post

Holiday Drive for the Oregon Humane Society

Meet Onyx, our sponsor dog! Premier NW Insurance will be accepting donations of food, toys, leashes, etc. to help Onyx and his friends at the Oregon Humane Society. Please feel free to drop off any items you’d like to donate at our Clackamas or Sandy branch offices between now and December 17th. For a complete list of items needed, please visit the Oregon Humane Society website. Onyx thanks you!

http://www.oregonhumane.org/donate/needed_supplies.asp#.VHzMw2l0yM8.

post

Are you ready for Open Enrollment?

It’s that time of year again! If you haven’t started thinking about your health insurance…now is the time. Open Enrollment is fast approaching.

If you are interested in receiving a quote for Benefits for yourself or your business, please contact our agency or click on the following links:

Individual Quote: http://premiernw.net/request-a-quote/individual-health-quote/

Group Quote: http://premiernw.net/request-a-quote/group-health/print-group-health-form/

“The Open Enrollment period for 2015 coverage is November 15, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

If you haven’t enrolled in coverage by then, you generally can’t buy Marketplace health coverage for 2015 until the next Open Enrollment period for coverage the following year.

If you’re enrolled in a 2014 Marketplace plan, your benefit year ends December 31, 2014. To continue health coverage in 2015, you can renew your current health plan or choose a new health plan through the Marketplace during the 2015 Open Enrollment period.

If you don’t have health coverage during 2015, you may have to pay a fee. The fee in 2015 is higher than it was in 2014 — 2% of your income or $325 per adult/$162.50 per child, whichever is more.

Enrollment and Coverage Start Dates

During Open Enrollment, if you enroll:

Between the 1st and 15th days of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the next month.
Between the 16th and the last day of the month, your coverage starts the first day of the second following month. So if you enroll on January 16, your coverage starts on March 1.

You may buy Marketplace insurance outside Open Enrollment only if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period due to a qualifying life event such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or loss of other health coverage. Learn more about how you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

You can enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time. There is no limited enrollment period for these programs. You can apply any time. If you’re qualified, you can enroll immediately.

If you own or operate a small business, you can start offering coverage to your employees at any time.”

Source: HealthCare.gov https://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace-deadlines/2015/

post

Oregon Mutual and Mutual of Enumclaw Graded Best Overall by Oregon Body Shops

Two Northwest Insurers and USAA Get Top Grades from Oregon Body Shops

State Farm may still be the largest auto insurer in Oregon, but it’s no longer the best, according to the latest survey of Oregon collision repair shops.

The survey by the Northwest Automotive Trades Association (NATA) asked shops to grade the Top 20 auto insurers in the state in terms of how well each company’s “policies, attitude and payment practices ensure quality repairs and customer service for Oregon motorists.”

This was the eighth time the association has conducted such a survey since 2004, and State Farm had topped the list each time, finishing last year with a B+ grade. But in a year in which State Farm required its “Select Service” shops in Oregon to use PartsTrader, shops dropped the insurer’s mark by a full grade to C+, putting it in fourth place in the survey, virtually tied with Progressive, California Casualty and other insurers. Multiple shops commented on PartsTrader as the reason for giving the insurer a low (or lower than in past years) grade.

Two smaller Northwest-based auto insurers continue to be among the best at taking care of their customers after an accident, according to shops. Oregon Mutual’s grade slipped a bit from a B+ last year to a B this year, but that was still good enough to share the top spot with Mutual of Enumclaw. Both companies have consistently been among the top four insurers in the survey every year. Shops in this year’s survey commented that the two are “excellent to work with” and “take care of their customers.” In terms of market share in Oregon, Mutual of Enumclaw and Oregon Mutual are ranked 12th and 13th, respectively.

USAA nudged up from a C+ to a B- this year, jumping from sixth place to third, its best showing ever in the survey. “They really care about their customers,” one shop noted.

Farmers Insurance was the only insurer to receive a D+ this year, keeping it at the bottom of the rankings for the third year in a row.

“Just as medical providers see how health insurers take care of patients, collision repair shops interact with auto insurers on a daily basis, so we feel it’s worthwhile to ask how those insurers treat Oregon drivers after an accident,” said Barbara Crest, NATA executive director. “We believe their views will be helpful to insurance companies and consumers.”

About 500 collision repair shops throughout the state received the survey. Crest pointed to a number of items of interest in the findings of the latest survey:

  • In addition to USAA, two other insurers saw their grades improve from the 2013 survey. GEICO (which had a D+ in 2012) and Safeco each nudged up to a C this year, up from a C- last year.
  • Though State Farm’s drop was the most severe, seven other insurers saw their grades decline this year. Travelers was ranked fourth last year with a B-, but fell to a C this year. American Family, Allstate and Esurance (which is owned by Allstate) each dropped from a C to a C-. Shops cited inconsistency in the claims staff and policies at these companies.
  • Progressive has continued to work its way up the list, having had a D+ or worse (and the lowest or second-lowest ranking) in every survey between 2004 and 2009. It was 16th on the list in 2012, eighth last year and fifth this year.
  • Farmers received an “F” from about one-in-four shops, the most failing grades received by any insurer. (By comparison, Allstate and Esurance, the other lowest-graded insurers, each received about half as many Fs as Farmers).
  • About one-in-three shops gave Oregon Mutual and Mutual of Enumclaw a grade of “A.” Last year, State Farm received an “A” from well over half of shops, but this year less than one-in-four shops gave it an “A” grade.
  • In most cases, the grades given to a particular insurer from shops involved in that insurer’s DRP were higher than those given by shops that are not part of that insurer’s program. This was particularly true with California Casualty and USAA; their DRP shops gave them grades of A- or better while non-DRP shops gave each of these insurers a C and C+, respectively. But even Farmers Insurance direct repair shops gave that insurer only a C.

“Collision repairers say the insurers receiving the highest grades – which include both larger and smaller insurance companies – do the best job of taking care of Oregon drivers after an accident,” Crest said. “We hope consumers will take these ratings into account when choosing an auto insurer, and that insurers that received lower grades will work to improve their performance.”

More than 50 shops throughout Oregon responded to the survey.

2014 Insurer Report Card

What grade do Oregon collision repair shops give auto insurers in terms of how their “policies, attitude and payment practices ensure quality repairs and customer service for Oregon motorists?”

Insurer Overall Grade* (followed by   grade in 2013) Non-DRP Shops** DRP Shops**
Oregon Mutual B     (B+) B A-
Mutual of Enumclaw B      (B) B- A-
USAA B-    (C+) C+ A-
State Farm C+    (B+) C B-
Progressive C+    (C+) C+ N/A
California Casualty C+    (C+) C A
Kemper / Unitrin C+    (C+) C B+
The Hartford C+    (C+) C B-
Ameriprise C      (C+) C B-
American Commerce C      (C+) C B-
Country Companies C      (C+) C+ N/A
Liberty Mutual C      (C) C N/A
Nationwide C      (C) C N/A
Safeco / North Pacific C      (C-) C N/A
Travelers C      (B-) C B-
GEICO C         (C-) C- N/A
American Family C-      (C) C- C+
Allstate C-      (C) C- B-
Esurance C-      (C) C- B-
Farmers Insurance D+    (D+) D+ C

n/a = Insufficient responses from shops in the DRP to assign a grade. * Based on responses from all shops. **Based only on responses from shops participating in (or not participating in) that insurer’s DRP

http://www.bodyshopbusiness.com/Article/129259/two_northwest_insurers_and_usaa_get_top_grades_from_body_shops.aspx?categoryId

post

Premier NW Insurance Recognized as Leading Writer of Farm Insurance

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2014
 
Contact: Joel Feller
Director, Sales Development
Nationwide Agribusiness
1100 Locust Street
Des Moines IA 50391
515-508-3356

Premier NW Insurance Honored at National Sales Conference

DES MOINES, IA – Ryan Justus, Commercial Lines Agent with Premier NW Insurance located in Clackamas, Oregon, was recognized at the Nationwide® Agribusiness Insurance Company national sales conference held in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, as one of the company’s leading writers of farm insurance. Premier NW Insurance is an On Your Side® Farm Certified Agent.

The annual FAST Track Conference was held in recognition of top-producing agents in sales of new farm insurance policies during the 2013 calendar year.

“Farm coverage is a highly specialized line of insurance,” said Joel Feller, Sales Development Director, Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company, Des Moines. “Only agents who specialize in this highly complex type of business can provide our farm customers with important advice and counsel. Our FAST Track Conference recognizes agents who have made this commitment.”

While more than 6000 agencies write farm insurance for Nationwide, only 87 qualified for the 2014 FAST Track Conference.

“Congratulations to Premier NW Insurance on reaching this level of recognition,” said Feller, “and for their ongoing dedication to protecting Oregon and Northwest area farmers.”

Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company, and its affiliate, Farmland Mutual Insurance Company, are part of Nationwide®, Columbus, OH. Nationwide Agribusiness, rated A+ (Superior) by The A.M. Best Company, is the country’s #1 farm insurer, and a leader in insurance and risk management solutions for commercial agribusinesses in the food and fiber chain. For more information, visit www.NationwideAgribusiness.com. Nationwide Agribusiness offers the AgriChoice® farm policy which provides customized coverages for farm operations of various sizes and types.

 Nationwide, the Nationwide Framemark, and On Your Side are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

 

post

Career Opportunities

Premier NW Insurance is currently searching for Producers to add to our successful B2B sales team. Premier NW is a locally owned, customer focused organization that provides Producers with the flexibility and support necessary to achieve their financial goals. Our agency has an outstanding reputation for professionalism, integrity and providing top tier advice and solutions to our clients. Our Producers have access to the leading insurance companies in the Northwest.

For those looking at insurance sales as a new career or as a first time career decision – insurance sales is an often misunderstood and under-appreciated profession. The most effective insurance Producers develop a close, personal relationship with their clients and become an important resource to them in the successful operation of their business. Compensation potential is unlimited and is directly related to the efforts and success of the Producer. Insurance Producers have a significant advantage in that insurance is a recession resistant industry.

We currently have opportunities available in our Clackamas and Salem branch offices. Whether you are an experienced Producer or are interested in making a career change, we have the resources and positive agency culture to enable your success.

We are looking for outstanding people with the following traits:

  • Outgoing personality with the ability to develop close relationships with clients
  • Strong work ethic, self-motivated with effective time management skills
  • Ability to work effectively in a team oriented collaborative environment
  • Strong community ties
  • Ability to quickly learn and understand market dynamics affecting the businesses of our customers
  • Ability to assess and analyze customer needs and develop recommendations
  • Above average written and oral communication skills
  • Capable of working with owners and senior management of businesses
  • B2B sales experience
  • Ability to build a successful referral network

We are willing to provide in depth sales and insurance product training to the right individual. We have resources available through our insurance company partners and agency mentorship to help ensure your success.

This is an excellent opportunity for someone looking to enter the insurance industry. Our producers enjoy a recurring revenue stream from their clients with strong new business incentives.  Base compensation plus commission is provided to assist while you build your client base. We offer favorable commission percentages for both new and renewal business and full vesting opportunity to our sales staff.

Premier NW Insurance is not a call center. We are not a captive agency who will place unreachable goals on you each year. We are a growing, family owned agency who cares about our customers and our staff.

If you have an interest in joining a successful locally owned agency with unlimited compensation potential, please contact Mitzi Johnson at mjohnson@premiernw.net.

post

Producer, Ryan Justus, recently quoted in Capital Press’ article on “agritourism”

 

Agritourism requires added coverage

By

Mateusz Perkowski

 

Mateusz Perkowski/Capital Press Peter Sherman and his wife, Carin, help their son, Liam, and daughter, Emma, pick out pumpkins at a farm on Sauvie Island near Portland, Ore. experts say agritourism operations require common sense to prevent injuries and insurance coverage in case they occur anyway.

Pumpkin farmer Matt Roloff says the prospect of calamity doesn’t dissuade him from opening his property north of Hillsboro, Ore., to the public each year.

“Anytime you have 30,000 people rolling through your place, inevitably somebody will get hurt,” he said. “You can’t let the risk scare you out of business.”

Roloff said he tries to use common sense when designing attractions at his 34-acre farm, which features a tree fort, pirate ship, medieval caste and Western town, among other constructions.

At the same time, Roloff makes sure the operation is well insured in case injuries do occur, he said. “Accidents happen when you get that many people.”

Liability and insurance issues, along with regulatory and legal constraints, are among the top challenges faced by agritourism operators, according to a survey by University of California Cooperative Extension.

Obtaining a policy that covers agritourism activities is now easier than it has been in the past, said Ryan Justus, a farm specialist at Premier Northwest Insurance.

“More people are doing it and more people are offering it,” he said.

Even so, coverage remains a financial hurdle for some farmers because insurance companies see agritourism operations as having a high exposure to risk, Justus said.

“Is it cheap insurance? No, it’s not. It’s expensive,” he said.

Premiums for agritourism insurance typically run from about $2,500 to $5,000 per year and must be purchased on top of regular policies that cover buildings and equipment, Justus said.

The cost of insurance goes up based on revenues as well as the types of activities involved — a pumpkin patch and corn maze will be cheaper to cover than a hay ride and inflatable bouncy castle, he said.

A rule of thumb is that anytime children are riding, bouncing or sliding on something, the insurance premium rises, Justus said. “You’re into that next category that’s going to be a bit more expensive.”

The insured farmer has to be found negligent before an insurance provider will pay out a claim — with serious injuries, the company will send in investigators to determine if negligence was to blame, he said.

Generally, an attorney for the injured visitor will send a letter seeking damages, which prompts the farmer’s insurer to get involved, Justus said. In some cases, the farmer will admit he was liable.

If the parties disagree about negligence, the case goes to court, he said.

It’s important for farmers to fully inform their insurer about the activities offered at the operation so they’re not exposed to too much risk, said Brian Bauman of Bauman Farms near Gervais, Ore.

“The activities get adjusted and changed to make sure we’re doing the best job we can,” Bauman said.

Bauman Farms has a set of rules for each activity and ensures its employees are ready to enforce them, he said. “We do a lot of training with all our staff.”

Concerns about injuries have prompted Roloff to scrap some ideas, such as a wall that visitors could climb over with the help of a net.

“We decided the risk wasn’t worth the reward,” he said.

Roloff said he mitigates risk by ensuring that parents enter the property with their children, rather than letting their kids run around unsupervised.

“You have to use really good judgment,” he said.

Some growers have visitors sign “hold harmless” waivers, in which they acknowledge the risk of entering the operation and waive claims for damages, said Melissa Fery, a small farms extension agent with Oregon State University.

Such waivers shouldn’t replace insurance coverage — a farmer can still face lawsuits alleging negligence — but they provide visitors with additional awareness of the hazards, she said.

http://www.capitalpress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20131030/ARTICLE/131039989/… 11/4/2013

 

post

SAIF Corporation declares dividend for policyholders

Board of Directors approves a $130 million total dividend; checks to be mailed to approximately 43,000 employers in October.

September 18, 2013

Salem, OR – SAIF Corporation’s Board of Directors today declared a $130 million dividend for approximately 43,000 current and former customers.

Customers with policies that ended in 2012 are eligible for the dividend. Individual dividend information will be available to employers through SAIF’s website, saif.com, beginning October 11. Checks will be mailed to eligible SAIF policyholders during October.

“SAIF is able to pay this dividend because of solid investment returns and continued success in managing workplace safety and controlling losses,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Brenda Rocklin.

“The first priority of SAIF Corporation’s Board of Directors is to ensure that SAIF can meet its financial obligations to injured workers and their dependents,” said Cathy Travis, chair of SAIF’s board. “We reviewed current audit reports, which confirm that we can declare this $130 million policyholder dividend and safeguard the funds we need to pay injured worker benefits.”

SAIF Corporation is Oregon’s not-for-profit, state-chartered workers’ compensation insurance company. SAIF has been doing business for 99 years and is the leading workers’ compensation insurance provider in Oregon.

post

Premier NW Insurance Honored at National Sales Conference

Premier NW Insurance Honored at National Sales Conference

DES MOINES, IA – Ryan Justus and Rex Rider of Premier NW Insurance, with offices in Salem, Clackamas and Sandy, were recognized at the Nationwide® Agribusiness Insurance Company national sales conference held in Las Vegas, NV as among the company’s leading writers of farm insurance. The agency is an On Your Side® Farm Certified Agency, a designation which recognizes their skill and dedication to the farming industry.

The annual FAST Track Conference was held in recognition of top-producing agents in sales of new farm insurance policies during 2012.

“Farm coverage is a highly specialized line of insurance,” said Jerry Hillard, Farm Sales Associate Vice President, Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company, Des Moines. “Only agents who specialize in this highly complex type of business can provide our farm customers with important advice and counsel. Our FAST Track Conference recognizes agents who have made this commitment.”

While more than 9,300 agencies write farm insurance for Nationwide Agribusiness, only 94 qualified for the 2013 FAST Track Conference.

“Congratulations to Premier NW Insurance on reaching this level of recognition,” said Hillard, “and for their ongoing dedication to protecting Oregon farmers.”

 Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance Company, and its affiliate, Farmland Mutual Insurance Company, are part of Nationwide®, Columbus, OH. Nationwide Agribusiness, rated A+ (Superior) by The A.M. Best Company, is the country’s #1 farm insurer, and a leader in insurance and risk management solutions for commercial agribusinesses in the food and fiber chain. For more information, visit www.NationwideAgribusiness.com. Nationwide Agribusiness offers the AgriChoice® farm policy which provides customized coverages for farm operations of various sizes and types.

Nationwide, the Nationwide Framemark, and On Your Side are federally registered service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

2nd Qtr Newsletter from the Benefits Department

Premier NW Insurance Newsletter
2nd Quarter 2010

COBRA/State Continuation Subsidy Extension

On April 15, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 (HR 4851). Among other provisions, this law once again extends the COBRA subsidy eligibility period under ARRA, this time through May 31, 2010.

As with ARRA, the changes affect continuation coverage offered under COBRA and any comparable state law. Like its COBRA predecessors, this law takes immediate effect and is retroactive to April 1, 2010.

The law makes the following changes:

    New Sunset Date: The COBRA subsidy eligibility period (for Qualifying Events on or after September 1, 2008) now ends on May 31, 2010. This period had expired on March 31, 2010. As a refresher, the subsidy is a 65 percent discount off the regular COBRA premium for up to 15 months. Only Assistance Eligible Individuals (AEIs) qualify for the subsidy.

    Eligible Qualifying Events: As before, two types of Qualifying Events are subsidy eligible. The first one is an involuntary termination of employment. The second one is a reduction in hours followed by an involuntary termination of employment if that involuntary termination occurs on or after March 2, 2010, and on or before May 31, 2010.

The new law does not change the length of the COBRA maximum coverage period. It is still based on the original reduction in hours Qualifying Event date. Also, the subsidy period (up to 15 months) is unchanged.

UPDATE on Health Care Reform

As you know, Health Care Reform has passed and continues to be discussed and analyzed and debated! To help you understand how this reform will affect you and your employees, we have attached a simplified timeline for the major components of the law.

In the immediate future (for groups renewing in October 2010 and each month thereafter) the major changes that will affect your health insurance policy in 2010 are:

    1. Dependent Children will be covered to age 26
    2. Bans lifetime and annual maximums
    3. Children cannot be excluded from group or individual coverage for pre-existing conditions.
    4. Requires insurance carriers to fully cover preventive care services (with no cost sharing by subscriber)
    5. Provides a Tax Credit available for Small Employers (under 25 employees for calendar year 2010) who purchase health coverage for their employees.

PLEASE SEE THE LINKS BELOW FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION
ABOUT THIS PROVISION.

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=220809,00.html?portlet=6

http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=220839,00.html

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/small_business_health_care_tax_credit_scenarios.pdf

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/3_simple_steps.pdf

A few other items to be aware of that will become effective in 2011:

    1. Employees who have access to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) will no longer be able to be reimbursed through the FSA for over the counter drugs.

    2. Employees who have access to an HSA account will now be taxed 20% (was 10%) for non-qualified medical expense distributions.

We will continue to keep you updated on any changes in the law or updates as we are notified. We also would encourage you to sign up on the State of Oregon DHS website, for daily updates to Health Care Reform. That website is: http://insurance.oregon.gov/FAQs/fedrealhealthreform-oregon.html

The CLASS Act (part of Health Care Reform)

There is a small “hidden” provision that was deep in the heart of the Health Reform Law that was passed, which may escape people’s radar, but is important for employers to know about. It is THE CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Support). This is a government sponsored, long-term care plan that offers a basic level of guaranteed issue coverage to working Americans. Employers will be strongly encouraged to offer this plan, but it will not be mandatory. As of now, it appears that all working Americans will be automatically enrolled in this program unless they choose to opt-out. Premiums have not been set, but they will be automatically deducted from employees’ checks. The government is hoping to raise revenue with this product to help pay for the cost of the Health Care Reform.

Employee Benefits Department Contacts:

Suzie Moll, Employee Benefits Manager

  • 503-655-6344 ext 33
  • Stephanie Bartrug, Employee Benefits Specialist

  • 503-655-6344 ext 27
  • Robert Rivenburgh, Employee Benefits Specialist

  • 503-655-6344 ext 32
  • Jared Harding, Employee Benefits Specialist

  • 503-655-6344 ext 29
  • Lisa Ewers, Office Support, Individual/Medicare

  • 503-655-6344 ext 31