Archives for James Dickey

Celebrating Cinco de MayoTexas and Mexico have a long history together, from Spanish colonies in both places in the late 1600s, through the Texas Revolutionary War against Mexico, to the current $41 billion per year in Texas exports to Mexico.

So it’s no surprise that in Texas any major “celebration of Mexican heritage and pride” is celebrated widely.

It may be a surprise to you, though, that while Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862, it’s NOT Mexico’s Independence Day, which is September 16. Given the long and rich history Texas and Mexico share, though, it probably should not be surprising that the victorious commander of The Battle of Puebla, Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, was born in Goliad in 1829.

Cinco de Mayo is primarily a regional holiday celebrated only in the city and state of Puebla, and “is a holiday that is virtually ignored in Mexico”.

You Never Know What Will Catch Fire

The Battle of Puebla was a relatively insignificant event. The French forces were beaten back, but they did capture Puebla only a year later. It’s not even a national holiday in Mexico. Yet on this day each year millions of people, of Mexican heritage and not, will celebrate the day in the United States.

What has caught fire with your clients? Are you trying different ideas? The only way to know what will work is to test many options. When one does catch fire – run with it! Next thing you know you may have a surprise holiday of your own.

What has surprised you? What has resonated with your clients that you didn’t really expect? Share your experience in the comments.

And in Springtime, that means really big hail.

Hail-compared-to-quarterLarge-hail-in-handLast night, less than one week into Spring, the first large hail storm swept in from Oklahoma, covering an area from Sherman to Denton.

There were reports of hail stones as large as baseballs and softballs. Many areas reported golf ball sized or larger. While the damage caused by such a storm can be severe, it’s far too often only made worse by unscrupulous people preying on those dealing with the storm’s aftermath.

According to the Texas Department of Insurance, fraud after a storm like this “can range from shoddy repairs to price gouging. In the worst cases, people offering services to storm victims may simply take their money and run.”

How Can You Avoid Fraudulent Storm Damage Contractors?

  • Start with a call to your insurance company to get an appraisal on what your repairs should cost.
  • Use local companies and check their references and contact numbers.
  • Get written estimates. These should be on the company’s letterhead with clear contact information.
  • Get more than one bid. This will help you gauge which offers are legitimate and which may be too high or too good to be true.
  • Don’t pay the full amount in advance. Legitimate contractors may require a partial payment up front to get started, but your final payment should not be made until the job is finished.
  • If you feel pressured or threatened, call the police.

Public Adjusters

Another concern is fraudulent activity by licensed public insurance adjusters and unauthorized individuals or entities acting as public insurance adjusters. Texas law prohibits public adjusters from participating in the repair process to prevent conflicts of interest. For example, roofers may not act as public insurance adjusters, or advertise that they will handle the insurance claim for you.

Report Insurance Fraud

If you have information about insurance fraud, file a complaint with TDI’s Fraud Unit online or by calling 1-800-252-3439.

 

If you’re an iMGA agent, make sure all your Dwelling, Homeowners, MobileHome, Renter and Vacant personal property insurance customers are properly covered.

If you’re not yet an iMGA agent, go ahead and start the process to become one now.

 

Springtime in Texas is beautiful.

It can also be fearsome.

2016 was a particularly tough year for spring thunderstorms in Texas. San Antonio alone was hit by two major hailstorms last year. The first hammered the northern metro area April 12 with hail up to 4.5 inches in diameter, or the size of grapefruits.

A second hailstorm on April 25 swept through western parts of San Antonio and impacted some of the same locations. Some areas saw tennis ball or baseball-sized hail, though overall the storms were not as impactful as what San Antonio experienced in the first storm.

A supercell thunderstorm spread a long swath of damaging hail through north Texas on April 11 as it moved just to the north of Dallas-Fort Worth.

The town of Wylie, Texas, was especially hard hit with hail up to the size of softballs.

Nearly all of the windows in this Wylie, Texas, home were knocked out by the April 11 hailstorm. (Twitter/@WylieBear1)

So, enjoy Springtime in Texas, but also be prepared. If you’re an iMGA agent, make sure all your Dwelling, Homeowners, MobileHome, Renter and Vacant personal property insurance customers are properly covered.

If you’re not yet an iMGA agent, go ahead and start the process to become one now.

 

St. Patrick's Day Four Leaf CloverSt. Patrick’s Day – also known as the Feast of St. Patrick – celebrates and commemorates the life of the patron saint of Ireland.

Captured and sold into slavery in Ireland during the 5th century, St. Patrick escaped. Later he returned Ireland to bring a message of redemption and hope to his adopted homeland.

Kidnapping. Slavery. Forgiveness. National impact. It’s little wonder that his story and memory lives on 16 centuries later.

We don’t have a story that dramatic at iMGA, and we haven’t been around that long. We do, though, have a history of making it as easy as possible for Texas independent insurance agents to meet the Dwelling, Homeowners, MobileHome and Renters needs of their customers.

With our Admitted and Non-Admitted solutions we’re not working miracles or chasing out snakes, but we are providing coverage for hard-to-place risks and offering unique additional coverages like People and Pets.

So if you’re an iMGA agent with a challenging risk, give us a try. If you’re not, go ahead and start the process now.

Who knows, you might be extra lucky!

Texas has many options for Spring Break. From beautiful solitude and remote nature to fun-loving crowds on beaches, at amusement parks and film and music festivals, there’s no shortages of great getaways and entertainment in the next couple of weeks in the Lone Star State.

Spring Break is a time to relax and have fun – and there’s plenty of fun to be had!

But the last thing your clients need is to spend their week off worrying about whether their homes and properties are protected – or worse yet, coming home to damage or theft that isn’t covered.

So, take a few minutes before they head out to make sure all their policies and coverages are in order, and that they don’t have any pending cancellations.

Of course at iMGA we’re ready and able to help you. Just log in today to quote an admitted or non-admitted Dwelling, Homeowners, MobileHome, Renters or Vacant policy, or check their policy status.

If you’re a Texas independent insurance agent that does not yet represent iMGA, please contact us today.

 

Texas Spring Break

 

Texas Flag with BuildingOn March 2, 1836, Texas earned its freedom from Mexico – becoming an independent nation.

The independence came after the Battle of San Jacinto, thanks to the victory of General Sam Houston and his men. That battle followed the stand at the Alamo, where Colonel William Barret Travis and his men valiantly tried to hold off a force many times their size.

Before his death at the Alamo, Colonel Travis sent one last letter, that read in part:

I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch … If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country— Victory or Death.

Because of that spirit the words “Remember the Alamo” still carry enormous weight for millions of Texans. What we do matters, the end result matters, but why we do it and how we do it matters too.

At iMGA we’re proud to be Texans, proud of our heritage and independence, and proud to work with great independent agents across the state. Especially today we wanted to take just a moment to say so.

 

image courtesy of imagesbywestfall

Roof Hail DamageTexas Governor Greg Abbott gave his State of the State address this week and brought up a topic that most politicians might not:

One reason Texas attracts so many jobs is because of the strides we’ve made on tort reform. But our work is not done.

Hail-storm litigation is the newest form of lawsuit abuse.

To reduce the economic havoc, I want legislation on my desk that limits abusive hail-storm litigation.

Gov. Abbott is right – hail storm lawsuit reform is desperately needed.

We’ve seen lawsuits claiming:

  • losses long after the roof has already been able to be replaced with the insurance proceeds,
  • damages to non-existent garages,
  • fraud and abuse by adjusters who never handled the claim,
  • poor adjusting service on losses that were never even reported to the insurer (sue first, file claim later),
  • and much more.

Every one of those lawsuits costs many thousands of dollars to defend no matter how baseless.

All of this only enriches a handful of lawyers and makes it much harder for us to provide affordable coverage for homeowners who are not abusing the system.

It must stop.

You Can Help

Please contact your Texas legislator and ask them to listen to you, us and the Governor and enact hail lawsuit reform this session!

Seven years ago today iMGA issued our very first policy. Now, tens of thousands of customers later, we’re ready to begin our best year yet by far. For us, and our agents, seven is really turning out to be a lucky number.

Our Homeowners, Dwelling, MobileHome, Renters and Vacant non-admitted products have been refined and offer the broadest range of coverage options in the market. With these products iMGA agents are now able to provide their customers the absolutely unique People and Pets accidental death coverage. Full details on People and Pets – with up to $75,000 in additional coverage – is available on our agent dashboard. Just log in and follow the People and Pets Endorsement link.

Agents in most of Texas are now also able to offer their customers great new admitted Homeowners, Dwelling, MobileHome and Vacant product alternatives through iMGA.

Our incredible team has built strong relationships and deep experience servicing the needs of independent agents across Texas over these past seven years, and we’d all love to put that experience and expertise to work to serve you.

If you’re already appointed with iMGA, please take a moment to quote a customer with us. If you’re not, please contact us to learn more about what we have to offer and how we might work together.

The new year brings an opportunity to think about the kind of environment we’d like to create for ourselves and those we impact.

For many that means New Years Resolutions. At iMGA we’d prefer to focus on goals – goals we’ll take concrete steps to accomplish. Here’s some of what we have under way for our agents in 2017:

Improved Competitiveness

For the first time since our Non-Admitted Homeowners, Dwelling, MobileHome, Renters and Vacantprograms were introduced, we’ve been able to avoid broad rate increases for the coming year. As our competitors raise their rates, therefore, you should see iMGA’s quotes providing the best solution for your clients even more than usual. Plus, we’ve just introduced our Admitted products, providing a real alternative in terms of coverage and pricing, for your personal lines Homeowners, Dwelling, MobileHome and Vacant customers.

New Product Features

One of the advantages of Non-Admitted products is the ability to provide coverage for items, like mold and slab, that are not provided in the standard market. We have been testing a significant new product enhancement that is the first of its kind and truly unique in the market. As soon as it’s ready to introduce, we’ll have much more to say on that front. In the meantime we’re hard at work and looking forward to bringing it to you and your clients.

New Products

Insurance needs grow and evolve as technology, the marketplace and the environment change. There’s been plenty of that kind of change over the past few years, and in response we’ve been working on three new product programs. We’ll roll each of those out during 2017 as they become available, along with the training and information to ensure you’re able to confidently offer them to your clients.

 

2017 promises to be an amazing year for iMGA and our agents, and we can’t wait. Happy New Year!

 

270 years after the birth of Christ, Christianity had spread throughout the Roman Empire. Part of that expansion included Lycia, on the Mediterranean coast of what is now Turkey.

A wealthy couple in the town had one son, Nicholas. He grew up devout, and after his parents died, was raised by his uncle, the local Bishop. As a young man he went on pilgrimage to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Shortly after he returned he was named Bishop of the region, and in 325 AD, he was one of a small group of Bishops who attended the First Council of Nicaea at the request of Emperor Constantine. Those bishops developed the Nicene Creed at that meeting, a statement of faith that is still used worldwide to this day.

Nicholas gained a reputation for helping others. The two most famous stories about that include one where in the middle of a severe famine he arranged to distribute desperately needed food to the entire community. In the other he changed three local girls’ lives by secretly arranging to provide the money for their dowries so they could marry and avoid being sold.

He died on December 6, and that day was commemorated for over a thousand years.

In medieval times nuns used that night to deposit baskets of food and clothes anonymously at the doorsteps of the needy. By the 1500s it was a common practice in Holland for children to put out their shoes on the 5th, to discover gifts that St. Nicholas had left for them on the morning of the 6th. Dutch immigrants brought the gift-giving ways of St. Nicholas, also known by his nickname Sinterklaas, to America in the 1700s.

Here St. Nicholas went through many transformations. Eventually Sinterklaas became Santa Claus, and the gift-giving tradition was merged into the Christmas holiday. His place in our holiday and our minds was cemented by the 1820 poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas“, better known now by it’s beginning line: “Twas the Night before Christmas“.

We won’t all be remembered for millennia for the actions we take in this life. Even if he’d never been remembered by strangers, Nicholas did make life-changing differences to those around him. At Christmas, and as we plan for the new year, that’s a good thing to remember.

We too can change lives of those around us, one at a time. The opportunities are there.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

 

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