Finding a job that you want to do for the next thirty years of your life is almost impossible, impossible, but not undoable. Kathy Livingston started working for Hudson Valley Agents in October of 1990. She is still here and is an invaluable asset to the running of our office.
Kathy handles our commercial lines, workers’ compensation insurance, commercial auto insurance, Business Owner Policies, and more. If you need insurance for your small business, there is no one better qualified to help you than Kathy.
We thought it would be fun to sit her down and interview her about life, insurance, and the holidays.
Question – Is being an insurance agent boring?
Kathy – It is never dull. So many different things to do in a day and having to keep up with all the company changes. Taking calls, quoting, making changes to policies, and making sure that all the companies are completing what is requested.
Question – What is the one thing that you wish your clients knew about your job?
Kathy – That it can sometimes become more hectic than anyone could imagine. People think of an insurance office, and they automatically assume that it is dull and slow-paced. It can be a real zoo sometimes, so please be patient with us.
Question – What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t at work?
Kathy – Just one? I love to spend time with my grandchildren, bake, and garden.
Question – What is your favorite movie?
Kathy – Sweet Home Alabama
Question – What is your favorite holiday?
Kathy – Christmas. Time for family and friends to be together, and I love the decorations and lights.
Question – If you were not in the insurance industry, what would you do?
Kathy – After 30 years, that is hard to say, but I think something in a hospital caring for people.
Kathy has a very loyal following with the many contractors who insure with Hudson Valley Agents. She knows how busy they are, that time truly is money, and that when someone needs a certificate of insurance, they need it NOW.
Your small business deserves the personal touch that an independent insurance agent offers. Kathy and the rest of the HVA staff can help protect your largest financial asset, your business.
People often ask us what makes us different from other insurance agencies, and that is a question that can be difficult to answer.
You see, every insurance agency is the same, but they are also quite different. Captive agencies like State Farm or GEICO can only offer you the insurance products that they carry. These companies have one or two different types of car insurance coverage, and they have little to no wiggle room when it comes to cost and coverage.
An independent insurance agency can provide you with insurance choices from a variety of different insurance companies. If one company is not a perfect insurance fit for you, we’ll move on to another. We have the freedom to shop around, thus ensuring that you have the policy you need at an appropriate price.
We know that insurance can be confusing; it is a legally binding contract between yourself and the insurance company. Hudson Valley Agents is the broker who acts on your behalf, the agency who ensures that the insurance company holds up their end of the bargain. We stand for truth, justice, and the American… wait, um, sorry, that’s Superman.
In our small way, we really are superheroes. Our sole purpose is to ensure that our clients can rebuild their lives and businesses after a catastrophe. Break free from those captive insurance agencies and enjoy the freedom that comes with having an independent insurance agent. #insurelocal #HudsonValleyInsurance #insurancesuperhero
In October of 1990 a father and son decided to open up a little independent insurance agency in Walden NY. Walden has a little something for everyone, as this video shows-
But, what makes this the perfect spot for us is simply this – Location. From here we can personally reach out to some of our hyper-local insurance companies. Kingstone, in Kingston NY, Mid-Hudson Co-Operative, in Montgomery. We’re also close to the NYS Thruway, and that makes reaching our other NYS based companies a breeze. The internet and telephone are easy ways to keep in touch, but that personal touch means so much when it comes to building relationships.
Keeping things local is important, local companies mean working with local risks, and that means things like wildfires in California will not increase insurance rates in the Hudson Valley. Lower rates, local risks, and local funds being put back into the local economy. It’s a win/win for our clients, our companies, and us.
Ensuring that the residents of the Hudson Valley have affordable, well-written insurance coverage for their homes, cars, and businesses is what we do, we’ve been doing it for 28 years now.
Need help with your workers’ compensation insurance? We work with companies that offer real-time tracking, and that can be a huge game changer for independent contractors! Need an insurance certificate for your next construction job, just go to our website and request one, easy as pie. We make it our business to ensure that your business runs smoothly and can get back to work ASAP should disaster strike. Call us, email us, go to our website for a free quote, or stop by and say “Hi”, we love to meet our neighbors.
Happy Friday Hudson Valley! #keepitlocal #shoplocal #insurelocal #explorelocal
Our Youtube channel has many fun and informational videos to answer many of your insurance questions.
Like this one about why some car insurance rates are higher than others –
Or this one, it’s all about UFO’s visiting Pine Bush –
Motorcycle insurance questions? We have answers!
Opening up a new distillery in the Hudson Valley? We can help with that too!
Get to know Hudson Valley Agents, find out what a local, independent insurance agency can do for you –
8 Things Independent Business Owners Should Know about Insurance
So, you’ve decided to take the leap and open your own independent small business. It can be a scary proposition if you don’t have any guidance up front.
One of the advantages of buying into a franchise business is you are generally given a roadmap, and some companies even recommend insurers and other vendors.
But as an independent, you’re on your own.
Here are at least eight types of insurance you should know about and consider for your business.
- General Liability – Every business, even home-based businesses should have general liability coverage. This provides defense and damages should you or your employee cause physical harm or property damage to a third party.
- Property Insurance – If you are a property owner, this coverage protects you in cases of fire damage, vandalism, smoke damage and theft. Your property coverage should also include loss of income and business interruption should your property be unusable to conduct business.
- Business Owner’s Policy – Commonly known in the industry as a ‘BOP,’ this policy covers general liability and offers protection for your building and business property (stock, furnishings, computers, etc.). Somewhat of a hybrid encapsulating both general liability and property coverage, BOPs offer popular endorsements (additional coverages) and are very popular with and competitively priced for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Commercial Auto – This protects your company’s vehicles that are used to transport goods, people, or equipment. This policy covers, trucks, SUVs, vans and cars from damage and collision. If your vehicle has lettering and/or your business logo on it, you MUST have commercial auto insurance to be properly covered.
- Hired and Non-Owned – If you don’t have company vehicles and you and/or your employees drive personal autos to conduct company business, you need hired and non-owned. This protects the company if the vehicle causes physical harm or property damage and is an endorsement generally offered on a BOP.
- Professional Liability/Errors and Omissions – This coverage protects those who provide professional services to clients. This includes insurance agents, lawyers, strategic and financial consultants, and even hair salons, among many others. This type of coverage is not covered by your general liability.
- Workers Compensation and Disability – In New York state, if you have at least one employee or a contract employee working via a 1099 form, you are required to carry both coverages. Workers compensation provides continued pay (usually at 50%) and medical benefits to an employee who is injured on the job. Disability insurance offers temporary cash benefits to an eligible employee who is disabled or taken ill outside of work or becomes disabled through pregnancy.
- Cybersecurity/Data Breach – Increasingly, businesses need this coverage to help them, and their clients recover if their private personal data is stolen. Businesses who take credit cards, store customer data electronically, or who keep detailed private personal information on file are especially at risk. This insurance helps pay for credit monitoring services for potentially exposed customers, legal fees, and professional service fees needed to recover. It also provides resources and systems to help the insured protect themselves from attack in the first place.
For more information on what kind of insurance is right for your business, contact your independent insurance agent.
Hudson Valley Agents #insurelocal
Exciting stuff, right?
Maybe not, but it IS essential that you periodically review your personal and/or business insurance coverage. Preferably before renewal or whenever a major life or business change occurs.
Before I became an insurance agent, I took my own insurance for granted. It was simply a ‘box to check’ on life’s long list of must-dos. But it literally pays off to pay attention.
For example, as a Hudson Valley business owner, your annual payroll and gross sales help determine your premium. If you’ve grown 100% and added 15 employees and your policy is still based on the figures you gave your agent three years ago as a start-up – you could incur a stiff workers compensation penalty or premium bump.
Or say you’ve added some new and very expensive manufacturing equipment. Make sure to increase your coverage so you don’t have to pay that hefty price tag twice when the business unexpectedly floods and your new equipment is destroyed.
And don’t even get me started on cyber liability. Small businesses are increasingly targeted for data breach thefts because they are more likely to process credit cards without the data protection in place of larger businesses. If you take credit cards or store customer information, you need cyber liability.
On the personal insurance front, if you are a homeowner and you’ve built a tiny house for your mother-in-law to live in on your property, but you’re only covered for your original one-car garage for ‘other structures’ – you’ll be sadly disappointed when a huge old tree falls on the tiny house (hopefully while she’s away) and you find you’re not fully covered.
There are also set limits of coverage for your special household items, including silver, artwork, jewelry, and more. If your policy only covers $2,000 for jewelry and you inherit your eccentric (yet lovable) great-aunt’s collection of vintage Tiffany brooches, you’ll need to add a jewelry endorsement to cover the full value.
Circumstances and changes that may not occur to you can greatly impact your coverage and, in some cases, can end up saving you money. Defensive driving courses, reaching a certain age, and even getting a degree can end up lowering your premium, depending on your carrier.
It only takes about 15 minutes to review your coverage(s) with your independent insurance agent (like us, Hudson Valley Agents). We’re here to help you make sure you’ve got the best and most appropriate coverage at the best rate.
It’s your insurance – make sure it’s working for you and not against you.
#insurelocal #HudsonValleyInsurance #HudsonValleyAgents
Do you need patent insurance?
For people who design or invent new things, patenting your idea is a form of insurance. Once you’ve patented your ‘intellectual property’ (IP), you now have a set of standardized legal protections in place should anyone try to steal or copy it.
But what most folks don’t know is that defending yourself against a claim of patent infringement – or taking legal action against someone who has infringed upon or stolen your IP – can be very, very expensive.
In the years since the patenting system was first created, the types and number of patents registered each year have exploded. In 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office estimated that there were more than nine million unexpired patents. That’s a LOT of IP to keep track of.
A relatively recent development in the patenting world is the ‘patent troll’. A patent troll is a person or company who acquires patents and attempts to enforce their patent rights through aggressive legal tactics including frivolous litigation and harassment. Patent trolls can cost companies and individuals untold amounts in legal fees.
Accordingly, there are two basic types of patent infringement insurance:
- Patent infringement liability insurance helps protect manufacturers, users, and sellers of IP who are accused of infringing a patent holder’s rights (like by a patent troll). Defense coverage is provided and might include additional profits and royalties to be turned over to the patent holder.
- Patent enforcement litigation Insurance covers the owner of a patent against infringement by another person. It includes the cost of legal defense to enforce the patent. The policy includes a co-payment provision, usually 25%. Excluded are the liability for compensatory or consequential damages, fines, punitive damages, exemplary damages, and multiple damages.
So, if you have a patent, you should at least have patent enforcement insurance. And if you don’t have patents on your product line, you should carry patent infringement insurance,
The cost of patent insurance varies greatly – from a few hundred dollars a year to many thousands – depending on the amounts and types of coverage, among other variables having to do with the IP itself.
For further information, contact David or Philip at Hudson Valley Agents 845-778-2141
#insurelocal #patentinsurance #protectyourintellectualproperty
Lower Your Small Business Stress for a Happier Holiday Season
The holiday season is once again upon us and if you are a small business owner, you’re likely nervously hoping for a safe and successful season of robust sales.
- Review your current business owner’s insurance to make sure the coverage for your business contents and your liability are up to date and will cover you if you have a loss. Some people just ‘let it ride’ as their businesses grow and when a loss happens, they might find they aren’t insured for an appropriate amount.
- The same for your building if you own the property. Make sure your coverage reflects your real replacement costs. And check with your tenants to ensure that they are also carrying adequate liability insurance.
- Make sure your signs and plate glass windows are covered. Many business owners don’t know to insure them specifically because they might not be covered by a general business policy.
One of our clients had a bar and nightclub open next to her luxury retail store where she had more than 40 linear feet of plate glass as part of her storefront. She confessed to lying awake some nights wondering if that was the night she’d receive ‘the call’.
- Consider adding a central station burglar and fire alarm system that will notify the fire, police, or monitoring agency. Maintain fire extinguishers annually and consider installing an automatic sprinkler system. Not only will these help protect your business, you’ll receive credits that will lower your insurance premium significantly.
It may seem like a lot of work, but if you work with your independent insurance agent, he or she can help you navigate through it and find you the best coverage at the best price.
In closing, we’d like to wish everyone a joyful, safe, and successful holiday season from all of us at Hudson Valley Agents.
And relax. We’ve got you covered.
(P.S. If not, give us a call! We’re really good at this.)
#shoplocal #smallbizsaturday #insurelocal
Identity theft and computer-based scams are on the rise. And thanks to the Internet, more of our private data has become much easier for criminals to find.
The 2017 Insurance Fraud Study found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. Consumers in 2016. Over the past six years, identity thieves have stolen over $107 billion.
You cannot always catch these criminals in the act, but you can help reduce the financial impact if you should ever become a fraud victim yourself.
Did you know that insurance carriers offer Identity Theft protection as an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy? Some even include it in their base package premium.
Coverage limits can range from $10,000 to $1 million to help you recover faster and easier. You can also purchase Identity Theft insurance as a stand-alone policy.
As an actual victim of identity theft, I spent more than $10,000 (in 1998 dollars) on lawyers, documentation, fees, and postage – not to mention lost billable work hours.
Business owners can also protect their business and themselves from fraudulent and other criminal activity through their business and commercial liability coverages.
The Employee Dishonesty endorsement provides coverage for employee theft of money, securities, or property. Other Commercial Crime coverages are available for fraudulent acts including (but not limited to):
- Forgery or alteration of checks, drafts, promissory notes, or other monetary instruments.
- Theft of money and securities on and off premises
- Robbery or safe burglary for loss or damage to property other than money or securities.
- Computer and funds transfer fraud (Cyber Crime)
- Money orders and counterfeit money received as payment
These commercial coverage endorsements are fairly inexpensive to add to your policy, but they can be a life and/or business saver when needed.
Talk to your insurance agent today and make sure you have the tools you need to protect what matters most to you!
#insurancefraud #cyberliabilityinsurance #insurelocal #HudsonValleyAgents
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word insurance as, “A thing providing protection against a possible eventuality.” and Merriam – Webster defines insurance as, “A means of guaranteeing protection or safety.”. Insurance is our business so we have always defined it by the protection it provides our clients as well as ourselves but not everyone sees insurance the same way. Today’s blog post is about increasing awareness of what insurance does for you. We’ll do our best not to speak in the same tired cliches our industry is known for and offer you a fresh perspective on what many think of as a boring industry.
When we asked our staff what aspects of insurance they most wished our clients were aware of they told us this:
Dave Jr, owner of Hudson Valley Agents, would like our clients to be aware of the fact that insurance “Is highly regulated by the state of NY, that is why it is less expensive in many other states”. That explains the enormous difference in the cost of auto insurance from state to state. For questions on this topic, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy would like her commercial clients to know that properly cancelling your policy, rather than allowing it to lapse due to non-payment, will make it easier for you to re-insure with that company again and it can save you money in the long run. For questions about insurance for your business, please email Kathy at email@example.com
Ashley handles our personal lines. She would like her personal auto insurance clients to know that rental car coverage does not mean that you can rent a car while you are on vacation and your insurance will pay for it. Rental car coverage means that your insurance company will pay for a rental car if your own car has been damaged in an accident. For questions about personal home or auto insurance, please contact Ashley at firstname.lastname@example.org
Philip wishes more business owners were aware of the differences between personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance, and Hired/Non-owned coverage. If you or your employees routinely travel to deliver goods or services there are policies that protect them and your business should there be an auto accident while en route to a delivery. Ensuring that you have the proper coverage will save you a headache later on and the coverage is affordable too. For further information on this, please contact Philip at email@example.com.
Insurance impacts our lives in so many ways, it is important to understand what your policies cover and what they do not. We are always happy to share our knowledge, so if you have questions about your insurance, please do not hesitate to contact us, we are always happy to be of service!
#insurelocal #HudsonValleyAgents #NationalInsuranceAwarenessDay