We are so proud to announce that Ives Insurance has been nominated as a finalist for Mid-size Company of the Year at the 27th annual Business Excellence Awards. We are honoured to receive this nomination and look forward to the results in April.
Happy New Year to all! We have some exciting news to announce! Ives Insurance Brokers has been awarded one of the top brokerages in Canada by Insurance Business for 2017. We are so proud and honoured to have accomplished this yet again, and could not have done it without the great team of staff we have here. Go Team Ives!
Ives Helping Hands outdid themselves yet again! Look at all the toys, clothing, toiletries etc. we were able to purchase with the generous donations of all our employees and our owners Jeff and Jane Ives. These items will be donated to our local Salvation Army for families in need during the holiday season. Thank you to Krista and Lorie for being our elves this year!
We would also like to give the biggest shout out of all to Beth Cobby of Wheatley, who saw the girls in line with all these gifts and was gracious enough to chip in another $90! She showed us what this beautiful holiday season is truly about! Happy Holidays!
We Wish to welcome our new insurance partner, Heartland Farm Mutual, to Ives Insurance. We look forward to working with you.
It’s a great time to prepare your home for the winter, especially if you’re about to leave town for the holidays. Here’s how to protect your home for the winter – and get some valuable homeowners-insurance discounts at the same time.
Many homeowners-insurance claims in winter are caused by frozen pipes, which can result in thousands of dollars of water damage and expensive cleanup. Even though most of your house may be warm, pipes can still freeze in cold spots, such as your basement, garage, and the back of your closets and cabinets. “I was called in on a claim where a pipe was installed between the living room and the unheated garage,” recalls Keith Weinhold, an appraisal technical specialist with Chubb Insurance. “The water came out at such high pressure that it drilled a hole through the drywall, and the living-room floors were all destroyed,” adds Weinhold, who has more than 30 years of experience assessing homeowners’ insurance claims. Here are some of his tips for protecting your home.
Simple steps such as checking the insulation in your home’s cold spots and opening cabinets and doors to let warm air circulate can make a big difference. “Whenever the wind blows and the temperature drops, the wind is forcing air into every crack in your house, and your cold spots are going to be even colder.” he says.
Don’t turn your thermostat down too low when you’re going out of town. “The problem is if you turn your thermostat down to 50 degrees, that’s 50 degrees at the thermostat – but the temperature could be down in the 30s in the cold spots in your basement,” says Weinhold. “You always have to be conscious of what the temperature is in the coldest part of the house.” He recommends reducing your thermostat to no lower than 60 degrees when you leave your home for a winter vacation.
If you travel frequently, you may want to consider an automatic water shut-off system, which cuts off the main water line if it detects a malfunction in the pipes. This type of system could reduce your homeowners-insurance premiums.
An automatic back-up generator can also help protect your home’s plumbing from freezing. If the electricity goes out – which isn’t unusual during winter storms – your heat may go out and your pipes could freeze. The generator will not only keep your house warm, but it will power your alarm system.
Make sure you disconnect and drain any hoses outside your house, shut off and drain the outside faucets.
Trimming trees can protect your home, too. Winter weather and ice storms often make tree branches brittle, causing them to break off and land on your house or your power lines.
One of the best ways to protect your home while away is to have someone checking your home on a daily basis.
10 Ways to Protect Your Home While You’re Away/On Vacation
When you leave your home, either for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, you’ll want to take some basic safety precautions to keep your house and belongings safe. This makes most of us think about burglarproofing, but preparations extend beyond locking your doors or setting timers for your lights.
1. Hold Your Mail
A huge pile of mail on the front doorstep, or envelopes pouring out your mail slot is an instant tip-off that no one’s home. If you’ll be gone for more than a few days, go to the post office to place a hold on your mail. Put a hold on your daily paper, too. If you don’t have the time or inclination, ask a trusted neighbor to collect the goods daily.
2. Create the Illusion of Someone Home
Beyond setting your lights on a timer, you can also set the television and radio on a timer to create the typical noise and flickering lights of an average family home at night. But wait that’s not all! Leave a car in the driveway. Arrange for someone to mow at least once a week (an unruly lawn is as bad as a pile of mail). During the winter, arrange for snow removal in case of a storm (neighborhood kids are great for this, if you get their parents’ word that they’ll remember). If you normally leave toys outside, or keep a hose unrolled, or do anything that shows signs of a home being lived in, don’t tidy up too much before you leave.
3. Mum’s the Word
Never, ever announce your departure or vacation dates on social networks. Sharing settings are not foolproof and with new security updates it’s always hard to tell what’s public and what’s private. Stay on the safe side, and don’t mention your trip – until you’re back, with tales to tell and photos to upload!
4. Trust a Friend
Give your vacation contact info and a spare key to at least one friend or neighbor. That way, they can check on your home on a regular basis and they’ll know how to contact you in case of emergency.
5. Advertise Your Security
Especially when you’re away, it can be a great idea to advertise your security measures. If you’re worried that alarm company signs will clue thieves in to how to break in, buy signs from a different company. Install fake security cameras (the kind that look authentic). Do whatever it takes to get across the message, “This is not the home you are looking for.”
Unplug all unnecessary appliances (except those on timers, of course) to protect your home from an electrical fire or power surge. This goes for the big stuff, like TVs, but also for your toaster, your coffee maker, and other small appliances.
7. Hide the Hide-a-Key
It’s impossible to forget your key if you’re not even home, so go ahead and take any hidden spare keys out of commission. Just don’t forget to re-hide them when you return!
8. Keep Your Cool
Turn down (or up) the thermostat to save on electricity while you’re gone. In the winter, set the heat to about 60° – warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing, but cool enough to save – and during the summer, set your air-conditioning to 85°. You can also lower the temperature on your water heater.
9. Safe-Keep Your Valuables
Lock up jewelry, the deed to your home, wills, and any other valuables or sensitive documents in a fire-proof safe. This is a good idea whether your are on vacation or at home.
10. Alert Your Alarm Company
Call your home security company to let them know you’ll be away. Make sure the alarm is set and working when you leave.
Do you feel as though you’re paying too much for your car insurance because of everyone else’s driving habits while you’re a model driver?
Telematics could help lower your premium – depending on how you drive. This in-car device uses GPS and a mobile data connection to monitor your driving style such as speeds you drive, times of day you drive, etc. The data is sent to your insurance company and your insurer can then use this information to adjust your premium according to the way you drive.
Can telematics always make your car insurance cheaper? There are questions about how telematics might develop in the future and what additional information insurers might use in calculating an insurance premium, such as how long someone has been driving without a break, are they using their phone while driving, or how many passengers are in the car.
While there can be some potential benefits besides lower rates such as being able to monitor your children’s driving behavior, there could be some potential drawbacks, too. If people struggle with potential annual increase in premiums, they may have more of an issue if there was also a risk of rates increasing mid term because of their driving behavior. The “Big Brother” effect may make people reluctant to give permission to insurers to monitor their driving habits.
How to decide if telematics is right for you? Discuss your personal situation with your Ives insurance broker. Together, you can choose options that work best for your lifestyle!
Winter driving can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when conditions are snowy or icy. Follow these steps to keep yourself safe and collision free during the next few blustery winter months.
Step 1: Make sure that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving.
- Winter tires are a good option, as they will provide greater traction under snowy or icy conditions.
- Keep a snow brush/scraper in your car, along with possible emergency items such as a lightweight shovel, battery jumper cables, and a flashlight.
- Make sure that mirrors, all windows, and the top of your vehicle, are free of snow or frost before getting onto the road.
Step 2: Drive smoothly and slowly.
- Don’t make any abrupt turns or stops when driving; doing so will often cause your vehicle to lose control and skid.
- Driving too quickly is the main cause of winter collisions. Be sure to drive slowly and carefully on snow and ice covered roads.
Step 3: Don’t tailgate.
- Tailgating becomes much worse in winter weather. Stopping takes much longer on snowy and icy roads than on dry pavement, so be sure to leave enough room between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
Step 4: Brake before making turns.
- Brake slowly to reduce speed before entering turns. Once you have rounded the corner you can accelerate again.
Step 5: Learn how to control skids.
- When skidding, you actually need to go against your natural instincts and turn into the skid and accelerate. Doing so transfers your vehicle’s weight from the front to the rear and often helps vehicles to regain control.
Step 6: Lights On.
- Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
Step 7: No Cruise Control.
- Never use cruise control if conditions are snowy, icy, or wet, because if your car hydroplanes, your car will try to accelerate and you may lose control of your vehicle.
Step 8: Don’t “pump” the brakes.
- If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock breaking system (ABS), do not “pump” the brakes. Apply constant pressure and let the system do its work.
Step 9: Pay attention.
- Maneuvers are more difficult to make in the snow. Be sure to anticipate what your next move is going to be to give yourself lots of room for turns and stopping.
There are many preventative measures that a client can do to their home to help prevent water damage claims.
- Downspouts connected to weeping tiles are disconnected and are extended 6 feet or more away from the house.
- The sump pump discharge pipe extends more than 6 feet from the house.
- A water proof membrane is applied under the roof shingles.
- Lawn graded to drain water away from all exterior walls.
- Install a tank-less hot water heater on a exterior wall.
- Install a rain barrel on exterior downspouts.
- Replace rubber hoses connected to household appliances with steel braided varieties.
Be Safe, Avoid Floods!
What is Sewer Back-Up?
Sewer back-up occurs when the city or municipal drainage system overflows and sends water back through the pipes and into your home. This may happen for a variety of reasons, but the most common is a great deal of water from rainfall or snow melt overwhelming the system. It can also be a result of a failure on the part of a sump pump or other system designed to deal with excess water. The water and sewage can come from various sources including a septic tank, sewer or storm drain.
Sewer back-up can result in a great deal of damage to homes, including the development of mold problems and of course bacteria from sewage that has entered the home. It requires immediate proper clean-up that can be very expensive as well as can result in damage to carpets, walls, furniture and other personal property that will be costly to replace.
Sewer Back-Up Coverage
Sewer back-up coverage is available to Ontario homeowners as an optional coverage that can be added to a standard homeowner’s policy. Some areas are more likely to need this optional coverage as they are located in places more prone to flooding and sewer back-up. These areas are those most likely to have this optional coverage offered to homeowners.
Without this coverage added to your policy, you could discover that you have little to no coverage available in the event of a serious flood or even a local problem that results in a sewer back-up. Without the coverage, the cost of repairs can easily reach into the tens of thousands, and for the average homeowner this is an amount not readily available. The cost of adding the coverage to your policy is minimal in comparison to this and is a wise decision especially if you live in a location where sewer back-up is an issue..
Avoiding Sewer Back-Up
Prevention is always better than dealing with damage even if you do have the coverage in place to pay the claim. There are several things you can do to prevent sewer back-up from destroying your home and property:
- Install sump pumps and check regularly to ensure they are in good working order
- Have backflow valves installed in your home
- Ensure that your property has good drainage – a slope that moves away from your home is best
- Have plugs ready for all drains and toilets
- Keep all of your eaves troughs and downspouts clean and clear to allow proper drainage
- Keep sewer caps on all basement sewer outlets (including your floor drain, washer stack, sump hole, etc.) during rainstorms.
- Discharge drainage onto your lawn or driveway.
- Ensure the flow of surface water is directed away from the foundation of your home and the foundations of your neighbours’ homes.
- Avoid using water during heavy downpours.
In some cases, especially extreme ones, back-up might not be preventable, but the damage can at the very least be minimized with these precautions.
A surprising number of homeowners are not aware that sewer back-up is not a standard part of a homeowner’s insurance policy. It’s vital that you verify whether or not you have coverage right away, before finding out you do not have it when your home is filled with sewer water. You should also find out whether or not you live in a high-risk area, making this coverage even more vital.
Sewer back up results when the volume of water and sewage flowing into a sewer system exceeds its capacity. Other causes of sewer back up include blocked sewer connections caused by tree roots, collapsed sewer pipes or improper use of the sewer system.
Below are some things you can do to help prevent a sewer back up in your home:
What to do if a sewer back up occurs
- During a rainstorm, check your basement frequently. If it begins to flood, move your belongings upstairs or to a dry area to keep them safe.
- Contact your broker as soon as possible and they will arrange for an adjuster to contact you.
- Don’t throw anything out. Store damaged items in a reasonably safe place so the adjuster can see them when they arrive.
- Prepare an itemized account of all damaged items and their value. Include receipts or proof of purchase for larger items.
Cleaning up after a sewer back up
- Clean up as soon as possible. Seek professional advice on how to clean up and take whatever steps you can to minimize the extent of your loss.
- Don’t touch electrical systems or panels until you know it is safe to do so, especially in wet or damp conditions.
- Move damaged belongings to a dry area with good ventilation.
- Dispose of anything that has been contaminated by sewer back up that might be a health hazard. Make a detailed list of everything and take several photographs, or make a videotape, to assist in the settlement of your claim.
- Have any appliances (including furnaces) that have come in contact with water checked by a qualified electrician, dealer or serviceman before you use them.
- Disinfect all articles that have come in contact with flood or sewer water.
- visit www.insuranceisevolving.com
At a ceremony on March 17 at Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference in Toronto, Ives Insurance Brokers Ltd, took the top prize in the Distributor category with the successful implementation of a consumer portal , allowing consumers secure 24/7 access to information in the broker’s management system. Keal Technology and Quindell were recognized as Ives’ partners in the implementation.
“We are extremely proud to be chosen as the winner of this prestigious award. This is game changing technology that will allow insurance brokers to continue to be competitive in today’s ever changing marketplace. Working with the great talent at Quindell and Keal, both leaders in their respective fields and all of our dedicated, professional staff Ives has and will continue to be a leader in our respective industry. Ease of business for our customers along with providing them with access to the best products and services available today is our commitment to our customers. Our customers want immediate access to our services on a 24/7 basis and this will open those doors. It is a first for the broker distribution network and is a game changer for our industry.” Say’s Jeff Ives, President of Ives Insurance Brokers Limited.