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New Empire Group Blog

New Empire Group offers effective and competitive insurance programs and solutions for many types of commercial real estate exposures.

Elevator Safety & Maintenance Tips for Condos, Coops & Apartment Buildings

Author NicoleShiels , 7/30/2015
Elevators are obviously a huge convenience and selling point for residents of condos, coops and apartment buildings.  However, elevators do need regular maintenance and can become costly if repairs are needed.

Keep Diligent Records of all Elevator Issues
Are there reoccurring issues that seem to keep popping up with one or more of the elevators? If so, there could be a more deep-rooted problem going on.  Tracking these issues can help the elevator technician to find the cause of the problem.  If the problems continue to occur, it may be time to replace or upgrade certain parts.

Properly Train Staff on Emergency Procedures
Remind staff that only trained elevator technicians or someone from a rescue service (police officer, firefighter, etc.) should help trapped elevator passengers.  Each staff member should know the proper emergency numbers to call in the event that someone (resident, guest or staff member) gets trapped inside of an elevator on premises.

Do Not Trade Quality Equipment for a Cheaper Price Tag
Investing in high quality elevator equipment and properly maintaining the equipment can save money down the road when it comes to repairs.  One of the main reasons people experience elevator problems is because of poor quality and/or faulty equipment.  Purchasing high quality elevator equipment, such as door operators, makes the chances of equipment failure less likely.

Elevator safety and maintenance has it’s ‘ups & downs’ and it can be easy to forget how important regular elevator service is.   Addressing any elevator issue promptly and reminding residents to also take good care of the equipment has huge advantages.  Proper elevator maintenance is key in keeping repair costs at a minimum and will keep your elevator operating smoothly for years to come.

Causes & Solutions to High Utility Costs for Rental Properties

Author AlbertoBarros , 4/2/2015

As the seasons change, so do utility costs. Making sure rental properties are energy efficient benefits both the landlord and the tenant.  We’ve come up with a list of 5 causes of high energy bills and how your clients can avoid them.

Cause:
 Heating and cooling units when no one is there.
Solution: Programmable Thermostats.

Programmable thermostats are designed to be scheduled to change the temperature of the unit based on personal preference for various times of the day and seasons.  They are a great and inexpensive investment, costing as little as $25 at most home improvement stores.  Programmable thermostats can yield as much as $200 in savings per year in utility expenses.

Cause: Letting heat or cool air escape through windows, door frames and cracks.
Solution: Weather-stripping windows and door frames and Caulking cracks.


Weather-stripping windows and door frames is something every landlord should consider in order to prevent renters from wasting energy.  Be aware that there may also be small cracks hidden from the naked eye, so take the time to inspect a property for small seams where cool or warm air can seep out of a unit.  Caulking these cracks to effectively seal them will prevent wasted electricity.

Cause:
 Energy Guzzling Appliances and Electronics
Solution: Replacing Old Appliances with Energy-Star labeled versions.

The cost of replacing old appliances should not scare you half as much as the thought that according to Energy Star, statistics show that the average home contributes twice the amount of greenhouse gases to the environment as an average car!  Isn’t it time to look into energy-efficient appliances?

Cause: Using old incandescent light bulbs
Solution: Swapping out Old Light Bulbs for CFLs or LEDs

A task as small as changing out old light bulbs for more modern ones, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light emitting diodes (aka LEDs) may significantly lower a property’s utility bill each month. According to SmartMoney.com, on average you can save nearly $35 during the life of a light bulb by simply switching one incandescent in exchange for a compact fluorescent.  Also, remember to turn off the lights when leaving a room!

Cause: Using Air Conditioners All Day & Night
Solution: Try Installing Fans or capping the central AC temperature

Turning on the air conditioner may keep you cool, but a considerable percentage of a property’s utility expense for the year tends to occur during the warmer months due to this usage.  If your tenants have central AC in their unit, try to encourage them to cap temperatures at 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Making this small change can save between 3 to 5 percent on monthly electric bills. If your property does not have a central air system, you may want to consider installing fans in their units.  This can be a more cost-efficient solution than ACs and still keep renters cool during scorching temperatures in the summer months.

There are many ways to cut utility costs for rental properties.  We’ve put together this list for you to forward on to your clients.  Hopefully this will help them save money on next month’s utility bill!


Resources:
 EnergySavers.comEnergyStar.gov

Keep up to date with what’s new at New Empire Group, Ltd. by visiting our website, www.NewEmpireGroup.com or find us on FacebookLinkedIn & Twitter!

Check out the great Insurance Programs for Condominium InsuranceCooperative InsuranceApartment Insurance and Property Manager’s Insurance that New Empire Group, Ltd. offers!


Looking for Commercial Inland Marine Insurance?

Author AlbertoBarros , 8/14/2014
Your contractor clients move quick, really quick. Insurance agents and brokers often have only a few days or hours to quote new equipment purchases or to provide indications based on project specifications for new projects. Agents and brokers need Inland Marine resources that can offer indications on perspective builder risks, potential equipment purchases and other important Inland Marine coverage quickly and accurately to meet their client’s needs.

Luckily for you, our Inland Marine program is just what you’re looking for!

Our coverage features include:
• Builders Risk – Ground up or Rehabilitation
• Contractor’s Equipment
• Installation Floaters
• Transportation
• Fine Arts
• Medical Diagnostic Equipment
• Trip Transit
• Electronic Data Processing (EDP)
• Scheduled Property
• Warehouse Operations/Legal Liability
• Bailee’s Coverage
• Accounts Receivable/Valuable Papers & Records

To learn more about the program, visit our Inland Marine page, or contact Donard Reilly at donardr@newempiregroup.com.

How Your Body Language can be Affecting Your Production

Author AlbertoBarros , 7/23/2014
It only takes between 10-30 seconds for someone to form an opinion about you when you first meet. And it is often your body language that determines whether or not people will have a positive or negative perception of you. Being aware of your body language, especially in a business setting could be the key to making or breaking relationships and ultimately have an impact on your success.

We’ve compiled a list of the Top 5 Body Language Mistakes that people make in the workplace without even knowing it!

Poor posture – did you know that slouching over or having poor posture gives others the impression that you are insecure, lazy or generally unhappy? Although it may not always be easy due to bad backs or fatigue, try sitting or standing with a straight back and elongated neck. This instantly gives off the appearance of confidence, strength and credibility!

Avoiding eye contact – Lack of eye contact during conversation often implies deception; meanwhile studies suggest that holding eye contact while speaking to someone has an impact on your ability to persuade them.

Having a weak handshake – Try to find a happy medium, no “dead fish” or “bone-crusher” grips.

Not smiling – Smiling gives off the impression that you are approachable and trustworthy. It also stimulates your own sense of well-being.

Using big hand movements – Fidgeting or using big hand movements demonstrates weakness in the workplace. In business, small gestures tend to validate the most important points.

The way you present yourself and the proper use of body language could be your key to great success in the workplace. We hope these tips were helpful!

Do you have any body language tips that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!

To keep up to date with what’s new at New Empire Group, Ltd., visit our website, www.NewEmpireGroup.com or find us on our Social Media platforms - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter!

Is The Coverage There?

Author AlbertoBarros , 7/16/2014
Does your Property Managers Errors and Omissions program have the valuable coverage enhancements that you need to provide a comprehensive approach to the E&O needs of Property Managers?

Check out the important coverage features that our Property Managers E&O program offers that are often overlooked by other coverage forms.
  • Professional Services includes coverage for both Property Management and Real Estate activities.
  • Claims alleging Fair Housing Discrimination Act violations: Legal defense is provided up to the limits of liability. Loss, other than defense costs, is covered subject to sub-limit.
  • No exclusion for Failure to Place or Failure to Maintain Insurance.
  • Personal Injury coverage includes coverage for Wrongful Entry, Invasion of Privacy and Wrongful Eviction.
  • Consent to Settle – No maximum on carrier’s liability in the event an insured refuses to consent to a recommended settlement (subject to applicable limits).
  • The definition of loss includes punitive and exemplary damages where permitted by law, most favorable jurisdiction language, and pre- and post- judgment interest.
  • Conduct exclusions are subject to final adjudication requirement.
  • Exclusion for Bodily Injury and Property Damage does not apply to Consequential BI/PD, subject to underwriter approval.
  • Civil Administrative and Civil Regulatory proceedings are included in the definition of claims.
  • Pollution extension for Third Party Financial Loss, subject to sub-limit.
  • No Breach of Privacy exclusion.
  • Allocation – 100% Defense costs for claims alleging both covered and uncovered matters.
  • Reporting - Notice of circumstances which could give rise to a claim may be reported during ERP, if purchased.
To learn more about New Empire Group, Ltd. visit our website, www.NewEmpireGroup.com.

Check out the great Insurance Programs for Condominium Insurance, Cooperative Insurance, Apartment Insurance and Property Manager’s Insurance that New Empire Group, Ltd. offers!

New submissions can be sent to: newbusiness@newempiregoup.com

Help Your Property Manager Clients Beat the Summer Heat!

Author AlbertoBarros , 6/24/2014
Summer has arrived! With the hottest temperatures of the season set to arrive within the next few weeks, it is important to for your property managers to prepare themselves and their buildings! Extreme heat can stress property management assets beyond their limits. There are a few tips that Property Managers and their tenants can practice to minimize damages as well unplanned repair costs. Encourage them to identify potential problems before they become costly repairs.

Tips for the Building:
  • Be familiar with your local weather forecast by visiting www.weather.gov or mobile.weather.gov on your phone.
  • Run the air conditioning unit before the weather gets too hot. This allows you to test the unit while the temperature is still mild.
  • Check the irrigation and drip systems to make sure they work properly.
  • Change the air filters at least twice a year.
  • Make sure to inspect the caulking around windows and doors regularly to ensure no hot or cold air can enter or escape. Leaks can lead to higher air conditioning costs in summer.
  • Make sure your property managers are examining all property assets and have a preventive maintenance and repair schedule ready for any item likely to feel the impact of the summer season.

Remember, the most important measure in preventing a heat stroke is to avoid becoming dehydrated. If you suspect that someone has a heat stroke, immediately call 911 or transport the person to a hospital. While waiting for the emergency help to arrive, below are a few treatments you should try.

Treatments
  • Fan cool air over the patient while wetting his/or skin with water
  • Apply ice packs to the patients armpits, neck and back
  • Immerse the patient in a tub of cool water

For more tips like these to help Property Managers and their employees beat the heat, download our .pdf version of this document on our Documents Downloads page on our website (www.newempiregroup.com).

Keep up to date with what’s new at New Empire Group, Ltd. by visiting our website, www.NewEmpireGroup.com or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter!

Commonly Asked Questions About Risk Purchasing Groups

Author AlbertoBarros , 6/3/2014
We often receive questions about our Risk Purchasing Groups at New Empire Group. What are they? How do they work? Why are they beneficial? Hopefully this blog will give your clients a general understanding of Risk Purchasing Groups. While New Empire Group manages multiple Risk Purchasing Groups, most of our questions relate to our Umbrella Program RPG’s.

Here are a few of the most common questions we come across…

Q: What is a risk purchasing group, and how does it differ from a risk retention group?
A: Under the Liability Risk Retention Act of 1986, a Risk Purchasing Group (also known as RPG) is any group of similar businesses who share common risk characteristics and who join together to purchase liability insurance from an insurance company. A ‘Risk Retention Group’ (also known as a RRG) is a liability insurance company that is owned by its members.

Q: Is a Risk Purchasing Group an insurance company?
A: No, a Risk Purchasing Group is not an insurance company; it is a group of like businesses that buy insurance as a group from an insurance company. Purchasing insurance this way often results in a lower cost.

Q: How do we know your purchasing group is permitted in our client’s state(s)?
A: While RPG’s are federally authorized (Risk Retention Act of 1986) most states require that groups are registered in the state if they do business there. Our groups are registered in all 50 States. Our compliance department maintains current information about risk purchasing group filing requirements and handles all necessary paperwork on behalf of our groups.

Q: Do participants in the umbrella program share the program’s aggregate limit?
A: No. Each certificate in New Empire Group’s Umbrella RPG’s has its own aggregate limit. The aggregate limit is not shared between certificates for our Umbrella programs. Other RPG’s may differ.

Q: If one member of the risk purchasing group fails to pay its premium, will the policy be cancelled?
A: Certificates are individually billed and have no bearing on the billing and payment of the other certificates. Non-payment of premium will result in the individual insured’s coverage being cancelled, not the entire group’s.

Q: Could a large claim made by another insured lead to cancellation of my client’s coverage?
A: No, an individual claim by another certificate holder will not impact your client during their current coverage term.

Q: Who are the insurance companies used for NEG’s umbrella RPG’s ?
A: Federal Insurance Company (Chubb Insurance Group), National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA (AIG), Commerce & Industry Insurance Company (AIG) and Ohio Casualty Insurance Company, which are all A.M. Best A+ rated.

Q: How long will it take to get a quote?
A: We do our very best to accommodate any urgent need but in general, depending on the size and completeness of the submission, we can typically turn around a quote request in 24 hours.

Q: If my client joins, are they locked into the RPG program?
A: RPG membership is annual. It may be discontinued at any time.

Q: Does completion of the application guarantee acceptance in the program?
A: No. All applications are carefully reviewed by our Underwriting Team and certain underwriting criteria must be met in order to qualify for the membership and coverage.

Q: Are there any other costs in addition to the premium?
A: There are no additional insurance costs other than the premiums and individual state premium taxes. However, membership in the RPG is required and the annual membership fee is billed with the premium.

Q: Is there a common date for all members?
A: Our umbrella programs do not have a common expiration date. Typically and preferably umbrella policy terms are written in conjunction with the underlying policy terms. Again, other RPG’s and programs may differ.

Q: How do I join the RPG?
A: Our application serves as both a membership application and an insurance application.We also require a producer agreement, a copy of the agency license and the agency E&O DEC page for agents binding business with us.

Keep up to date with what’s new at New Empire Group, Ltd. by visiting our website,www.NewEmpireGroup.com or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter!

Check out the great Insurance Programs for Condominium Insurance, Cooperative Insurance, Apartment Insurance and Property Manager’s Insurance that New Empire Group, Ltd. offers!

What is an MGA?

Author AlbertoBarros , 5/28/2014
There are many different acronyms and terms that are thrown around in the insurance industry. If you are not familiar with what some call the ‘secret language’ that agents and brokers use, you may find yourself completely confused after talking with other insurance professionals. One of those acronyms is ‘MGA’ which is short for ‘Managing General Agent’. If you have ever heard this term, but are not quite sure what it means, keep reading.

According to IRMI.com an MGA (Managing General Agent) is a wholesale insurance intermediary with the authority to accept placements from (and often to appoint) retail agents on behalf of an insurance carrier. Managing general agents generally provide underwriting and administrative services, such as policy issuance, on behalf of the insurance carriers they represent. These arrangements are most common in the surplus lines marketplace. Typically, MGAs market more unusual coverage, such as professional liability, for which specialized expertise is required to underwrite policies. MGAs benefit insurers because such expertise is not always available within the company and would be more costly to develop on an in-house basis. MGAs are often hired by insurance companies to manage their business in a specific territory. It is important to keep in mind; MGAs do not compete with brokers and do not deal with clients. Instead, they are authorized to supply brokers with products to pass on to their clients.

For more information on MGAs and other insurance related topics, visit our sources: http://www.aamga.org/education/ens2; www.irmi.com

To keep up to date with what’s new at New Empire Group, Ltd., visit our website, www.NewEmpireGroup.com or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & Instagram!

How to Pitch Commercial Umbrella Coverage to Your Clients

Author AlbertoBarros , 5/21/2014
Property Managers, Property Owners, Coop Boards and Landlords research and deal with many different types of insurance policies for their property. One of the most commonly overlooked (and one of the most important) types of insurance is the umbrella insurance policy. It’s important to let your client’s know that primary coverage may not be enough to cover them in the event of a catastrophic claim. This is where their umbrella insurance would come into play.

Also called excess liability, a commercial umbrella insurance policy can give your clients additional liability coverage above the primary liability policies in place for their business. Generally, those policies may be their general liability policy, employer’s liability, and automobile liability.

Try providing an actual claim scenario that is pertinent to your insured’s business or exposures to try to persuade them into buying the coverage.

Once you’ve developed the need for a commercial umbrella, how do you decide how much coverage they need? Several factors come into play when determining the appropriate excess liability coverage. These factors include the type of business they own, the coverages they already have in place, as well as the assets of the business.

While standard coverages will generally take care of most situations their business will encounter, the most sophisticated agents at least offer umbrella coverage to their insureds annually. You may want to mention that New Empire Group provides a wide variety of Real Estate umbrella programs. Our Real Estate Umbrella program has limit options of $1 million, $5 million, $10 million, $15 million, $20 million, $25 million, $50 million, $75 million and $100 million for Community Associations, Apartments and most Real Estate risks. Coverage is provided through the nation’s top carriers on an admitted basis in all states.

Talk to any of our knowledgeable associates about our commercial umbrella program, it could be the key to preserving your client’s company in the event of a serious claim.

To learn more about New Empire Group, Ltd. visit our website, www.NewEmpireGroup.com or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter!

Hurricane Season is Rapidly Approaching…

Author AlbertoBarros , 5/16/2014
The 2014 Hurricane season begins on June 1st! Now is a great time to remind your client’s to review their coverage since hurricane’s are so closely associated with insurance. The hurricane season will last through November 30th. Although each hurricane season is unique, you should prepare the same way every year because these powerful tropical storms that are predicted wreak havoc on communities when they make landfall. It is beneficial that severe weather such as hurricanes and tropical storms can normally be tracked days ahead of any impact which provides ample time to prepare for a potential evacuation. In spite of such warnings and tracking, each year thousands are left unprepared for these devastating storms and have to deal with their aftermath.

Let your client’s know that generally, there are three essential steps to disaster and emergency preparedness:

1.) Have a disaster supply kit – Click here to download our Disaster Preparedness Checklist

2.) Develop a plan for what you, your personnel and your family will do prior to disaster striking.

3.) Stay informed during severe weather however you can.

The American Red Cross has created a ‘Hurricane App’ which is a great source of information during severe weather.
It is crucial to be prepare for each storm the same way. Be sure to check your client’s insurance policies ahead of time to ensure they have the coverage they need.

New Empire Group, LTD. offers coverage for Property Managers, Community Associations and Apartment Building Owners! Double-check your General Liability and Umbrella coverage to make sure you don’t end up with any uncovered claims!

To see what’s new at New Empire Group, LTD. visit our social media sites – Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter!

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