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 Why use a Broker? - January 31st 2017

Go through a broker.

Go Direct (INSURANCE COMPANY/BANK/BUILDING SOCIETY)

  • Impartiality – a Broker is not biased towards or against any particular insurer
  • Cannot offer Impartiality - a Direct operation can only offer the products of their own operation and so are BIASED in their approach
  • Independence – a Broker is independent and offers advice on the market as a whole
  • Not Independent - a Direct operation cannot act independently as they can only sell their own products
  • Choice – a Broker has full access to the insurance marketplace and can therefore offer the consumer choice
  • Cannot offer choice - the Direct operation can only sell their own products which does not offer choice to the consumer
  • Personal Touch – a Broker will take time out to assess and understand the needs of the consumer and offer advice on risks to be insured
  • Call centre staff or Direct operation staff will also assess the consumer's needs but can still only offer their own products to the consumer which may not suit his/her needs as well as another company's may.
  • Product Range – a Broker has access to a variety of companies products and so can compare and contrast different offerings of different companies in order to advise the consumer of the best policy to take out
  • A Direct operation will have products on offer also but they will only be THEIR OWN products and as such the consumer is not getting a full picture of what is on offer in the market place
  • Reasons Why – a Broker will offer a consumer a “reasons why” document outlining all the options available to him/her and the reason why the broker is advising one policy and provider over another
  • A Direct operation can only provide "reasons why" on their own products and can therefore only advise on their own products.  The consumer may therefore feel he has the best advice he/she can get and as a result not "shop around" as advised by the Central Bank
  • Best Price – a Broker will find the best price for the most appropriate product from the best Product Producer in the market to suit the consumer
  • The Direct operation can only provide a single price for a specific product and not necessarily from the best Product Producer in the market
  • Market Service Standards - a Broker knows his market and can assess which Product Producer provides the best quality service for the Consumer
  • A Direct outlet can only sell its own service or its Product Producers service
  • Claims – In this most important area of all which deals with the key reason for the purchase of the product in the first instance a Broker will guide the Customer through the claims process and effectively manage the claim on the clients behalf.. taking away the burden and stress of claims handling from the Consumer
  • When dealing with a Direct operation a customer must handle the claims process themselves, a process that often leaves clients bewildered and confused and at a disadvantage to negotiate settlements and conflicts that may arise.


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Credit - Property Casualty 360

Friday December 16th 2016 

There are so many things that can distract you while you are driving especially at this time of year. You are thinking about how many Christmas presents you have left to buy, what to make for dinner, Oh look – there is some lovely Christmas Lights! You get the picture! We have put together a list of  some of the most common distractions that cause accidents on our roads – Always avoid the following:

Texting – Don’t be afraid to turn off your phone! If you must have your phone on, make sure not to read or answer any text messages or calls until you reach your destination.

Grooming – There are a lot of mirrors in your car but please remember they are for your safety, not for applying your make up or checking out how great you look today!

Noise – Make your drive time your quiet time. Loud music and noise can easily break your concentration

Eating and Drinking – We know how handy McDonald’s and Burger King Drive Thru is but please park and eat or wait until you reach your destination. Never eat and drink while driving as it can easily result in you being involved in an accident.

Driving while Angry – If you have had words with a family member or friend it is always a good idea to wait until you cool down before getting behind the wheel of your car as your concentration will not be fully on the road!

The fact is, everything that occupies your vision as well as your mind can contribute to distraction behind the wheel! Always take your time while driving and always concentrate on what you are doing to ensure you arrive safely at your destination!

Thursday December 15th 2016 

So... you’ve called the insurance company, got your quote and setup that brand new policy. You must be delighted, and so you should be! Don't leave it at that though; always look at the policy documents your Broker or Insurer send to you. Have a look at our tips about the importance of reading over your policy documents.

With the amount of pages and text that make up your policy documents, it’s understandable that most of us take a quick glance before it ends up gathering dust in a press or cupboard. Does this sound familiar?

At McMahon Galvin, we want our customers to fully understand the importance of their policy by reading and understanding what their cover is all about. We know that people sometimes don’t understand their policy, but that’s where we come in. Our advice will put your mind at ease and we can help you understand anything you are unclear of.

Know the details: We know insurance policies can be difficult to understand but knowing what you are signing up for can save you a lot of time and money. It can be a good idea to read the ‘definitions’ section of your policy first. When you familiarise yourself with all the confusing terminology, understanding your document can be a doddle.

Read about your cover: Do you know what you’re covered for? Can you list some or all of the benefits or exclusions on your policy? Most policy holders only have a vague idea. To avoid this, read your policy documents thoroughly. If you don’t, there may be confusion in the event of a claim.

Conditions and exclusions: Your insurance policy is just like any other legally binding contract. There are always conditions and exclusions, no matter what type of insurance policy you have. Make sure to read your documents. By doing so, you’ll be aware of both yours and the insurer’s responsibilities and rights. Not reading them could lead to a claim being made void.

Got a question, why not request a call back? Here at McMahon Galvin, we know that even if you have read through your documents, you might still have questions. Why not give us a call on 01 836 3326 and an experienced member of staff will be happy to help.

 

Wednesday December 14th - Over Insurance V Under Insurance

Being over or under insured can cost you a lot of money, but in very different ways!

As the economic climate begins to slowly improve, now has never been a better time to check if your home is either under or over insured. If you haven’t changed the building sums on your Home Insurance policy for many years, it is possible that you could be over insured.

If you have reduced your sums insured in the last few years in light of falling house prices without considering proper advice, you may be at risk of being under insured.

Either way, being over insured or under insured could cost you a lot of money! If you are over insured you could be spending more money than you need to and if you are under insured you could risk losing a lot of money when you need it most.

Over insurance: This occurs when a policy holder insures their home for more than the cost needed to rebuild it. This is a waste of money on two fronts. Insurers are only obliged to pay out a maximum claim equal to the rebuild cost of the property.

In simple terms, you would not be able to ‘profit’ from being over insured in the form of an increased pay-out.  Over insuring also unnecessarily increases your annual insurance premium for no extra benefit.

Underinsurance:  This is when the building sums of a Home Insurance policy is less than the insured property’s rebuild cost. Although the premiums of under insured policies are lower, such policy holders are putting themselves at risk of serious financial loss. This is due to a term known as Average Clause.

The average clause reduces the amount of a claim by the percentage difference between the rebuild cost and the sums insured. An example of how Average Clause works would be as follows:

Mr. Lynch has to claim for storm damage costs to the value of €10,000 to repair his house and his house is insured for €150,000. The full rebuild cost is €200,000 therefore the following will apply €150,000/€200000 by €10,000 = €7,500. Mr. Lynch then becomes responsible for the balance needed to repair his house.

People often underinsure for two reasons; to either reduce the cost of their premium or because they're unaware of the true value of their home and its contents. When searching for home insurance cost will naturally be a big factor, but it should not be the only one. There's nothing worse than hearing about someone who has taken out cover, only to discover at claim time that they're underinsured. That's why it's really important that you get the right level of cover to begin with!

We hope that this helps you when deciding on the amount to insure your home and contents for. We would recommend you review your sums insured when arranging a new policy and then again each year at renewal to ensure that the sums insured are adequate. 

Tuesday December 13th - Advice for Burst Pipes

Preventative measures – Prevention is better than Cure!

Water freezing and expanding in the pipes is by far the most common cause of burst pipes. If you’re going away and the temperature’s likely to drop below freezing, keep your home’s central heating at a minimum of 15°C (59F) for a few hours each day. Consider completely draining your system if you're going to be away for a long time over the winter. Lagging your attic, cold water storage tank and water pipes can also reduce the risk of freezing. Leaving your attic hatch open and allowing warmer air to reach it can be enough to prevent the temperature from getting critically low.

What to do in the event of Emergency

Shut off the water

If you have a burst pipe, the first thing you need to do is turn off the water at the mains by shutting off the main stopcock. This will stop the flow of water into the house and prevent any more coming into the pipes. If the flow of water continues, drain the cold water in the system by flushing the toilet several times and running all the cold taps until the flow dries up. If any electrical sockets are affected, turn off the main electrical supply immediately.

Contact your insurer

If your home is damaged by the water, contact your insurer as soon as possible. Some insurers have a 24 hour home emergency helpline that you can call for advice in an emergency. Check your policy to see if you have Home Emergency included!

What happens next?

Once you've stopped the flow of water, contact a reputable professional plumber (or get one through your insurance company) to assess the damage and make immediate repairs.If water has reached power sockets, call out a certified electrician. Don't use any appliances which have come into contact with the water. If you want to claim on your home insurance for any damage, be sure to contact the insurer before you arrange for a plumber and/or an electrician to visit. If your insurance policy offers a home emergency service, the insurer may be able to contact a reputable professional plumber or electrician for you. Your insurer will either give you the go-ahead to make repairs, for which you should keep receipts, or will arrange for a loss adjuster to come and examine the damage in person. If a Loss Adjuster is appointed, they will then inform the insurer on the extent of the damage and the insurer can then get on with settling your claim.

Putting things right

Getting your home back to normal after damage from a burst pipe can take time.

Cleaning and drying out: some cleaning is likely to be needed and the affected areas could take several weeks to dry out. To speed up the drying process, give walls, floors and furniture enough space for air to circulate.

Stripping out: furniture and fixtures which have been damaged will need to be stripped out and damaged plaster removed.

Repairs: It may be some time before your house has dried out enough for you to start cosmetic repairs. Walls need to dry fully before they can be replastered and redecorated.

Don't forget: You should avoid throwing damaged items away immediately, as they’re used to help validate the insurance claim. Take photographs of any damaged items and keep all receipts etc. for your Insurer. Do not carry out any repairs other than emergency repairs to prevent any further damage until your Insurance Company gives you the go ahead.

We hope that you never find yourself having to use these tips but if you do – we hope it helps!

 

Monday December 12th - Christmas Shopping Safety Tips

There are several key times each year when people spend time shopping in stores and online for the perfect gifts for their loved ones and Christmas is probably the most popular time. 
 
While it is easy to get caught up in the fun of it all, it is important to remember that with increased purchasing comes heightened risk of theft. Thieves on the prowl throughout the Holiday Season are on the lookout for packages left in your car or outside your home. Not only that, but personal identity theft can also increase this time of year. Have a look at some of our tips for keeping you and your purchases safe this Christmas! 
 
When making a purchase online, if the retailer provides the option, choose a specific delivery time. If purchasing from a larger retailer, consider having your package delivered to a local store for pick-up. Take advantage of delivery alerts so you can be notified when a package arrives at your home. If you are not available to accept delivery, ask a trusted neighbor to take your package inside for safekeeping.
 
Your parked vehicle can be a prime target for thieves. They will often break windows or punch locks to gain access to items left in plain view. Open windows and unlocked doors also can make your car an easy target. To help reduce the risk of theft from your vehicle, always lock your doors, even if you are quickly running in somewhere, and be sure to put the car windows up when leaving it unattended.
 

Park your vehicle in well-lit, high-traffic areas and away from larger vehicles, trees or bushes. Thieves can target cars parked in isolated areas in order to “work” without drawing attention.

Do not keep any items — including your purse or wallet — in plain view as clearly visible items can catch the eye of a thief. Be sure to stow and secure all items prior to reaching your destination. Also, be sure to remove any portable accessories, such as GPS units and stereo faceplates, when leaving your car.

To help reduce the chances of falling victim to ID theft, limit the amount of personal information you carry in your wallet or purse to only what you will need for each shopping trip. Always take credit card and ATM receipts with you. Do not throw them into public trash containers or leave them on the counter as thieves can pick up the receipt.

Guard your credit card or debit card when making purchases or using an ATM. Shield your hand when typing in personal identification numbers. It is critical to always be aware of who is around you, as some identity thieves have been known to copy credit card information or even use cellphone cameras to snap pictures of cards.

Try to keep these tips in mind during this Festive Season and enjoy shopping safely! 

 

Friday December 9th - Christmas Decorations Safety Tips

Christmas is a magical time of year where family and friends catch up and spend time together. Safety in the home at this time of year may not be to the forefront of people’s minds when they are trying to relax and enjoy themselves but it is important to address it as the festive season means a lot of activity that is out of the norm in your home.  Have a look at some of our tips for keeping you, your family and your home safe this Christmas:

Christmas Lights

Only buy Christmas lights marked with a reputable safety standard and remember not to overload electric sockets.  Unplug all lights and other electrical appliances before going to bed at night or when leaving the house.

Christmas Trees

Use a sturdy base to display real Christmas trees and ensure to add water to the base if possible to prevent your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. 

Outdoors

Only use outdoor lighting that is marked as suitable for exterior use.  Use only exterior extension leads and fasten all leads securely to prevent damage if bad weather occurs. Moisture build up can cause issues too so place connections in a covered place or manually cover them. 

Candles

Candles are a simple way to make your home look festive but they need to be looked after responsibly. Keep them well out of reach of children and pets on an appropriate candleholder placed on a stable, heat-resistant surface.  Keep the candle wax pool free of wick trimmings, matches and debris as these can build up. Never place a candle on top of a TV set and keep well away from curtains. Always extinguish unattended candles before leaving the house or going to bed.

Other Christmas Fire Safety Tips

Every home should have a smoke alarm but even if your home has one, it should be checked regularly and especially at Christmas with the increased risks.  Avoid burning used wrapping paper in the fireplace as once crumpled up it can expand again quite quickly and be in danger of falling out of the fire.  Strings with Christmas card displays look pretty but can be a danger if hung close to candles or fires as they also fall easily.  As food and cooking are so important at Christmas, be sure to clean your oven thoroughly as the build-up of fat and deposits can ignite - especially with so much use over the festive season.

Christmas should be a happy time for spending time with your family and attending to these details will help to ensure that this Christmas is a Happy and Safe one for all!
 

Thursday December 8th 2016 - Trips, Slips and Falls in the Workplace

The safety and well-being of your customers and employees should be one of the major concerns and objectives of the day-to-day operation of your business.

Not only can the potential injury result in pain and suffering for the injured customer or employee but these accidents reflect adversely on your business. In addition they also impact your insurance claims experience!

There are many precautions you can take to protect your employees and your customers from a slip, trip or fall and we’ve outlined the obvious below:

Inside your business

Spillages: Whenever there's a spillage it should be cleaned up immediately. You should also look to place a sign near the area so people are aware they need to take extra care. It's also a good idea to investigate what caused it and see what can be done to avoid further spillages.

Lighting: Employers need to ensure that all floors are well lit, so that everyone can clearly spot potential hazards, such as spills and obstructions.

Stairways: Stairways are a very common location for accidents to occur. You can look to minimise the risk by making sure that stairs have handrails, non-slip marking and slip resistant covers. They should also be well lit.

Cables: Most workplaces are filled with cables for computers, monitors, telephones and printers. It's really important that all trailing cables are safely tucked away to avoid people tripping over, falling and injuring themselves.

Outside your business

Your car park and any outside stairs should be your main areas of concern when it comes to the control of slip and fall accidents outside the building. Car parks should be clean and level without potholes which could cause customers to trip and fall. In the event of snow or ice, make arrangements to have the snow removed as soon as possible. There should also be adequate lighting for the dark nights.

Here are some frightening statistics from the Health and Safety Authority (HSA)

  • Every working day five people are hurt in workplace slips, trips and falls
  • Every working day one person is so badly hurt that they miss over a month from work
  • Slips, trips and falls are the second highest single cause of workplace injuries
  • There are more than 1,400 workplace slips, trips and falls reported each year

Last but certainly not Least – Make sure you have adequate Public and Employer’s Liability Cover in place! Please call us today to speak to one of our experienced members of staff about your Insurance Cover needs. 

Thursday December 1st 2016 - Understanding Car Insurance Terms

We here at McMahon Galvin Insurance Brokers know that sometimes the language used by the Insurance Industry can be confusing so we thought we would put together a list of terms used for Car Insurance to help you understand your options and to help you understand exactly what you are paying for.

Third Party: Third Party Insurance is the most basic level of cover for your Car. It insures you in the event that a claim is made against you, such as property damage and personal injury. 

Third Party Fire & Theft: Third Party fire & theft provides you with the same as Third party but it includes additional cover for fire, theft, attempted theft and damage to your vehicle included. 

Comprehensive: This is the highest level of cover that you can get for car insurance. In addition to offering all the benefits of a Third Party Fire and Theft Policy it also covers damage to the insureds’ vehicle in the event of an accident. Windscreen Repair and Breakdown Assistance are usually included with most Insurers.

Social, Domestic and pleasure:  Allows you to drive your car privately, for your own personal use.

Class 1: Covers the policyholder for social, domestic and personal purposes and use in connection with their business but excludes the carriage of goods or samples. 

Class 2 – Business use: Covers the policyholder for social, domestic and personal purposes and use in connection with their business including the carriage of goods and samples. 

Policy Excess: This is the amount of money you are required to contribute towards a claim. For instance, if your excess is for €250 and you’re claiming €3,000, the insurance settlement you’ll receive will be €2,750. 

Voluntary Excess: You can set this to reduce how much you pay out in the event of a claim or you can increase how much you pay out in the event of a claim which may help reduce your premium.

No Claims Bonus (NCB): This refers to the amount of years you have held an insurance policy without making a claim. You will receive a reduction in the cost of your premium based on the number of years you have been claim free.

Protected No Claims Bonus: Protecting your NCB allows you to make a number of claims during a period of time without affecting your NCB years. 

Step Back Bonus Protection: Step back bonus protection means that if you make a claim or someone else make a claim against you, you will lose part of your no claims bonus. The no claims discount will be generally stepped back from 5 years back to 2 years depending on which Insurance company you are insured with. 

Introductory No Claims Bonus – A discount on the premium offered by an insurance company in recognition of a number of years of claims free driving as a named driver on another policy.

Temporary Substitution – The substitution of a different car on to your existing insurance policy while your insured car is being repaired or serviced.

Permanent Substitution: The permanent change from your existing car to a new car you have purchased. 

Additional Temporary Driver – The addition of another driver who is not named on the policy for a temporary period of time. 

Material Fact – Any fact which could influence the insurance premium or the insurance company’s decision to offer insurance.

Policy Schedule: This is a document which outlines the cover provided under your policy. It will show details of the policyholder, the cover given, any relevant limits, the sums insured and the policy excess.

Renewal:  This means continuing your policy from one year of risk to the next.

Fault Claim – A claim where the insured is assumed to be responsible for the accident or the insurance company cannot recover the costs from the individual responsible.

Non-Fault Claim – A claim where the insured is not to blame and the insurance company can recover costs from the at fault individual.

Approved repairer: A garage recommended by your insurance company for car repairs covered by your  insurance policy

Windscreen Cover – Covers the insured for the replacement or repair of their car’s windscreen should it become cracked or broken without affecting any no claims bonus.

Breakdown Assistance – A service which provides roadside assistance in the event your car breaks down. This may include a roadside repair or towing your vehicle to the nearest repair Centre.

Driving Other Cars (DOC) – This is a policy extension that allows the policyholder to drive a car which is not owned by them or their spouse or a car hired or leased to them. (This does not apply to named drivers on your policy) Some insurers don't offer this as a standard policy feature, so make sure you're covered before getting behind the wheel of someone else's car. It's also worth noting that when it is included, you usually get third party only cover.

The Central Bank of Ireland: The Central Bank of Ireland is the Financial Regulator for Ireland’s financial services companies including insurance companies.

We hope that this list comes in useful. We believe in being clear and informative. If you require any further information please call us on 01 8363326 where you can chat with one of our experienced members of staff.

 

Tuesday November 29th 2016 - Insuring your Engagement Ring 

Christmas seems to be a popular time of year for getting down on one knee! So whether you plan on popping the question over Christmas or you have recently gotten engaged, we have a few tips to insuring your engagement ring!

Decision Making: Deciding to get married is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make and choosing the right engagement ring is very important too. Try to keep the 5 C’s in mind – Carat, Clarity, Cut, Colour and Contents Insurance! Don’t worry we here at McMahon Galvin understand how stressful looking for the perfect ring can be so if you take care of the Carat, Clarity, Cut and Colour we will take care of the Contents Insurance!

Valuation: It is very important that you get your ring valued. We would recommend popping down to your local Jeweller and requesting a valuation. This will come in handy should you ever need to report a claim.

Sizing: Once you have popped the all-important question and placed the ring on your fiancées finger we would recommend that you ensure that the fit is just right. If the size needs adjusting we would recommend that you have the ring resized as soon as possible to reduce the chances of it slipping off the finger.

Photograph: We would recommend that you take a photo of the engagement ring and keep it safe with the valuation. It might also be an idea to send a photo of the ring along with a copy of the valuation to your Insurer as the photo will come in handy in the event of a loss.

Insurance: Have a read over your insurance schedule to determine if your ring will already be covered under your home or contents insurance policy. In most cases your ring will need to be valued over a certain amount for it to be noted as a specified item on your policy and if it is over a certain amount, some terms and conditions may apply.

Contact us here at McMahon Galvin where you can speak to one of our experienced members of staff who will gladly advise you on the best way of ensuring that your engagement ring is insured adequately.

 

Monday November 28th 2016 - Cyber Monday 

As today is Cyber Monday we thought we would post about Cyber Crime which is currently the fastest growing Crime in the 21st Century. We attach a link to a programme which recently aired on RTE One which  highlighted some serious concerns around IT security and also showed some examples of the havoc that can be caused when a security breach occurs.

http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/hacked-30004360/10649865/

Every day, we see news headlines about data breaches and cyber security issues. Web-connected activity can be a risky business and it's getting more complicated all the time. Everything used to be dominated by computers and servers, now we have big data, cloud computing and social media.

In a world of information and information systems, the cyber threat is now a fact of life for all businesses dealing with electronic data held on computers, servers or online. Here at McMahon Galvin we recognise the cyber risk threats that modern businesses are facing and we are in a position to offer a Cyber Insurance product for you and your business.

If you are a business who is looking to improve your online security and add additional insurance cover against cyber-attacks why not call us today on 01 8134402 to talk to an experienced member of staff who will be happy to go through any concerns or queries you may have. 

 

Tuesday November 15th 2016 - Security Advise for Business Properties 

Security plays a fundamental role in protecting property and businesses, so safeguarding against possible incidents occurring is crucial. Here are some security tips that you should be thinking about right now for safeguarding your business:

Alarms: This goes without saying. Making sure you have a security alarm system in places ensures that your business is not left exposed or unprotected.

CCTV: It might be an idea to consider installing live recording CCTV at your premises

Opening/Closing of your business: Be extra vigilant when opening/closing the store. It’s common for criminals to force staff inside and get them to open the safe or tills. Close up at night and leave the till drawer open when the shop is closed. It is a good idea for employees to open/close the business together as thieves are less likely to enter your business if there is a group of people opening/closing together.

Keys: Never leave keys in an unsecured location and change locks if keys are lost.

Lighting: Having good lighting in place is essential from both a security and safety standpoint.

Mirrors: Strategically place mirrors in locations where both you and your staff can view as much of your premises as possible during peak time

Staff: Train all employees on what to do in the event of an emergency so they can react effectively to an emergency situation.

Trying to get inside the mind of people gives you a great insight into how they think. This especially true of potential thieves. As the saying goes, "To catch a thief, you have to think like one"!!

Last but not least - Insurance: As always, we cannot stress how important it is to have the right insurance in place. We here at McMahon Galvin know how important it is to have your business properly insured and at a competitive price. We have access to a range of insurers who are both competitive on price while offering some great benefits. Contact us today for a quotation.