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
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
“Agriculture is civilization.” – E. Emmons
Today’s blog is the first in a series of written by David J Bonne, VP for Hudson Valley Agents. David had a dream of providing locally sourced insurance coverage (yep, we can do that by insuring businesses with Hudson Valley insurance companies.) for the Valley’s farmers, farmer’s markets, restaurants, breweries, distilleries, and wineries and he has turned that dream into a reality.
Farm to Table Series, Pt 1 – The Farm
When it comes to insuring your assets such as your farm, it’s really easy to make a mistake and either over insure your properties our of sheer paranoia, or under insure them in order to try to save money. Also, there is a broad spectrum of insurances to choose from, and picking the right coverages for the right amounts can be critical to keeping your farm afloat.
The first thing you should know is that one size does not fit all when it comes to insuring farms. Thinking about your liability exposure first, the more acres you have, the greater the exposure is, just on the math alone. Nosy wandering trespassers, subcontracted laborers, employees, visitors, and customers can all get hurt easily on farm property no matter how hard you try to prevent it. Sometimes even the smallest, most frivolous claims can turn into tens of thousands of dollars in defense costs. Depending on the size, type, and structure of your farming operations, some non-attached parcels may not be covered correctly, if at all. These are the things that must be discussed with your agent before accepting your policy terms.
Next, there is the issue of properly insuring farm property which can fall into several different categories and is rarely lumped into one.
- Non-attached buildings for instance. On a standard homeowners policy and maybe even on a country squire/small hobby farm policy, non-attached buildings are usually sub-limits of the home-dwelling amount. However, on a standard farm, those other buildings usually cost way more to repair or replace than those sub-limits afford. In many cases, the barn alone can cost much more than the farmhouse, and in most cases, there are quite a few outbuilding structures such as run-in sheds, barns, utility sheds, garages, etc. In all those situations the farm owner needs to be aware of the settlement option on those buildings. Are they insured for full replacement value, actual depreciated cash value, or possibly an agreed upon value, and for the correct amounts? With a standard farm policy, you can usually pick and choose which buildings to insure and set an agreed upon value. This can be a helpful tool in controlling your costs.
- Farm equipment is another aspect of farm property. On a home or hobby farm policy, the contents coverage as a sbulimit of the home may or may not suffice here, but on a standard or larger commercial farm, it most certainly will not. Properly insuring farm equipment can be tricky and requires the advice of a really good agent. In many cases, the farm equipment can swarf the building coverages. A realy good tractor can cost upwards of $250,000, not to mention irrigators, duster, plows, bailers, wagons, combines, the list goes on. Once again, having the correct settlement option and valuations on your equipment is vital. Also, are you co-insuring your equipment? Many policies offer the option and in some cases only offer this optoin to co-insure. Which means you may still be on the hook for a good portion of your loss in the event of a claim. Then there is choosing the right dedctible as well. Is your equipment scheduled or just blankedted with one lump sum of coverage, and is that the correct way to do it in your specialized case?
Now, on to your crops and/or livestock. Crops and livestock are not automatically covered under ANY policy. They have to be endoresed and specified in the policy. Once they are, how do you know exatly what they are covered for? Tornado, flooding, pestulance, pests, or wildfire? Before buying crop insurance, it is vital that the farmer submits an accurate representation of the planted aceage they have per unit. If they underreport, there may not be reimbursement for all losses they could realistically experience. Livestock also has many different options and requirements. There is mortality insurance, transit coverage, auction coverage, cattle cage, pasture, etc. An equine racehorse farm would have very different needs than a cattle farm or a crop farm. Make sure you have the correct insuracne policy in hand. Crop and livestock coverage can be partially funded by the USDA as well.
Workers Compensation is also vital to having a legally operating farm when you employ people. Contrary to what some believe, there are NO EXCEPTIONS for farm workers, they must be insured by a worker’s compensation policy in NY.
As a farmer, you have many obligations, not just to your family and employees, but to your vendors, distributors, and even your insurance company. Like any insurance policy, there are strict requirements on the part of the policyholder to safeguard their property and minimize the chance of a loss as much as possible. If you are not familiar with your obligations to your insurance carrier, then it is time for a review of your policies. If you have not discussed your insurance with anyone in quite some time, then you are overdue for a review of your current policies. Farm insurance is not something to let stagnate or keep buried in a drawer somewhere.
The next installment in our Farm To Table series will be on distilleries, vineyards, craft breweries, and meaderies.
Please contact Dave Jr for further information: 845-778-2141 or email@example.com
#farmtotable #farminsurance #eatlocal #insurelocal #farmtotableinsurance #HudsonValleyInsurance
Today we are talking about financial planning for your small business and the role that insurance should play in that plan.
If you own your own business, you already know how important it is to protect what you have worked so hard to build. Insurance is asset protection and too many owners overlook these key policies:
- Loss of business income coverage. This enables you to cover payroll and pay your bills if your business is unable to operate as usual.
- Employee benefits coverage. Coverage and benefits that help you hire and retain employees.
- Key Person Insurance. Is there one person who is so key to your business that without them the entire business would crash and burn? If you answered yes, then you need this coverage.
- Life insurance. This is a must for family-owned businesses. It can take the stress and financial strain off of grieving family members and ensures that the business can continue to function.
- Cybersecurity. Protect yourself and your clients from hackers and data breaches.
David, Philip, and Kathy are experts in ensuring that Hudson Valley small businesses have the tools they need to protect their livelyhood.
We are Hudson Valley Agents. A full-service independent insurance agency that believes in keeping things local.
#insurelocal #BOP #HudsonValley
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
What happens when you put 200 independent insurance agents into one room? They learn from one another and they teach the insurance industry a thing or two.
Everyone is back from the annual SAN Group meeting in Worcester and excited to put their new knowledge to work. Dave Jr and Philip spent their time taking classes,
Speaking to representatives of insurance companies,
They acted silly
And they found some insurance history too-
The insurance industry is always evolving to meet the ever changing needs of their insureds and the independent agents who serve them. Annual meetings like this help new agents, like Philip, get one on one time with companies and that benefits our clients and our agency. It also allows insurance companies to learn about changes they need to make from the people who know the needs of their clients.
Our partnership with the SAN Group allows us access to insurance companies that many other agencies are unable to work with. This partnership allows us to better serve our small businesses with insurance coverage that best fits their insurance needs and budgets.
Are you a small business owner in need of insurance coverage? Philip, David, and Kathy are ready, willing, and able to give you a free quote! Call (845-778-2141), click, or just stop by our Walden office today.
#independentinsuranceagency #HudsonValleyAgents #insurelocal #businessinsurance