Pay-As-You-Go Car Insurance?

Sure, you’re a safe driver. You may even get a discount for being a safe driver; but, what if your auto insurance company was able to calculate your rates based on your driving habits? Everyone knows that insurance costs are based on several different factors such as age, marital status, and even the number of accidents that happen in your area can influence your insurance rate.  However, insurance companies have now found a better way to calculate risk (and give some awesome discounts in the meantime) by personalizing the rate based on the way YOU drive! Many carriers are offering a device to plug into your car for them to analyze how you drive and then rate accordingly. They will look at things like how fast you drive, how often you drive, how frequently you brake, etc.

There are some great benefits of telematics (that’s what it’s called, by the way!). First, the obvious, you can earn some really sweet discounts for good driving habits. Second, it is reducing insurance fraud across the industry (which, again, helps with rates). Third, it can help recover stolen vehicles more quickly. Lastly, it is opening up conversation on great teaching opportunities. We can all learn new things, and having telematics in your vehicle can show you areas where you become a safer driver - whether it’s on hard braking, speeding, time of driving, etc. Plus, it can also be a great tool for our new teen drivers to help them adopt good driving habits!

With news like that, what can be bad? As great as those options are to improve the insurance industry, you’d be right in thinking that there might be some challenges. First, there are some drivers who are concerned about their privacy. In this digital age, there are many ways to track information, like smartphones, GPS devices, and social media, but it can make some clients a little nervous to allow that type of information sharing for your vehicle. Second, you may not save anything or have your rates increased. An aggressive driver that commutes during rush hour traffic at long distances could actually have their rates increased for the extra risk exposure.

So, to monitor or not to monitor, that is the question! By and large, this is a great opportunity for many drivers to lower their insurance costs. It is transforming the auto insurance industry with no sign of stopping. Be sure to speak with your Bouchard agent to see if your policy has an option for telematics and how that could possibly affect your auto insurance rates.

About the Author

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Christin Snow is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Christin is experienced in all lines of personal insurance. | Connect on LinkedIn

How to Attract & Retain Talented Workers in an Ultra-Competitive Job Market with Employee Benefits

With today’s thriving economy and competitive job market, it can be difficult to attract and retain talented employees. At Bouchard, we believe the consideration of benefits in addition to traditional health insurance plans to address this challenge is a worthwhile exercise.  Offering creative benefits packages can be a great way to keep millennial employees engaged and productive. Below are “outside the box” benefits ideas that your company may not be offering but your competitors might be.

Four Day Work Week

At many companies, the traditional 8 to 5, Monday through Friday work week is a thing of the past. Flex time and shorter work weeks can lead to a more creative, punctual, and productive workforce according to companies like Treehouse, a technology education company. Treehouse implemented a 32-hour work week in 2006 and has been praising its success ever since.

Nap Time

Many people remember nap time as a perk of kindergarten, not a perk of the real world workplace. However, companies like Google, Facebook, and even the Huffington Post have installed nap pods for employees to use at work. Older generations coined the term “sleeping on the job” as a negative stereotype, but millennials are embracing a more flexible view on responsibilities and actually find themselves more productive after catching a couple z’s on their break time.

Student Loan Repayment Programs

As the student loan debt crisis grows in America, many companies are capitalizing on this opportunity to bring real value to the lives of their employees. A recent survey by Oliver Wyman found that 45% of employees say student debt repayment is the most desirable benefit a company can offer - even more desirable that retirement contributions and health insurance.

Paid Paternal Leave

New fathers are now being considered for parental leave at some large companies including Twitter, Etsy, Netflix, and the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. These companies offer between 20 weeks and a full year of paid paternal leave.

Free Parking & Complimentary Cars

Whether it’s a carpooling program, like Tesla offers, or Facebook’s valet service, helping employees find cost effective parking options can be a great employee benefit, especially for companies located in large cities.

Free Food

More and more companies are finding the key to a productive workforce is through their stomach. Dropbox, LinkedIn, and many other technology companies are offering free meals and snacks to employees throughout the day.

Paid & Encouraged Travel

It may come as no surprise that companies like AirBnB would offer $2,000 a year to cover travel expenses, but other companies like software-maker, Qualtrics, have jumped on board to offer employees money to spend on experiences each year.

Gym Memberships

Companies are finding innovative ways to help their employees stay healthy. Reebok, Apple, and Microsoft all offer money, memberships, or classes to employees to help them stay in shape and happy.

Remote Work

Working Remotely is quickly becoming a popular work perk. Major companies like Hilton, Dell, Amazon, and Williams-Sonoma all offer this benefit to their employees. You may be surprised to know that about 43% of Americans worked from home at least once in 2016, according to Gallop.

Game Breaks

What better way to keep your employees engaged than to offer game breaks where employees can have fun and build comradery with their fellow co-workers. We’re not talking about a foosball table, deep in the basement of an office building. Adobe Systems, for example, has a fitness center, basketball court, and even a rock climbing wall at their Utah campus.

With millennials making up the largest portion of the labor force, companies must be willing to adapt their Employee Benefits strategy to keep up with the changing desires of employees. Did you know that the average person switches jobs over 10 times during their working career? What are you doing to make your company attractive to these “job hoppers”?

About the Author

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Max Miller is a Sales Executive at Bouchard Insurance. Max specializes in Property & Casualty, Workers’ Compensation, and Health Benefits for large commercial accounts. | Connect on LinkedIn

Bouchard Insurance receives Florida Well Being Award Two Years in a Row

For the second year in a row, Bouchard Insurance received First Place in the Florida Well Being Award in the under 500 employee segment of Cigna clients. This honor recognizes companies for exceptional commitment to improving employees' physical and emotional health through workplace wellness programs. Bouchard was presented with the award Tuesday, August 28, at the Omni Orlando Resort.

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Applicants were evaluated based on the core components of their wellness program, including the goals, implementation, incentives, leadership engagement and employee participation. All applications were reviewed and judged by an internal, multi-departmental review committee from Cigna.

Bouchard is honored to be recognized by Cigna.  Health and wellness is an integral part of our culture and our programs help employees achieve their goals and improve their overall quality of life. We're passionate about our employees' well-being and take every opportunity to celebrate their success.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. employers lose more than $225 billion each year in productivity due to employee health problems. Cigna created the Well-Being Award to recognize employer clients that have a positive impact on the health and well-being of their workforce.


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Beth Patterson is the Agency Coordinator for Human Resources at Bouchard Insurance.  Beth and the HR team have been a critical part of the wellness strategies we have implemented internally and believe it makes us a better employer and partner in the communities we serve. | Connect on LinkedIn

Kids, College, & Coverage

The day has finally come! You’ve spent 18 years preparing your child for life on their own and you did a great job; or you wouldn’t be here, right? Their bags are packed with everything they need (and then some!) and you’ve given them every piece of advice your brain can possibly hold, trying to anticipate every crazy life event that could possibly happen (or not happen!) over the next several years.  You’ve covered all the basics, but did you cover insurance?

kids going off to college

Car Insurance

Generally speaking, a child can remain on your car insurance policy as long as they are a full-time college student and your address is still their primary residence. Whether they take a car to school or not, it is important to notify your agent. They still need to remain on your policy to have the proper insurance protection in the event they drive a friend’s car, are hit while walking or riding a bike, or come home for the holidays and have access to your cars, among many other possible scenarios.

While away without a car, they are eligible, with most carriers, for a substantial discount on your car insurance. If they do have a car, updating the garaging information on your policy may help you.

Lastly, grades matter! Maintaining a 3.0 GPA qualifies them for a Good Student Discount. This could be a great “carrot” to entice them to hit the books a little harder!

Their “stuff”

There are no issues if your child continues to live with you. Their belongings are covered under your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance. If they stay in an on-campus dorm, it is still not an issue. Most home or renter’s policies will extend up to 10% of your personal property coverage to cover their contents; just make sure the limit on your policy is enough.

However, what if they decide they’re ready for their own place?  Own place = Own insurance. You may want to talk to your agent about a renter’s policy for them, which will also include liability coverage in the event someone is hurt. Many college rental communities now require renter’s insurance and even offer an option to have it added onto the rent.

Regardless if at home, in a dorm, or in their own place, be careful with things like jewelry and musical instruments – these may need their own special coverage! 

Whatever your situation, Bouchard is here to help you navigate this exciting time. Give our team a call!

And finally…CONGRATULATIONS on making it to this new chapter in life!

About the Author

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Kristie Pauly is the Vice President of Personal Lines at Bouchard Insurance. Kristie's team focuses on protecting individual's assets through all lines of personal insurance. | Connect on LinkedIn

Water Can Be Murky

Water seems like a very simple topic to discuss, right? WRONG! When it comes to insurance, not all water is the same. According to the Insurance Service Office, water damage claims are the second most frequent type of claim, behind wind and hail damage. Because of this, we want to make sure you are educated on the different types of water claims.

Since water damage can be so severe and is very common (particularly in Florida!), many carriers now exclude or limit coverage for different types of water damage. Check out a few of the most common types of water claims below.  As always, each policy can vary in the wording on what is and is not covered, so please reach out to us with any specific questions about your policy.

  • Rain damage in home. Recently, many carriers have limited the coverage for rainwater damage. It all depends on HOW the rain got into your home on whether it is covered or not. Many carriers exclude rainwater damage unless there is an opening in the home through which the water is entering.  For example, a tree limb punctures a hole in a roof and water enters the home through the hole in the roof, this, typically, would have coverage.
  • Pipe or appliance leaking. This is as simple as it sounds! You have an appliance that is leaking or a pipe that burst in your home. This is covered under most home insurance carriers!
  • Toilet or other drains backing up into your home. This is, most likely, caused by a blockage in the pipes. This may or may not be covered. It depends on if the blockage is within your pipes or if the blockage is on the public water main. You may need a “water backup” endorsement to broaden or add the coverage to the policy.
  • Flood water is seeping into my home from the outside.  True flood damage is water rising from a body of water or when the ground is not able to absorb water fast enough and then it’s forced into your home. This is a coverage that is not included in a standard homeowner’s policy and must be endorsed or written separately. 

It is also important to know that many carriers exclude water damage when a home has been unoccupied for 30 days or more prior to the loss. This is why it is important to turn off your water and drain appliances when you are leaving for an extended period of time.

We hope this gives you a little more insight into what water damage can consist of. Again, reach out to us for any questions about your specific policy!

About the Author

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Christin Snow is a Personal Lines Account Manager at Bouchard Insurance. Christin is experienced in all lines of personal insurance. | Connect on LinkedIn