Erie Insurance Accolades Speak To Company's Strength

For the sixth consecutive year, Erie Insurance received the highest ranking in the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study for "Customer Satisfaction with the Auto Insurance Purchase Experience." The study measures auto insurance shopping purchase behavior and purchase experience satisfaction among customers who recently bought insurance, and Erie received the highest numerical score: 877 out of 1,000. 

This is huge for Erie because J.D. Power surveys real customers and no other carrier ranks higher.

Also on the trophy shelf, Erie earned A.M. Best's rating of A+ (Superior). While Erie Family Life Insurance earned A.M. Best's rating of A (Excellent). These accolades speak to Erie's financial strength. Customers can be sure Erie is financially sound and will be there for its customers.

For more information on Erie's awards and rankings, visit its website: erieinsurance.com/awards

Deaths From Injuries, Including Car Crashes, Rising Among Youth

CNN published an article earlier this month about the fact that after years of decline, the injury death rate among people in the United States ages 10 to 19 is rising. The CNN article was based a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report found auto injuries to be one of the leading causes of death.

Below are some highlights from the article:

  • The rise in deaths is attributable to injury-related deaths, such as traffic accident fatalities, drug overdoses, homicides and suicides, as opposed to illness.
     
  • Among 10- to 19-year-olds around the world, road traffic injuries were the leading cause of death in 2015.
     
  • Motor vehicle traffic fatalities accounted for 62% of these unintentional injury deaths.
     
  • The new report was based on data from death certificates filed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between 1999 and 2016.

Check out the full article for more information on the study: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/01/health/youth-injury-death-rate-cdc-study/index.html

We feel this study highlights the importance of practicing safe driving, as well as the need for our lawmakers to dedicate time and money to creating and enforcing legislation that will support safety on the road. Things like driver-training courses, putting down our phones while we drive, and new laws that address road safety are critical.

Car Insurance Price Comparison Sites May Share Your Personal Data

This article published on CNN Money, is an interesting read and illustrates why it's important to get insurance quotes through an agent or a reputable carrier.

The article explains, "Increasingly, sites that offer you car insurance quotes or price comparisons can snag the extensive personal information you provide and pass it on to insurance carriers, agents or industry organizations, even without your consent."

Often these comparison sites also sell your personal information to third parties; allowing them to build a customer profile of you for things beyond insurance.

Check out the full article for tips on how to avoid unknowingly sharing your personal data while obtaining an insurance quote.

http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/12/pf/auto-insurance-data-collection/index.html

Clearsurance Ranks Erie Among Top 10 Best Insurance Companies In 2018 For Home And Auto

Clearsurance, an independent community where insurance customers share their individual feedback on auto, homeowner’s and renter’s insurance, has recently ranked Erie among the top 10 best insurance companies in 2018 for both home and auto.

Erie ranked 5th out of 10 among auto insurers, and 2nd out of 10 among the home insurers included.

Check out the full articles here: https://clearsurance.com/best-car-insurance-2018https://clearsurance.com/best-home-insurance-2018.

And here are the results as displayed on Clearsurance:

Source: https://clearsurance.com/best-car-insuranc...

Erie Auto Insurance "Xtras"

By: Nicole Vattimo

Erie insurance is a terrific company that is constantly receiving industry recognition for its claims and customer satisfaction. But, we at Forbes Insurance wanted to take a minute to shout-out Erie for the ways it helps clients through superior coverage offerings. The following coverages are standard in Erie personal auto policies, while not all are automatically offered by other carriers.

Check out Erie's blog, "Understanding Auto Insurance: ERIE 'Xtras,'" for more on the below included coverages:

  1. Road Trip Coverage - Erie offers up to $75 per passenger in the vehicle for travel expenses if you don’t reach your destination and aren’t close to home.
     
  2. Pet Protection - If your pet is hurt in a covered accident while riding in your car, Erie will help cover the vet treatment costs up to $500 per pet (up to two pets, with a total limit of $1,000).
     
  3. Locksmith - If you lock your keys in your car and carry comprehensive or collision coverage, Erie will reimburse you up to $75 for the cost of locksmith services on your insured car.
     
  4. New Car Addition - Erie gives you 7 days to add a new vehicle to your policy, so if you forget initially, it's okay. Just be sure to contact your agent within 7 days so you have the proper coverage.
     
  5. Personal Items - If personal items are damaged in a car accident, Erie gives you up to $350 toward your personal items not covered by other insurance.

For any questions about your exact coverages, always feel free to contact your Erie agent.

Source: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/underst...

Smartphones Are Killing Americans

By: Nicole Vattimo

Here is a very interesting article, originally published on Bloomberg, that discusses the surge in U.S. traffic fatalities and how they are linked to smartphone use, but are not being properly reported as such. The article, "Smartphones are killing Americans, but nobody’s counting," states that over the past two years, traffic fatalities have increased by 14.4 percent.

"In 2016 alone, more than 100 people died every day in or near vehicles in America, the first time the country has passed that grim toll in a decade," the article reports.

The problem is that many of these fatalities are not being attributed to distraction or mobile-phone use. Why is that an issue? Well, because regulators are not getting an accurate picture of just how dangerous cell phones are for drivers, and how many accidents they are actually causing. Without solid evidence (think numbers and stats) to indicate how many accidents are caused by cell-phone use behind the wheel, lawmakers and regulators can not push for new and improved laws or safety features.

The article talks about how cell-phone use has changed too; how actual calls are not happening as often as texting and social media. But, I would take it one step further and suggest that using our phones for music in our cars is another distraction. My family has Apple Music, which does sync with my car's stereo, but many times to change playlists, I find I have to look at my phone.

Additionally, have you seen the technology packed into most cars today?! Most new cars have touch screens, which, in my opinion, are tricky to use while driving, that can display: music options, navigation, car diagnostics, movies, and more. It's insane how many distractions are built right into the car stereo today.

Take a read of the full article here: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/smartphones-are-killing-americans-but-nobody%E2%80%99s-counting/ar-AAtQOp7?li=BBnb7Kz

Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/...

Erie Launches Teen Driver-Safety Initiative Called Shift

By: Nicole Vattimo

Shift is Erie's initiative to help inform teens about safe driving and get them engaged through safe driving pledges, completing challenges, creating and sharing content through the program's website, and referring friends to the contest.

Shift began on Sept. 11, and Erie recently reported more than 1,000 students are participating, representing schools across Erie's footprint. The primary goal of the program is to communicate important facts to help keep teens safe. Check out Erie's graphic below for some of these staggering statistics.

And, if you're interested in learning more about the initiative, visit jointheshift.org.

Photo Credit: Erie Insurance

Photo Credit: Erie Insurance

Lane-Departure And Blind-Spot Technology In Cars Are Reducing Accidents Says IIHS

By: Nicole Vattimo

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) recently published findings that indicate lane-departure and blind-spot warnings in cars are effectively reducing accidents. Here are some highlights from the report:

  • Lane-departure warnings lower rates of single-vehicle, sideswipe and head-on crashes of all severity by 11 percent.
     
  • Lane-departure warnings lower the rates of injury in these types of crashes by 21 percent.
     
  • The IIHS feels the above results are modest; perhaps because many drivers turn off lane-departure functionality in their vehicles.
     
  • If all passenger vehicles had been equipped with lane-departure warning, nearly 85,000 police-reported crashes and more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented in 2015.
     
  • Blind-spot detection lowers the rate of all lane-change crashes by 14 percent and the rate of lane-change crashes with injuries by 23 percent.
     
  • Police reports include information on the circumstances of a crash, making it possible to look specifically at the types of crashes that particular technologies are designed to address.

Take a read of the full report for more information about these findings and how the studies were conducted: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/stay-within-the-lines-lane-departure-warning-blind-spot-detection-help-drivers-avoid-trouble

Erie Customers Can Now Start Auto Glass Claims Online

By: Nicole Vattimo

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about what to do if you have a cracked windshield (link here). Today, I want to follow up on that post to share that Erie Insurance customers can now go to erieinsurance.com to start an auto glass or windshield claim online. This is an easy and convenient way for customers to quickly get a glass claim reported and be connected with Erie's glass partner, Safelite® Solutions.

How To Get Started:
1. Navigate to erieinsurance.com
2. Once on the website, use the top navigation bar to go to "Service" and then to "Start A Claim"
3. On the "Start A Claim" page, use the link for "Starting an auto glass claim online"

Once you start the online glass-claim form, you will be asked to submit information including your policy number, phone number, and details of the claim (e.g. when, how, and where the damages occurred). Safelite will collect the claim details and follow up via phone call to schedule the repair. Safelite can also work through email or text, based on the customer's preferences.

If you have further questions or concerns about reporting an auto glass claim, always feel free to reach out to your Erie agent.

What To Do If You Have A Cracked Windshield

By: Nicole Vattimo

With the increased activity on roads today, it's inevitable that at some point you'll likely have to deal with a chipped or cracked windshield. The good news is, most insurance companies will cover your windshield if you are carrying comprehensive coverage. 

Below are a couple key things to remember regarding windshield damage and claims:

1. Get your windshield repaired as quickly as possible. Getting the windshield looked at and repaired by a professional shortly after the incident is important for two reasons. Firstly, some insurance companies (including Erie) will waive your deductible if the windshield can be repaired, rather than replaced. That means a repair is free. However, if you wait around and let a small chip turn into a larger crack, you may have to replace the windshield entirely - meaning you will likely be subject to your comprehensive deductible. Secondly, a damaged windshield is less strong and therefore provides less protection for the vehicle's occupants. This matters if you are involved in an accident.

2. Take your car to a certified auto-glass installation technician. Make sure the professional you work with to repair your windshield is certified. You want to be sure the windshield is installed properly to avoid future issues with its functionality. Additionally, many cars have front-facing cameras mounted in the windshield, and most automakers specify that these cameras need to be recaliberated after a windshield replacement. You want to be sure the technician working on your car knows how to do this properly. 

Erie makes it super easy for customers to get their windshields repaired properly through the company's partnership with Safelite® Solutions. Call your Erie agent to get contact information for Erie's dedicated Safelite line.  

For more information about getting a windshield repaired or replaced, check out Erie's blog: https://www.erieinsurance.com/blog/handle-windshield-repair.

Volvo Plans To Phase Out Gasoline Engines

By: William Forbes

Bloomberg just reported that Volvo is planning to phase out the sale of gasoline engines. The auto maker says starting in 2019 all new models will run on hybrid or fully-electric motors. "That means that by about 2025 Volvo will make its last full-gasoline or diesel car -- the first major manufacturer to make such a pledge," said the article.

For more, check out the full article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-05/volvo-cars-joins-electric-race-with-plan-for-five-battery-models.

What Is My Policy Declarations Page?

By: Nicole Vattimo

If you are asking: What is my policy declarations page and what can I find there? This post is for you!

The declarations page of your policy is where you will find much of the pertinent information about the insurance policy. It provides information about the insured (that's you), the policy, and the insurance company.

Usually at the top of the page, your name and address is listed, along with your policy number, the dates of the policy period, and your agent's name and contact info.

Moving down the page, you will see a description of the vehicle(s) or property being covered.

An auto declarations page provides the make and model, VIN, and usage info (i.e. pleasure, work commute, etc) for all vehicles on the policy. You will also see a listing of the drivers included on the policy. Along with this info, your auto coverages, the cost of those coverages, and any deductibles will be given for each vehicle.

On a property declarations page, you will see a description of the property, the estimated replacement cost of the dwelling, and the amount of insurance provided for the dwelling, other structures, and personal property. The declarations page will also provide the amount of liability coverage provided, and any deductibles that apply to the policy.

In addition to information about the vehicle(s) or property being insured, the declarations page will list your total policy premium, and will usually list any discounts and/or endorsements you may have.

Because of all the information it provides, the declarations page is typically where you will look to answer questions about your coverages or the costs of those coverages. However, always contact your insurance agent for detailed information about your policy, or to help you with any questions you may have.

Why Are Car Insurance Prices Rising?

By: William Forbes

Being an insurance agent, I get asked every day, "Why is the cost of my car insurance going up?" And, the majority of the time this question isn't even coming from one of my clients. I get asked by friends, family, my supermarket cashier...it seems to be a question on everyone's mind.

Believe it or not, there are some very specific reasons for the increased cost of auto insurance; and none of them have to do with insurance companies being out to get us (I hear this suggestion quite a bit as an agent, too).

Forbes recently published an article (link here) that does a nice job of explaining some of the reasons. As stated in the article, "the driving force in the upward march in premiums is an auto insurance industry that’s been finding it increasingly difficult to sustain healthy profit margins."

This means auto insurers are finding it difficult to make a profit off insurance premiums, when the expense of running an insurance company is considered.

The article points to a few main reasons why profits have been down for insurers:

  1. More costly accidents. Both the severity of accidents and the number of fatal car accidents have been trending upward. So, fulfilling these types of claims, particularly those that include high medical costs, is very costly.
     
  2. A decline in investment revenue. The article explains that insurance companies hold large investment portfolios, and when interest rates and investment income is lower, they can't offset losses.
     
  3. Bad weather. As comprehensive claims from bad weather (tornadoes, hail, flooding) continue to rise, so does the amount insurance companies pay out to their insureds. I would also add to this that cars are getting more expensive to repair - the cost of parts is increasing, and added technology features make what used to be simple repairs, more costly. For example, windshields now have cameras in them, and this increases the cost of replacing them.

For a deeper dive into these three points, check out the full article on Forbes.com. And, if you have questions about your policy, always feel free to contact your agent.

(Here is the full link to the article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ccasazza/2017/05/23/why-are-car-insurance-rates-still-going-up/#3315a8cb7753)

Erie Insurance Earns Top Ranking From J.D. Power

By: William Forbes

Erie Insurance recently received the highest ranking in Customer Satisfaction for their auto insurance purchase experience. As an agency that proudly represents Erie, we couldn't agree more with the ranking. Our clients tell us all the time how happy they are with Erie - the product, customer support, and claims management.

Check out Erie's press release below for more information on the ranking:

Erie Insurance Earns Top Ranking in J.D. Power Insurance
Shopping Study

(Erie, Pa.) May 3, 2017 – For the fifth year in a row, Erie Insurance received the highest ranking in Customer Satisfaction with the Auto Insurance Purchase Experience in the J.D. Power Insurance Shopping Study. In 2017, Erie Insurance received a score of 879 out of 1,000.

“In this digital age, we strive to provide our agents with the right tools to reach customers in ways they prefer and expect, but still reflect our hallmark of service,” said Tim NeCastro, president and CEO of Erie Insurance. “A customer might start an insurance search online, but we believe it should end with a handshake.”

The Insurance Shopping Study provides a detailed look at the customer experience in shopping for a new auto insurance policy. It explores what prompts someone to shop for insurance and which factors contribute to the purchase decision. Three factors were measured to determine overall satisfaction. They are, in order of importance: price, distribution channel and policy offerings.

(Link to release on Erie's site: https://www.erieinsurance.com/news-room/press-releases/2017/jd-power-2017)