July 2019Upcoming EventsEvery Saturday morning “Insights into Insurance” radio show KATE 1450AM 8:45amJuly 4 & 5 Happy 4th of July – Office ClosedJuly 15 Crop Insurance Acreage Report Deadline Sept 9 thru 20th Americana’s Fire Extinguisher Refill EventInsurance HighlightsWHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CONTRACTORS Storm season has started…thankfully, we have local, reputable, residential contractors to repair the damage. There are some new requirements for contractors that you should be aware of in case our area gets hit with a storm. Make sure you know that ALL agreements including proposals, estimates, bids, quotations, contracts, purchase orders, and change orders between a licensee and a customer for the performance of a licensee's services must be in writing and must contain specific information, such as a detailed summary of services to be performed, a list of specific materials or standard features to be included and a total contract price or description of how the price will be calculated. All agreements are to be signed and dated by both parties with a copy left for the customer. (See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/326B.809). IF you sign an agreement for insurance repairs but later learn that your insurance claim is denied, you have 72 hours to cancel the agreement with the contractor (See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/326B.811.)Loss PreventionHow Strong are your Passwords? We have a tool to check. … Let’s face it, passwords are frustrating! Coming up with a new combination of letters and numbers for almost every website, all while trying to remember them and make them secure! How do you remember all those passwords? Fortunately, our newer computer programs provide built-in password storage and even password generation. The downside is if you are not always using your personal computer or if your computer itself doesn’t have a strong master password. The other option many people use is a little old-school, but simply writing down the usernames and passwords and storing them somewhere secure. Experts have said this is okay for home computer use as long as the password is stored in a secure location, but this is not recommended for business use. So, what is the best method for creating and remembering passwords? One method experts recommend is to come up with a phrase and then use the letters and numbers in that phrase as the password. For Example, “I hope the Twins will win the World Series in 2019!” then take the initial of each word and all the numbers and symbols to create your password. That phrase would result in this password: IhtTwwtWSi2019! The next option is to use a password generation and storage software that you can install or may come with your computer. But you still need to create a secure and memorable master password to keep your computer secure and those passwords protected. Think your passwords are pretty clever? You can check them using https://howsecureismypassword.net/, a site recommended by cyber insurance providers to determine the hackability of passwords. Keep your information secure and update or check those passwords. Remember the first line of defense in keeping your data and computers secure is a strong password.Did YOU know?Did you know that Americana Insurance Groups website offers a link to see what the Chances of Hail are Today? Go to https://www.americanainsurance.com/ and go to Resources and in the drop down box there is a link Chances of Hail Today. Within that link you can see where hail has happened and much more. Please take a look.FinanceWhy Estate Planning Is So Important Having an estate plan early is advisable for everyone, regardless of their financial status or number of properties, especially if they have a family that is heavily dependent on them.Read More...Insights Into InsuranceDid you here our June 29th “Insights into Insurance” radio show about Insurance Fraud? If not or you want to hear it again click here Insurance Fraud .Our guest was Scott Gleitz with North Star Insurance Special Investigation Unit and he talks about past cases, what are the most common insurance fraud items, and cost of fraud to the consumer. Please take a listen. Would you like to receive our Insights Into Insurance Newsletter?