We Now Offer Pet Insurance

We now offer Pet InsuranceIf you are like most pet owners, you know how costly a trip to the vet or animal hospital can be. Pet insurance helps ensure that you can give your dogs and cats the quality care they need, from routine checkups to emergency services.

Only five rating variables are needed to obtain a policy: zip code, dog or cat, breed, age and gender. The pet insurance policy covers accidents, illnesses, and hereditary and chronic conditions (a waiting period may apply to knee and ligament conditions). You can also add an optional preventative care with no deductible at an additional cost.

If you are interested in finding out more about protecting your furry friends (and assets), call your MetzWood Advisor at (518) 392-5161.

Managing Risk: Domestic Staff

Housekeepers, nannies, caretakers, and other domestic employees can help make life easier, and often feel like a part of the family. However, from a risk management perspective, these full-time employees present additional exposures that you will want to make sure you have covered.

Workers Compensation

Workers Compensation provides funds in the event of an on-the-job injury. It is required in New York State for anyone you employ that works over 40 hours.

NY Short-Term Disability

This is also a mandatory policy for any employees that work over 40 hours. It will provide compensation for off-the-job illness or injury benefit.

Employment Practices Liability

An Employment Practices Liability policy provides defense and coverage for allegations of discrimination, wrongful termination, harassment, and other employment-related issues. Contact your advisor if you have domestic employees and we can help you craft a plan to ensure you are properly protected.

Staff Accomplishments

CongratulationsTracy Ruggiero completed the 2017 Ironman Lake Placid, a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a marathon as the cherry on top!

Tammy Russell completed her fourth half-marathon this summer. A personal best time.

Matthew Wood won his second Club Championship at Columbia Golf & Country Club.

Yvette Belardo obtained her Kundalini Yoga teaching certification after 200 hours of training.

Derick LaTorre joined the board of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce.

Jamie Leader walked in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk for the 24th year, in memory of her brother Jason.

Thank You For Your Referrals for Good Causes

Referrals for Good CausesWe’re celebrating the anniversary of our Referrals for Good Causes program. Since we presented our first check in 2016, you’ve helped us raise over $3,846 for several local non-profit organizations.

Here’s how it works: For every referral MetzWood receives, we donate $10 to a different local non-profit, and we choose a new group semi-annually. Every referral that we receive through the end of 2017 will be donated to Community Hospice of Columbia-Greene.

Additionally, we will be donating $1 for every new like we receive on Facebook, so please consider liking us at Facebook.com/metzwood.

We love referrals and we appreciate the confidence you have in us when you recommend MetzWood to your family and friends. To find out more, and to refer your friends and family, visit metzwood.com/refer.

MetzWood Selects PURE Insurance as a New Additional Company

MetzWood recently appointed PURE Insurance to represent and insure our clients for Personal Insurance.

Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE) is a policyholder-owned insurer dedicated to creating an exceptional experience for responsible high net worth individuals and families. Their product suite includes best-in-class, customizable coverage throughout the U.S for high-value homes, automobiles, jewelry, art, personal umbrella liability, watercraft, and flood.

PURE was founded by some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the industry. They combined their experience, insight, and perspective to challenge the industry’s conventional thinking.

PURE recognized that policyholder-owned companies consistently delivered the greatest value and customer satisfaction. Further, they recognized that the leading specialized companies could offer broader coverage and more personalized service. PURE combines the best of both.

The appointment of PURE – alongside Chubb, Cincinnati, and others – adds to MetzWood’s strength in providing top tier products and service to the high-value home market.

And Now… Some Words From Our Customers

“Quick, responsive, helpful, and personable claim service. My agent came by my house himself to help me figure out the best way to proceed. What more could I ask for?” – Christie E.

“I have always valued my relationship with MetzWood. They are a top-notch insurance agency. All requests were reasonable and handled professionally. Love them!.” – James A.

“I couldn’t be happier. I thought customer service was dead, but this was a great example of what all customer service experiences should be.” – Chris M.

“My agent is always available to assist us, no matter whether we pop in, call or email. Our issues or concerns are immediately handled. I wish there were more people like my agent scattered throughout the rest of my world!!!” – Sharon K.

Uber in Upstate?

Consider your coverage

Uber and Lyft Driver's InsuranceThe NY State Senate and Assembly voted to allow ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft to expand across New York. At the time of writing, the bill is awaiting the Governor’s approval, which is expected.

Accordingly, Uber and Lyft are building their infrastructure for Upstate NY. You may receive solicitations for these companies asking if you would like to be a driver. Before signing up, it is best to understand the insurance implications of driving for these ride-hailing services.

Your personal auto insurance policy covers you when you are driving your vehicle for personal use, but they exclude coverage for “livery” – using your vehicle for hire or delivery. Uber and Lyft provide coverage for the duration of a trip, once you have a customer in your vehicle. The grey area, or gap, in coverage comes when you have your app turned on and are actively looking for riders, but have not yet picked up a passenger. You are actively operating the vehicle for livery purposes, which triggers the exclusion in the personal auto policy, and the Uber and Lyft policy only responds once there is a passenger in your vehicle.

No personal auto insurance companies in NY currently offer coverage if a vehicle is driven in whole or in part for livery. If you already have a personal auto policy and your company finds out that one or more of the vehicles are being used for livery, they may not renew your policy. The best option for proper protection would be to buy a commercial auto policy specifically for livery.

These ride-hailing apps could have a great impact in our area – reducing the rates of drunk driving, getting visitors from Hudson to the rest of Columbia County, and providing good freelance jobs.

If you are considering driving for Uber or Lyft, be sure to reach out to your MetzWood advisor to make sure that you have the proper coverage in place.

A Smart Alternative to One-Time Travel Insurance

Travel InsuranceTraveling is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. However, along with all of the positive things that come with travel, there also comes plenty of uncertainty. Medical emergencies, trip cancellation due to inclement weather, unforeseen political turmoil, and other events can turn your dream vacation into a nightmare.

The standard Travel Insurance products now available typically provide coverage for one single trip. The cost of this “one-time” policy is usually around 10% of the total trip cost.

The alternative to this option is an annual policy called “Passport 360”, available through Chubb Insurance. Passport 360 covers all of your trips during the year and you pay only one annual premium (ranging from $350-$700, depending on coverage levels).

Passport 360 is a comprehensive package with no prior trip arrangements required. It allows you to travel freely without worry of coverage during any travel crisis. If an injury, illness, or another unfortunate situation interferes with your trip, Passport 360 is the one plan to handle it.

You can travel confidently no matter where you are or what you need when you have a plan in place. Passport 360 provides insurance protection to surround you with solutions for travel’s many “what ifs.”

Passport 360 was previously only offered to Chubb policyholders as a unique benefit. This year they have made it available for purchase to all MetzWood customers.

Please contact a MetzWood advisor at (518) 392-5161 to learn more and take advantage of this great policy.

9 Timely Tips to Winterize Your Home and Reduce the Risk of Loss

Winterization Basics

  • Have a written service agreement in place with your local heating contractor for automatic delivery of fuel.
  • Service your furnaces and boilers at least annually.
  • Clean your chimneys and flues annually to prevent deadly chimney fires.
  • If you do not have a Central Station Alarm for your entire house, at a minimum install a low temperature alarm monitor that will alert you when the temperature in your home becomes dangerously low.
  • When you know you’ll be away from home, plan to have someone check your house regularly.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Each Fall, begin to winterize by draining and shutting off pipes flowing to outside faucets.
  • If you expect to be away for an extended time period, leave faucets dripping slowly and leave all doors with pipes behind them open (for example: sinks) to expose plumbing to warmer air temperatures.

Additional Considerations

  • Be diligent about maintenance of all smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Reduce the chance of ice and snow build-up on rooftops by:
  1. Clearing rain gutters of leaves
  2. Removing snow and ice

Password Management for Digital Peace of Mind

Password Management - Computer SecurityWe have all encountered the (first-world) problem that is managing all of the passwords that come with our digital universe. It seems every site and service requires their own unique username and password. We know that using a weak password, or even repeating a strong one, puts our digital identity at risk. One of the best ways to balance convenience with having unique and secure passwords is to consider using a Password Management software.

Some of the most popular Password Managers include the services 1Password and LastPass. There are many others but the functionality is more-or-less the same. Use one strong password that you can remember to unlock your “password vault.” Your vault houses all of the passwords and usernames that you need to remember. In addition, these services have plug-ins for most major web browsers (even on your phone) that will automatically enter your login information.

Not only does having a Password Manager make organizing and remembering passwords easier, it also allows you the ability to generate new secure passwords for each site you visit. Because you are able to enter your passwords in your web browser using a plug-in, you don’t actually need to remember your password. And since you don’t need to remember your password, you can make it as complex and secure as you want.

Several employees at MetzWood utilize these services and we are currently investigating options for use in our business. For more information and how-to instructions, you can visit bit.ly/metzwoodpass.