How to Find the Best Illinois Homeowners Insurance Company

How does one choose the best Illinois homeowners insurance company? It is certainly important when buying homeowners insurance in Illinois to get the company out there that will best fit your needs.

There are approximately 12 million people in the state of Illinois, thus making it one of the most populated states in the central region of the United States. With so many residents we can assume that the demand for homeowners insurance is very high. But with so many companies out there how can we get to the one that is best for us?

In this article you will be given a few tips and important information to assist you in this important process of choosing the best Illinois homeowners insurance company for your needs.

Financial Ratings And Illinois Homeowners Insurance Companies

When we speak about homeowners insurance in the state of Illinois we are speaking about a multimillion dollar industry. Because of this it is very important for you to get a company that is in good shape financially. Having an Illinois homeowner’s insurance policy is basically a way of protecting you and your family from any unexpected catastrophe or accident that might happen. Because it is based on the future it is important to see how well a homeowner insurance company is doing in the present.

A company that is excellent financially will more than likely not have any problem when it comes to assisting you with a claim or giving you money right away after an accident. Companies without good financial ratings usually take a little bit more to deliver the reimbursements after a claim.

There are several ways in which you can check a company’s financial strength. You could either call the company and ask an agent for the latest financial rating figures, or go online and search in their websites. There are also rating companies such as A.M. Best, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch, etc; that will allow a customer to search for any insurance company and get their ratings. It is important to highlight that because a company is known nationally it does not mean that they are in good financial standing. You must always check first before making any assumptions.

The Yellow Pages And The Internet Can Help You In Your Search For Illinois Homeowners Insurance Companies

You might be asking yourself how to find the best IL homeowner insurance company out there in the market. The fact of the matter is that every person might have a different feeling about a certain company, and for this reason the best thing to do is to try and research each company that sparks a little interest in your. There are two ways in which you will be able to search for the company that is best for you.

One of them involves getting your local yellow pages and searching for insurance companies. Before actually deciding on which one is good for you try giving them a call and speaking to their agents. If you find that the company interests you at least a bit, then go ahead and visit them personally. Once you are there you will be able to clarify some doubt on how the company works. Do the customers seem happy with the treatment they receive? Are the agents knowledgeable of the insurance industry? Is the place in a clean and organized condition? Do they offer good customer service? Are there any awards on the walls? By just looking for certain things you will be able to make a prediction of each company.

The other way in which you can do some research and try to find the best company for you is to log online and search Google or Yahoo for homeowner insurance companies in you area of Illinois. After you do that you will be able to visit company websites and research about their history, awards and the path to their present success. Some companies will even allow you to see the plans and some discounts. It is important to mention that almost all companies nowadays will let you get quotes online or give you a number on their website where you can call to apply for a quote.

Select Illinois Homeowners Insurance Companies

This last section of the article is specifically designed for the people that want examples of the many companies available in the state of Illinois. It is important to understand that these are just some of the companies and that there are many more out there. You will be able to see the history and the rankings of each just to give customers a better understanding of the importance that each of those two factors have in the Illinois homeowners insurance industry.

American Family Insurance: This Company has been on the main map of insurance in the United States since October 3, 1927. It was on that date that Mr. Herman Wittwer decided to start selling insurance products to farmers in the state of Wisconsin. The reasoning behind this was that farmers were driving less than other drivers and they deserved lower rates. The company kept growing and nowadays they also offer homeowners, life annuity, health, business, ranch and farm insurance. Presently they also have more than $4.8 billion in policy holder equity. $15.5 billion in assets (according to their website) and they also operate in 18 states of the country extending from the Pacific State of Washington all the way to Ohio by the Great Lakes. They claim to employ an estimated 8,200 people and another 3,975 agents. With more than nine million policies in force, this company will only keep growing.

Madison Mutual Insurance Company: This company just like the other was founded in the 1920’s, but the only difference is that it has been a steadily contender of property and casualty insurance in the state of Illinois. They have kept growing at tremendous rates simply because they have been expanding their products and providing customers with excellent customer service. At the end of calendar year 2006 they had written $32.7 million in premiums and had approximately $71.4 million in assets. All through the state of Illinois they offer insurance in 131 independent agencies and with the help of 398 qualified licensed agents. The company is expected to keep its tremendous grow through the entire state and it is expected to start expanding to other states as their assets become larger.

There Are Many Top Illinois Homeowners Insurance Companies

As said before there are many homeowners insurance companies out there in the state of Illinois that will do all they can to provide coverage to the many people that are house searching within the state. When looking for the best company for you, always look at their history and financial ratings (remember that rating agencies can help).

The Best Way to Pick a Florida Take Out Homeowners Insurance Company

Citizens Property Insurance is Florida’s state run home insurance company. It was formed to offer home insurance coverage to consumers unable to find coverage from a private Florida home insurance company. Homeowners in Florida turn to Citizens for coverage due to one or more risk factors that make their home undesirable to private insurance companies. These risk factors include among other things – the home’s age, distance from the coast, construction materials, and roof type.

Citizens Property Insurance depends on a mix of pre-event hurricane borrowing and imposing after the storm surcharges on all Florida home insurance policies if it doesn’t have the money it needs to pay claims.

This potentially lethal mix of high risk homes along with being under funded is one of the reasons that it’s always been a good idea to try to reduce the number of policies in Citizens Property Insurance. The smaller the number of policies that the company has, there is less chance that policyholders across Florida will have to pay large special assessments for many years after a major hurricane.

One of the ways that is done is by encouraging private home insurance companies to assume or “take out” policies currently covered by Citizens Property Insurance – hence the name “take out companies”. The take out process is also referred to as depopulation.

Attracting companies to assume or take policies out of Citizens Insurance Florida is good public policy.

In addition to moving more of Florida’s wind risk to the private market, customers may also get better customer service from a private take out company that doesn’t have a massive base of over 1 million customers like Citizens. They are also usually rewarded with annual insurance premiums that are lower than what they were paying Citizens. Finally, policyholders with private insurance companies are subject to smaller special assessments after major hurricanes.

Florida take out home insurance companies come to life with an immediate customer base of policyholders without having to make the usual investments in marketing and adverting. When these companies are initially capitalized, its easier for them to raise money because investors know that the take out companies will have an immediate customer base and money coming in immediately after they assume policies from Citizens.

Despite all the good that comes from reducing the number of Florida home insurance policies in Citizens Property Insurance, the take out program is not without its problems.

Policyholders are often concerned about the financial stability of the take out insurance companies. Many are start up companies and have a small surplus available to pay claims of $20 million or less. With Florida hurricane claims averaging $30,000 or more, even after a company’s reinsurance kicks in, there might not be enough money to pay all of the claims.

A significant number of take out companies were created after Florida’s 2004/2005 hurricane seasons. Policyholders are concerned that if their home has a hurricane claim in 2009, that their home will be “on-the job” training for the customer service staff at these newly formed companies – inexperience that could cause delays in paying claims fairly and prompty.

Many of these take out companies milk the policy base they assume and never go on to write any new business beyond the policies they take out of Citizens. Companies that don’t diversify their policy base beyond the original take out policies are more vulnerable to collapsing after a major Florida hurricane.

Last but not least, Florida insurance agents who originally wrote the policies that are being removed from Citizens might not want to become an agent with the new take out companies – even if it means they will lose the business. They simply might not want to add a new company to the mix of companies they already represent. Or they could have real concerns about the financial stability of the new take out company. The agent can’t stop consumers who want to benefit from a take out offer. However, an agent’s reluctance to be an agent with a particular company should at a minimum cause a consumer to pause and move forward with caution.

Here are the questions you should be asking your current Florida insurance agent if you are with Citizens and you are sent a take out offer – before you decide whether to move your Florida home insurance from Citizens to the new take out company:

How long has it been in business? Has it ever handled Florida hurricane claims before? If so, how many customers have filed complaints against that company for inadequate customer service.

How financially strong is the take out company? What are its financial ratings? How diversified is the company’s policy base across both Florida and other states? Are the policies being assumed by the take out company in North Central Florida, or in hurricane ground zero along the South Florida coast?

If your agent is not willing to become a new agent of one of the take out companies, that alone should be a warning sign to you. By taking this position, your agent is risking the loss of the commission your policy. Find out from your agent why they don’t want their agency to accept an appointment with the new take out company. The answer your agent gives you, might tell you everything you need to know about whether you should accept the offer from the new take out company.

Last but not least, ask your agent if there are any other Florida home insurance companies who might want to cover your home. The private home insurance market in Florida is always changing and there might be other companies now covering homes like yours that are a lot more stable.

Don’t forget, if you don’t bother to investigate these take out insurance companies, you will be the one that could be living with an unpaid claim after the next Florida hurricane.

Vehicle Insurance Fraud in Russia Affects Both Insurance Companies and Their Customers

Today car owners in Russia are facing an unusual and ridiculous problem, massively. It often occurs that owners cannot obtain an insurance coverage for their cars because of the shortage of blank contract forms, as insurance companies’ managers are telling them. Such cases were completely unknown just three years ago. Russian lawyers community is investigating this problematic situation which affects the growth of Russian vehicle insurance segment.

Such shortages of blank forms are usually occurring in case one is trying to get a minimum compulsory third-party liability insurance (or OSAGO) contract. So what could cause the so-called ‘shortage’ of blank forms for this type of insurance contract? It appears that it is not the fault of insurance companies’ printers; the reason is the greed of insurance companies which have developed a peculiar ‘marketing scheme’. They are taking advantage of the problems of car owners who are obliged to obtain this insurance according to the law.

So, the shortage of blank forms of OSAGO insurance contracts is being created in purpose. Insurance companies are taking this step in order to boost sales of other their products and services. Particularly, when a customer comes to an insurance company wishing to get an OSAGO contract, he or she is then proposed to sign a life, health or property insurance contract as well. And in case the customer refuses from this additional service, company’s managers say that there are no blank forms for OSAGO contracts. The customer cannot verify this statement of course and has either to agree getting this extra insurance service or just leave.

Basically, in such a situation car owners can complain to the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service of Russia, the Central Bank of Russia or to the Russian Association of Motor Insurers. But practice shows that such complaints do not help much: the only result you can get is a formal report from a controller about an inspection that was made in the company and about the lack of law breaches in this company’s actions. Consequently people are turning to insurance lawyers in Russia more and more often.

Still, there is an option. In fact, the service of vehicle insurance (including OSAGO contracts) is a public agreement according to the Article #426 of the Civil Code of Russian Federation and therefore an insurance company does not have a right to refuse this service to a customer. It does not have a right to force a person to acquire extra services prior to getting an OSAGO contract as well.

In case you have faced such an illegal refusal from corporate insurance manager, you need to write down a formal request to sign an OSAGO contract on paper. You should attach copies of all necessary documents to it, provide your phone number and register it in the insurance company’s branch office (making sure it is sealed). Most probably, in such a case tomorrow they will call you and propose to come again to their office to sign the insurance contract without persuading you to accept any extra conditions.

Now let us investigate the situation with Russian insurance companies refusing to sign third party liability (usually shortened as KASKO) contracts.

Russian insurance companies are having certain problems in this sphere themselves. Central offices are cancelling KASKO services in regional branch offices because of drastic growth of customer fraud which economic security services of branch offices are failing to mitigate.

The reason is that the number of insurance fraud ‘business’ schemes which include acquiring an insurance contract for an expensive car and then doing purposeful damage to it (such as cutting the upholstery, making scratches or fissures on the glass) has grown several times during the last two years. Thus, a car owner can receive the compensation from the insurer which is calculated based upon official car dealers’ prices for repair parts. At the same time, the damaged car would be actually repaired at a usual low-cost repair shop.

Flaws in Russian insurance legislation result in such fraud schemes being very profitable for those who choose this kind of ‘business’. According to information received by Russian lawyers during their professional activities, such schemes are now increasingly used by people who were not involved in fraud schemes earlier.

Economic security departments of insurance companies cannot effectively counter such fraud attempts because they do not have any legal means to perform deep investigations. All they can do is to recommend refusing such claims. But sometimes it makes the situation even worse for an insurer when a car owner whose claim was refused wins this case in a court and receives a sum even bigger than was claimed initially.

The emerging wave of such fabricated insurance claims in Russia has urged many insurance companies to stop providing the service of KASKO insurance and even to quit the Russian insurance market at all. The major part of Russian-based insurance companies used to have the vehicle insurance services as their primary source of income and did not completely realize how many risks are there in this niche; so now these businesses are having a hard time.

So here is an advice for car owners willing to get a vehicle insurance contract in Russia from Russian insurance lawyers. It is better to be very careful when choosing an insurance provider: in case of this company’s bankruptcy you would not be able to claim your payment via the Russian Association of Motor Insurers as this organization can only help to compensate losses by OSAGO contracts. Therefore, you would have register as a creditor in the formal bankruptcy procedure, and the more creditors there would be, the smaller chances of getting some compensation you would have.