What's News In Forest Grove?

Computer Operated Car

September 9, 2013

CadillacSafetyTechnologies07.jpgA computer-operated car has taken a Pennsylvania congressman for a ride.

Representative Bill Shuster made a 33-mile trip from Cranberry Township to Pittsburgh International Airport at about 11 a.m. Wednesday in a self-driven car designed by Carnegie Mellon University.  Shuster is the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and he was accompanied by Barry Schoch, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The Cadillac SRX was driven along local roads and highways by a computer that uses inputs from radars, laser rangefinders, and infrared cameras. The car reached speeds of 65 mph, and a Carnegie Mellon engineer was in the driver’s seat as a safety precaution. Check out the video of the experience here!  It’s a little long, but pretty amazing.

So what does this mean in the future for insurance rates?  We all know that rates for teens and the elderly are higher.  Does this mean rates will flatten out and come way down as a result? It is going to be interesting to see how this technology evolves and how it affects your insurance costs.  I’m guessing it means good things.

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Excellent Small Business Advice

August 13, 2013

Jim BlasingameJim Blasingame, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Small Business Advocate® Show, wrote a guest column in Forbes this morning.  Excellent advice if you own a small business.  Call us so we can run you through the ins and outs of this coverage!

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July 31, 2013

I smell a rat.  Did SAIF lose a big account to the trust?  Something just doesn’t seem right with all of this and I’m sure (at the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist) there is more to the story.  The trust has saved Oregon employers lots of premium dollars and we need more competition in Oregon to keep driving down costs. 

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Oregon’s largest workers compensation self-insurance trust, with about 200 employer members, must increase its security deposit by Aug. 7 or face decertification, potentially leaving its members (over 1,000) liable for existing claims.

Oregon’s Department of Consumer and Business Services warned in a letter mailed Friday to members and former members of the Oregon Employers Trust Inc. that the trust’s state-required security deposit must increase from $3.2 million to $3.95 million by Aug. 7 or the employers will have to purchase workers comp insurance effective Aug. 8.

So far the trust has not been able to meet the requirement, according to the state which has begun preliminary measures to decertify. The trust is administered by Empire Pacific Risk Management Inc.  Members of such trusts are “jointly and severally liable” for the group’s liabilities, meaning if OET stops operating then individual members and former members are liable for all claims not covered by the trust’s security deposit.

The trust encountered financial trouble because assessments or premiums paid by members are not adequate to cover future claims “given the significant increase in the group’s membership and potential risk,” according to state documents.  In 2012, Oregon notified the trust that it had to increase its security deposit from $791,000 to the current $3.2 million due to membership growth and increased potential for claims.  The trust’s 200 employer members account for nearly $829 million in annual payroll and range from small nonprofit organizations to large businesses, including agriculture, construction and manufacturing companies, according to the state.  (businessinsurance.com).

 

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Referral Program Update

July 17, 2013

Sparky NegotiatorWe recently updated our referral program and MADE IT EVEN BETTER!

You all know that we give away $10 Fred Meyer gift cards for a referral, but now we are matching that with a $10 donation to a local charity.  If you want all of the details on our referral program, including the $500 Visa gift card, click here.

From July 1st to September 30th our charity will be the Bonnie L. Hays Animal Shelter in Hillsboro.  Our office had considered several other charities, but Sparky is a tough negotiator, and we decided we liked our office furniture the way it is…

In all seriousness, though, Bonnie Hays is a great organization and we are pleased to support it.  Please keep the referrals rolling!  We have given away over $1,000 already this year!

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Play “Find the Insurance Agent” and Get a Starbucks Card

July 10, 2013

Brian OfficeA couple of weekends ago I went to Fete de la Musique, an event hosted by the Portland French Alliance.  There were three stages, lots of music, crepes (for you Ricky Bobby fans out there those are really thin pancakes and apparently pretty good–heheh), and beer and wine.  I brought my wife, Beth and my daughter Lauren.  It was a lot of fun.

OK.  So here’s the deal.  Click on this link and scan through the photos.  How many photos am I– Brian — in?  The first three people to post the right answer will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card.  But here’s the catch.  In addition to guessing the correct number of photos, you ALSO have to say something different about one of the photos.  Something like “Look at that chrome dome between the two gorgeous ladies in photo 17! ”  That way I’ll know you actually looked and didn’t just copy the answer!!!  Same goes for the captions.  Have fun!

-Brian

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Are You Protected if You Borrow a Neighbor’s Lawnmower?

July 8, 2013

Riding LawnmowerHere’s a question for you.

Your riding mower conks out when you’re almost done mowing the yard, so your neighbor loans you their mower to finish the job. You have an accident with the mower, injuring a neighborhood child. Does your ISO (Insurance Services Office- the industry standard for policy language) Homeowners 3 policy cover the potential liability? What if you loan your neighbor your mower, he injures someone, and you’re sued as the vehicle owner? Any coverage under your HO policy? Or what if you join some fellow members of the congregation to mow your church’s lawn. You have an accident and are sued. Any homeowner coverage?

The answer to this series of questions depends on which ISO homeowner edition date applies to your policy. ISO’s most recent homeowner edition dates are 1991, 2000, and 2011 and the coverage for the use of riding lawn mowers is different in each policy. Whether you have coverage for the use of a riding mower depends on which edition date applies AND on how the mower is being used at the time of the occurrence. If it’s not an ISO homeowner policy, then all bets are off and you’ll have to read the policy carefully.

About as clear as mud, right?  So aren’t you glad you have an agent at Pacific Insurance Partners you can talk to?!

Please call us to discuss this question and any others you might have.  It’s why we are here and we love to help!

 

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British Bar Owner Sued for Seeking Employee with Knowledge of British Culture

June 25, 2013

longbowI read an article in the insurance press yesterday that really irritated me.  Here’s the gist.

A British bar in New York was served a $2,500 fine after advertising a position that sought someone with knowledge of British culture.  Bar owners Michael Colbert, originally from Wales, and wife, Jennifer, were fined by the New York City Commission on Human Rights for discrimination violations after the bar last year posted on ad looking for a bartender with specific skills.

“…Energetic and enthusiastic men and women with an appreciation of craft beer,  good food, whisky and real football (aka soccer),”  the Craigslist ad read in part, according to the New York Times. “Being British definitely works in your favor.”

As a result of this ad, The Long Bow Pub & Pantry in Brooklyn, self-proclaimed as New York’s only Welsh bar, paid the fine last week after facing more than $7,500 in fines plus legal costs if it were to take the case to trial,  according to a statement on the bar’s website.

In addition to the fine paid for by the Long Bow, the State of NY required the bar owners to pay for and attend anti-discrimination training classes.

“We were left with no choice yesterday but to accept the original $2,500 offer,” said the statement.  “Free speech is not so free after all it seems.”

“While the Long Bow has enjoyed an enormous amount of free advertising over the past couple of months, it is our hope they … understand that discrimination in this city is illegal and at the end of the day violators will pay,” New York City Human Rights Commissioner Patricia Gatling told the BBC.

OK.  How ridiculous is this?  To me, a British pub seeking an employee with knowledge of British culture is no different than requiring typing skills for a data entry position.  Right?  What am I missing here?  Here is a link to the Long Bow’s blog statement and here is a link to a NYT article.   If I lived in NY I would love to go in for a beer.  Fish & Chips look pretty good, too!

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Hillsboro Hops

June 18, 2013

Hillsboro HopsA friend recently sent me a link to a CSNNW video highlighting the new Hillsboro Hops stadium.

I have to admit,  I have been VERY skeptical about this stadium because I had heard that the entire infield was turf– no dirt on the base paths at all– just the pitcher’s mound.  So I clicked on the link and listened to Dwight Jaynes rave about how great it was and my left eyebrow was arched so high it almost got stuck… but when he took us inside?  Not so bad, actually.  Yes, it is turf  “dirt,” but the stadium is open air, which makes a difference.

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like watching a sporting event (in person or on TV) when it is in a dome.  I went to the King Dome once, back in the early 90’s, and never went back.  Way too sterile after 20 years spent watching baseball played at Fenway Park.  And I cringe a little when the Red Sox play the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida or the Pats are playing in New Orleans or Minnesota.   Is it the lighting?  Maybe a little bit.  After all, who likes florescent lights?  For me, though, I think I like the elements.  I like how the wind can blow a fly ball around or how the sun can get in an outfielders eyes.  I like watching planes fly overhead, and maybe a little sun on my face. And snow during a football game?  Awesome!

Anyhow, you can watch the video here.  Let me know what you think– and make sure you friend us on our Facebook page.  I’m going to be giving away some Hops tickets soon!

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FGHS Tennis Tournament & BBQ

June 3, 2013

Brian_FGHS Tennis_BBQBrian and his wife Beth had a great time playing in the annual mixed doubles tournament this past Saturday.

It was great seeing all of the kids and parents who came to root on their teams and scarf down a hot dog or two.  The boys and girls teams are loaded up with so many nice kids and Brian absolutely LOVED helping Coach McKinnon teach the boys how to play tennis this year.  Hopefully lots of kids will sign up for summer tennis this year so he can do some more volunteering!

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Memorial Day

May 23, 2013

Forest Grove FlagDo you have plans for Memorial Day?

We will be joining the Forest Grove Fire & Rescue personnel on Monday, May 28th, at 12:30 pm for a ceremony at the Community Flag Pole.  It has been confirmed that F-15 fighter jets from the 142nd Fighter Wing in Portland will be flying over our flag at 1:00 pm to celebrate with us!

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