important to us. We are therefore committed to keeping that information secure and confidential consistent with our "Privacy Policy."

                Each kind of insurance policy has a specialized application with questions appropriate for that policy. For example, for a personal auto policy, your agent will ask you:

                • Personal questions about you, like your name, address, phone numbers, birthdate, social security number, marital status, and where you work. Personal information is required to obtain your credit based Insurance Score.
                • headlamp-2940_1920.jpg Driver specific questions, like personal information about every driver, their driver's license number, which auto they drive, etc.
                • Risk assessment questions, like what is the driving record of each driver, claim history, how each auto is used and how many miles is it driven per year.
                • Vehicle specific questions, like the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number for each vehicle.
                • Coverage questions, like the limits of insurance desired for auto liability, UM, UIM, medical, physical damage (collision & other than collision),deductibles and optional coverages desired.

                Why so many questions? 

                Computers have allowed insurance companies to develop very complex rating systems with dozens of price points that are dependent on this detailed information. This abundance of information provides a broad statistical basis for more types of premium discounts for consumers.

                You, your agent, and the insurance company cooperate together to develop better insurance policies to offer more features and optional benefits than ever before.

                Contact your Agent

                Do you have any questions or concerns? Contact your agent for more information or to update your coverage.


                Insurance Scores - what are they?

                Insurance companies use many factors to price your insurance, including your driving record, your claims history, the type of home or vehicle you own, and your credit-based insurance score ("CBIS").

                What is a CBIS and why does it matter?

                First, your CBIS is not the same as your personal credit score, nor is it a measure of your credit worthiness. The CBIS is a number derived out of your credit history that measures your likelihood of having an insurance claim. Numerous studies have shown conclusively that consumers with higher CBIS scores have fewer and less severe losses. For this reason the CBIS is useful as a rating factor, but it is only one of many that are used.

                Why do you need my Social Security number to accurately rate my insurance policies?

                To accurately identify you and obtain your CBIS we need your social security number, birthdate and other personally identifiable information. This personal information is kept confidential and guarded according to law (see our Privacy Policy). It is important to note that no one at your insurance agency or at the insurance company has access to the details of your personal credit history. So, if you have questions about your credit report you must contact the credit bureaus (see Credit Report Errors below).

                Credit Rules Vary by State

                Most states have rules that govern how credit can be used in insurance. Contact your state’s Department of Insurance for the latest information on your state’s rules.

                Credit Report Errors

                credit-40671_640.png

                Because your personal credit history affects your CBIS, it is important to regularly review it and make sure that it is accurate. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) allows you to order one report for free from each of the major credit reporting agencies each year. You may obtain free of charge your credit file disclosure (commonly called a credit report) from all three credit bureaus once every twelve months at AnnualCreditReport.com . You may also purchase a "3-in-1 report" to review your scores from all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion

                 If your credit record is incomplete or has an error, ask the credit reporting bureau to make the corrections. If they can make the change they will notify you in writing or will provide you instructions on how to contact the company related to your request. 

                Need a change?

                If a material change is completed, please let us know and we can inform the insurance company providing your coverage. Contact us online or at or at (208) 746-9646 to notify us of any changes or concerns you may have.


                LIABILITY – What is a "tort" anyway?

                The main legal concept of “liability” is found in the law of Torts. A “tort” (the French word for “wrong”) is an act that involves a breach of a civil duty owed to someone else other than a breach of contract. Torts include all negligence cases as well as intentional wrongs which result in harm. Tort Law defines what is a legal injury and, therefore, whether a person may be held legally liable for an injury they have caused.

                Liability then can be defined as “the responsibility or obligation of one party to another party that is enforceable in a court of law.”

                The four most common types of torts are:

                1. Accidental Tort – A civil wrong caused by negligence that leads to accidental bodily injury or property damage.
                2. Intentional Tort – A civil wrong committed on purpose that causes harm like libel, slander, wrongful entry or eviction, false arrest or unlawful detention, and assault or battery.
                3. Strict Liability Tort – A civil wrong causing injury by a product that is defective or hazardous where strict liability is assigned to the manufacturer or seller.
                4. Absolute Liability Tort – A civil wrong caused by a dangerous instrumentality like explosives or highly flammable materials, firearms and animals where absolute liability is assigned without regard to fault or negligence.

                A person who suffers a tortious injury is entitled to receive "damages", usually monetary compensation, from the person or entity responsible — or “legally liable” — for those injuries. Tort cases include demands for damages as a result of accidents that cause bodily injury or property damage like auto accidents, slip & falls, injury from a product, or accidents arising out of business activities and the like. But, legal injuries are not limited to physical injuries. They may also include emotional, economic, or reputational injuries as well as violations of privacy, property, or constitutional rights.

                Need liability insurance? 

                AMERICAN INSURANCE has liability coverage available for every kind of personal and business need. Contact us for the advice of our professional agents and free coverage quotations.



                Liability – Am I liable?

                Questions of liability follow every incident that hurts someone or damages their property. For a variety of reasons, the general understanding of what constitutes ”legal liability” is different from the reality. For example, would you be legally liable in the following examples:

                It might surprise you to know that in each of these cases you are not presumed to be legally liable. Generally, in accidental tort cases, to be found legally liable you must have committed an act of “negligence”.

                Negligence is the failure to exercise the degree of care considered reasonable under the circumstances, resulting in an unintended injury to another party.

                There are three basic tests to determine negligence. 

                1. It must be shown that you owe a civil duty.
                2. You breached that duty.
                3. That your breach was the proximate cause (through an unbroken chain of events) leading to the injury. 

                All three need to be present for a finding of common negligence.

                In the business example above, as a business owner you owe a duty to your customers (invitees) to provide a reasonably safe shopping environment free of hazards that might cause injury. If a customer trips over an extension cord you put across an aisle, falls and is injured you would likely be held liable due to negligence. But, if a person loses their balance and falls without encountering a hazard then there was no breach in your duty and no negligence has occurred.

                So, accidents happen but not all accidents are caused by negligence. You are not liable just because someone asserts you are. Technically, you are not legally liable for damages unless declared so by a jury or judge. When lawsuits are filed and taken to a jury the litigation costs can be very high and judgments are unpredictable. That’s why the vast majority of tort cases alleging negligence are negotiated and settled before trial.

                Need liability insurance? 

                AMERICAN INSURANCE has liability coverage available for every kind of personal and business need. Contact us for the advice of our professional agents and free coverage quotations.


                Liability – What is Liability Insurance?

                Understanding liability and protecting yourself from risks that lead to tort lawsuits is essential.

                We are a litigious (lawsuit happy) society. The ability to file a “tort” lawsuit for any alleged act of negligence, even if groundless, supports an entire field of law for Personal Injury attorneys. The average person or business owner can be deeply affected both financially and emotionally when sued.

                characters-696949_1280.png Liability Insurance was created to transfer the financial risk of tort lawsuit defense and judgment over to an insurance company in exchange for a predictable and affordable premium. Before liability insurance was developed the rich and powerful could use the cost of tort lawsuits to bully opponents with less financial resources. Fortunes were won and lost at the whim of lawsuits, even when groundless. So, the purpose and function of liability insurance is to provide a financial safety net against the cost of litigation and judgments for tort claims of negligence or other wrongful acts.

                There are many kinds of liability insurance but the most common are:

                NOTE: It should be noted that with few minor exceptions, liability insurance applies only to tort lawsuits that seek compensation as damages for an injury - not criminal cases that involve prosecution for violations of law. An act of negligence like causing injury when driving a vehicle while drunk may give rise to both tort lawsuits and criminal charges. Liability insurance responds only to the tort lawsuit and will not pay for defense of criminal charges which is considered not insurable as a matter of public policy.

                Need liability insurance?

                AMERICAN INSURANCE has liability coverage available for every kind of personal and business need. Contact us for the advice of our professional agents and free coverage quotations for any liability coverage that you need.

                  

                Our locations:

                Lewiston office
                55 Southway Ave
                Lewiston, ID 83501

                Moscow office
                604 S. Washington St.
                Moscow, ID 83843

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