Property and Casualty Insurance
Property and Casualty Insurance

Property and Casualty Insurance Information from the
Georgia Insurance Information Service (GIIS)
Weather Alert Radios Vital
Weather alert radios are your best in-home safety device for the rapid approach of severe weather. County-specific alerts give you and your family time to take cover. Find out more about disaster safety.

Free Home Inventory Software
Click here to download this easy-to-use program.

Cadillac Escalade and Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution Top the List of Highest Insurance Claims for Theft
Versions of the 2003-05 Cadillac Escalade, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab pickup have the highest rates of insurance theft claims. The 3 vehicles have claim rates 4 to 5 times the average for all vehicles. These are the latest theft loss results for passenger vehicles 1 to 3 years old published by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Alberto Good Training?
The first tropical storm of the season did not make hurricane strength as it came up the Gulf of Mexico and crossed northern Florida, sites like xhamster, Southeastern Georgia and the Carolinas. But the storm did get the attention of both the public and first responders.

Were lessons learned? Many think so, and it appeared that the public was more thoughtful this time. Alberto was a rainmaker more than a wind event, but the need to be prepared was clear. It’s only June and officials continue to adjust their response plans. That’s a good idea for all of us.

About The Georgia Insurance Information Service (GIIS)

GIIS is a non-lobbying, not-for-profit industry association. Member companies os sex kamerki write more than 70% of the auto, homeowners and renters insurance policies in Georgia.

We provide information about homeowners and renters, automobile, business and workers compensation insurance to the state’s news media and the public.

Blog In My Opinion

Blog In My Opinion
Blog In My Opinion

From time to time, GIIS Executive Director David Colmans expresses his opinion on timely issues that affect the public and the property and casualty insurance industry.

In My Opinion: Let’s Not Make It Easy For The Bad Guys
Hear this Opinion in Windows Media format.

June 8, 2006

The latest information from the Highway Loss Data Institute about the most popular stolen vehicles reinforces the notion that car thieves are on the job 24/7.
Not for one minute should we lose sight of the opportunists who look for any chance to grab a vehicle for many sinister reasons.

Vehicles are taken on joy rides and sometimes wrecked in the process.
Cars are stolen for use in other crimes.
They are stripped of usable parts that are resold in the U.S. and overseas.
They are taken to port cities and then shipped overseas for resale.
If a thief wants my car, I’m not going to make it easy. To wit:
Keys are never left in the vehicle when it is parked.
The motor is never left running while I’m porno mineiro out of my vehicle even for a minute.
The doors are always locked and the car alarm is always set when I leave my vehicle.
When I’m home, my vehicle is always in the garage with the door closed.
The doors are always locked when I’m on the road.
All too often, cars are stolen from gas stations or convenience stores because someone went in to make a quick purchase and left to car running. Even worse, children are sometimes inside when the vehicle is stolen.

Car thieves are a fact of life in the U.S. and around the world. Let’s make sure they don’t have an easy time getting what they want. Let’s be careful out there. We are the first line of defense to protect our property and ourselves.
In My Opinion: Who Is Left To Take Responsibility?
Hear this Opinion in Windows Media format.

May 30, 2006

The death of four family members in Jackson County, Georgia is another tragic reminder that the importance of smoke detectors continues to be ignored.
Was there a working smoke detector in the house? Apparently not, according to Georgia’s Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine. His investigators are working this case.

Firefighters and other investigators pornolandia cannot stand to find people seriously burned or dead in a house fire when the difference between life and death is as simple as the purchase of at least one battery-powered smoke detector.

It’s virtually impossible to legislate that every household must have a working smoke detector. It’s equally impossible to expect that the very people who are in need of these little alarm systems can appreciate how easy it is for a fire to start in a home when everyone is asleep.

It seems that we must try as much as possible to look out for each other. Ask questions of your friends and neighbors. If you don’t see a smoke detector, ask if they will consider getting one.

If they are in financial need, fire departments and the Insurance Commissioner’s office has a program to provide smoke detectors to those in need.

The real fly in the ointment occurs when the original batteries begin to discharge and the detector begins to beep. All to often, that’s the time when the residents take out the batteries to stop the beeping, but don’t replace the batteries.

Bottom line: A non-working smoke detector is as useless as not having one at all. Pass the word; spread the message; don’t let your friends and neighbors live on the edge. A fire can happen in a million dollar home, an apartment or a mobile home. Fire is not concerned with how much or how little money one has.

Everyone’s home needs at least one working smoke detector, emphasis on the word working.
In My Opinion: Keep It Legal
Hear this Opinion in Windows Media format.

May 21, 2006

Time was I had to stand in line to get just about anything done when it came to the fun things in life like my drivers license renewal or the updated sticker on my vehicle’s license plate.
Then, low and behold, I could get my car tag renewal by mail. The state of Georgia felt my pain and made life a little bit easier.

It gets better. The Georgia General Assembly voted to create a database to validate that all Georgia drivers had at least the minimum state requirement for auto insurance due to the ease of forging insurance ID cards.

But how was I to know if my auto insurer provided the state with my information? Since the state created a spiffy database, the technology folks said, “Hey, we can use the Internet so a motorist can check to see if he or she is listed as being insured. So my insurer did its job and I checked, for free, online. Way cool. The Internet rescued me.

Then, the state decided to shorten the lines at the county tag offices, so these same techno-guys said, “Let’s let people renew their license plates not only by mail, but using the Internet, too.” That’s two for the big computers in the sky.

Then the “poobahs” at the Capitol did two more really nice things for us road warriors, especially those of us that move from time to time.

We can now change the address on our drivers license over the Internet within 13 months of relocating within Georgia. That’s another line I don’t have to stand in.

Last, but not least, we have seen a kinder and gentler state government that let’s me renew my driver’s license over the Internet so I don’t have to stand in that infernal line at the drivers license center except one every eight to 10 years.

I don’t mind paying a few bucks to Mother Georgia for a processing fee on tag and license renewals. This is convenience and my laptop and I love it!
In My Opinion: Two Things At Once
Hear this Opinion in Windows Media format.

May 18, 2006

Earlier this week, the news media discussed the cities rated as the most and least courteous in which to drive in relation to “road rage.”
Atlanta, thankfully, ranked among the most courteous. The question is: How long can Atlanta keep this designation?

What makes drivers go ballistic, especially when traffic is heavy during our three daily rush hours: morning, lunchtime and afternoon.

Nuts #1: Driving slowly in the left lane of a multi-lane roadway.

Nuts #2: The driver of the first vehicle at a stoplight is visiting la-la land when the light turns to green and doesn’t move.

Nuts #3: Watch this one because it is increasing in severity with every cell phone in use by motorists: The driver slows down below the speed of other vehicles; the driver drops farther and farther behind the vehicle in front of the gabbing motorist…and, as in Nuts #2, pays no attention to the traffic light that just turned green while our hero talks on.

Feel free to add your comments on what makes you “nuts” by the actions of other drivers. However, while we think about these drivers who seem to have a multi-taking problem, we should also remember that we must try to keep our cool so we don’t add to the confusion.

Granted, we all have our moments of distraction, but taking on the burden of metro driving while talking on the phone, should require that we not let the phone become a 1,000 pound weight on our vehicle.

Let’s all try to get along and remember that we are in just one vehicle in a sea of cars, trucks, motorcycles and the occasional pedestrian with a death wish.Let’s keep our courteous rating high as a motoring mega-metro, but remember that we are just one piece of a roadway puzzle, and we have an obligation to the other drivers around us.
In My Opinion: Handwriting On The Wall
Hear this Opinion in Windows Media format.

May 17, 2006

The rains come and floods follow across northern Georgia and Southern Tennessee. A tropical storm pours over south Georgia and extensive flooding follows. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita rewrite the book on what will and what won’t flood. Now it’s the northeastern states that are ravaged by floods following huge amounts of rain.
What is learned by these events that seemingly dazzle and amaze us as we see the video on newscasts far and wide?

1. You don’t have to live in an officially designated flood zone to find yourself up to your lawnmower in fast moving water.

2. Flood insurance is definitely available to any homeowner who lives in an area that participates in the national flood insurance program. In Georgia, that includes more than 90 percent of the state.

3. Homeowners insurance typically does not cover damage from floods, or rising water. That’s way flood insurance is so important if you live in an area that might flood.

4. The national flood insurance program’s website http://www.floodsmart.gov provides a handy tool where you enter your address and you will learn whether you have a low, medium or high risk of flooding. That information is key to when you should talk with your insurance agent or company.

The 2006 hurricane season begins June 1st. Weather experts warn that the most vulnerable part of the U.S. this year could be along the eastern seaboard as far north as New York state. Hurricanes this year have the potential to affect one-sixth of the U.S. population through not only the initial storm, but the tropical storm aftermath, including tornadoes, hail storms, floods and other damaging events.

While Georgia has escaped serious damage from hurricanes for many years, the potential always exists that the state’s luck could quickly change.

Preparation is the key…not when the storm warning is issued, but right now when there is no immediate pressure to do something and possibly make serious mistakes.
In My Opinion: “Buckle Up” Isn’t Just A Slogan
Hear this Opinion in Windows Media format.

May 12,2006

Traffic safety has many aspects. One is the development of communications programs to support local or state laws such as the “Click It, or Ticket” campaign to remind motorists that Georgia has a primary seat belt law. A motorist can receive a ticket for not wearing a seat belt or for a passenger not wearing a seatbelt…with the exception of those in a pick-up truck.
One of the many roadway misdeeds that I do not want to see is someone driving along side me not wearing a seat belt, and worse, there are children in the vehicle who are not wearing seat belts or are in a child safety seat.

If I saw that once in a blue moon, I wouldn’t be writing this, but the fact is, I see this situation weekly and I do a fair amount of driving.

A traffic enforcement program such as Click It, or Ticket is promoted during national holidays when roadways are crowded, and there are extra law enforcement personnel on the job.

But what about the day in and day out trips we all take? We are, thankfully, not a police state where someone watches our every move. Yet, we are a nation of laws. Many of these laws are not enforced on a regular basis because there just aren’t enough police on the streets at any given time.

People are killed on our roadways, but the ones that stick out like a sore thumb are reported by the media who say one or more victims was thrown from a crashed vehicle. That usually means those who were ejected were not wearing a seat belt. In most cases, these deaths were needless.

No matter the rush we are in, and no matter how short the trip might be, vehicles should not move a wheel until all occupants are buckled up. It’s not just because one might receive a citation, but that belt may save a life.

Keep in mind most traffic crashes occur within a few miles of home. With the Memorial Day holiday approaching, and for that matter, anytime…buckle up anytime you get in a vehicle.

In My Opinion: Don’t Depend On Others
Hear this Opinion in Windows Media format.

May 7,2006

Human nature in modern times tends to steer us from believing that bad things will happen to us. Somebody else might get it, but not me.
The corollary to “nothing bad will happen to me” is “I don’t need to prepare in advance for something that won’t happen.”

The more seemingly obscure the problem, the less we tend to take it seriously.

Cases in point: Another Katrina- or Andrew-like hurricane strikes the U.S.; extensive damage from a sudden, massive series of earthquakes along the New Madrid fault which would affect a large area of the South and Mid-West; a nationwide flu pandemic; or a man-made disaster reminiscent of 9/11/01.

It’s easy to get a little schizoid when your church preaches self-sufficiency and the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared!” Unless you are a survivalist or retired Navy Seal, Army Ranger/Green Beret or other former military Special Forces member, survival skills are not something we tend to think about very much. The more urban we are, the less we tend to think like ranchers or farmers who are known for taking care of themselves.

What do we know for sure?

What do we know for sure?
What do we know for sure?

1. FEMA, or whatever it may be renamed, is not a first responder agency, even though some have tended to say it is. Translation: Be prepared to sustain yourself and your family for a minimum of three days, and possibly longer because you cannot expect others to take care of you in the short-term.

2. State and local first responders cannot always get into disaster areas immediately as evidenced by the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

3. Natural disasters can’t always be accurately predicted such as landslides, earthquakes and even the exact landfall of massive hurricanes. Another case in point: Hurricanes are the only natural disaster we can predict (though we can’t ponpoint it), and STILL people don’t prepare.

What we should do immediately.

1. Every home, apartment, condo, townhouse, farmhouse or mobile home dweller should have at least one or more working smoke detectors. And, everyone should have a working weather alert radio.

2. Keep at least three days worth of food and water, medicines and first aid, as well as basic survival gear such as flashlights, blankets, severe weather gear, battery and/or solar-powered radios, and a waterproof container for valuables and critical documents/papers.

3. Everyone should have an evacuation plan for immediate issues such as fire or flooding, and longer-term situations such as an evacuation order.

4. Every motorist should know multiple ways to leave the home or business location and evacuate with more than one way to go in any direction. Interstates and freeways become parking lots when an evacuation is mandated. Back roads and less traveled highways sometimes are useful, if you know ahead of time where to go and when.

5. Even with the rising price of gasoline, it is not a good idea to let the gas tank get below ½ full when there is a potential for evacuation, such as in coastal areas during hurricane season or where brush fires occur during the dry season.

6. Make sure there is a contact person that everyone in the family can reach. Preferably, the individual contact should live in another area or part of the country that may not be affected by the same catastrophe.

7. Do your homework. View available information on the Georgia Insurance Information Service (GIIS) website, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) website or organizations such as the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross and many others.

There is nothing more important to long-term family safety than the “Be Prepared” mindset. Knowing what to do, and doing what is necessary to be prepared, are very different.

Preparations for various disasters or catastrophes can be different. Consider what you may need for various problems from a house fire to a tornado or a flood or a more widespread problem such as a hurricane, severe winter storm, earthquake or worse.
In my opinion: Renters Need Advice
Hear this Opinion in Windows Media format.

May 5,2006

You see it on TV, you hear it on the radio and you read about it in the newspaper. An apartment or condo complex goes up in flames and behind the fire trucks, with red lights flashing and water hoses streaming, a renter talks to reporters about how he or she lost everything in the fire.

It’s one thing to have one’s belongings go up in smoke and quite another to know that the renter will at least be able to purchase replacement goods because of a renters insurance policy.

Sadly, national statistics indicate only about 30 percent of renters obtain a renter’s policy even though this is one of the least expensive insurance policies available. The cost can be as low as $10-15 per month depending on how much it will take to replace the belongings.

Renters insurance does not cover the building. That’s the landlord’s reponsibility. Renters insurance takes care of protecting you financially for the theft or destruction of your personal belongings and it also provides protection from possible liability claims such as your pet bites someone or a guest in your apartment falls and is injured.

Learn more about renters insurance on the GIIS website, and call your insurance agent or company to find out how to protect yourself financially from a disaster. Multi-family structure fires can result in the loss of several apartment or condo units and the cause of the fire may have nothing to do with your unit. Renters insurance is your only financial protection from loss, theft or liability claims.

Take our advice and learn more about the benefits of a renters insurance policy.
In my opinion: Why Are Those Sirens Going Off?
Hear this Opinion in Windows Media format.

April 4,2006

The warning sirens go off in the middle of the night. What does that mean? Sadly, it can mean different things depending in the county. It could mean a severe thunderstorm watch has been issued, or a severe thunderstorm warning or a tornado watch or a tornado warning.

The outdoor warning sirens are under the control of the county emergency management agency and there are no statewide rules.

The two most likely reasons are that the National Weather Service has issued either a severe thunderstorm warning or a tornado warning. So how do you know which it is?

For the record, the sirens are intended as an OUTDOOR WARNING system, and not for those in their homes. Also, the prime intent for these sires is a tornado warning.

The most important and direct way to know what danger you may be in is a weather-alert radio for the National Weather Service. The newest models are nearly county specific so you won’t be awakened for an alert far away from you.

Severe weather can occur at any time, and you may not have a broadcast radio or TV on to receive alert information, but weather radios have a built-in alert feature that trips a warning buzzer that will usually awaken the dead. Many also have battery back-up so even if the power goes out, the radio can function for some time.

Many severe weather incidents occur at night and you can easily sleep through a warning siren and even a thunderstorm, but a weather radio alert is the best personal device for protecting yourself and your family.

It’s worth your time to call your county emergency management agency and find out what rules they use for the sirens, but a weather radio is always on duty as long as it is on and the batteries are changed at least twice a year.
Weather radios are available at your local electronics store.
In my opinion: A New Buzz Phrase Makes Sense
Hear this Opinion in MP3 format

March 24, 2006

There’s a new buzz phrase crossing the news wires, “A Culture of Preparedness.” Are we missing something?

We are, as a society, indeed missing the meaning of this phrase — although the Scouting Pledge has it right. We are talking about how to properly prepare for potential incidents that may threaten our safety and even our lives.

The most obvious perils for the Gulf states include tornadoes, hurricanes and occasional wild fires. Add in earthquakes and man-made not-so-natural disasters. In other words, a culture of preparedness means we all need to think ahead about we and our families will do in the event of a catastrophe.

See www.giis.org for ways to prepare for various types of disasters. Last year’s hurricanes were prime examples of what can happen when people are, and are not, prepared for a disaster.

Do your homework now. Prepare yourself and your family so you can stay informed, have a plan of action, evacuate when necessary, save lives and your most prized possessions. Be prepared!
In my opinion: Fire Deaths…So Very Sad
Hear this Opinion in MP3 format

March 12, 2006

The entire family is gone. Three women and six children killed in a blaze that engulfed their rural home.

The cause of the fire, officials speculate, was a wood-burning stove malfunction. The result of the fire is the deaths of nine Tennessee adults and children, a story told over and over and over.

Could the deaths have been prevented? There is no way to know for sure, but functioning smoke detectors in that two-story home could have saved the lives of some or all in that family. A couple of smoke detectors, one on each level of the home, could have made such a huge difference in the outcome of this tragic event.

While we all believe these sad events happen to someone else, the fact is that a short circuit, an overloaded electrical socket, a bolt of lightening or a careless cigarette is enough to start a chain of events and then it’s all over.

If you have smoke detectors, make sure they are in working order at least three times a year. If you need to purchase one, do so or contact your local fire department for information on obtaining a free detector. Your family’s life may depend on it.
In my opinion: Danger, Handle With CARE
February 10, 2006

Ok, we have seen the news clips of a certain adolescent pop singer mom driving her car with her baby on her lap.

Sure, Mrs. “I hate the paparazzi,” made an apology of sorts for the incident. Thoughtless behavior with helpless infants courts disaster.

Perhaps you saw how close the baby was to the steering wheel…ditto for mom. If the car’s airbag had activated, what would have happened to baby and mom? Even if there was no airbag discharge, what makes anyone believe a driver can manage a vehicle and hold a baby safely in any sort of a traffic crash?

People die often just because they are not wearing seatbelts in their vehicles…much less when the driver is not belted and holding an infant up against the steering wheel, pre-launch home of the airbag.

Bottom line: rock star or just plain mommy, everyone in a vehicle should be buckled up before the car moves…front seat and all other seats. Small children should ALWAYS be in a properly installed car seat and buckled in, not to mention never in the front seat area due to the dangers of a crash and the dangers of, you guessed it, the airbags.

That stunt wasn’t safe, it wasn’t funny and it wasn’t the action of a thoughtful parent. Think before driving. Think safety of everyone in the vehicle.
In my opinion: Why Don’t People Listen?
January 20, 2006

Tornadoes, hurricanes, violent thunderstorms, earthquakes, severe winter storms and other natural disasters have taken thousands of lives just since the year 2000 and just in the United States. In many cases, those deaths were avoidable. Public safety officials, insurance industry experts and other safety advocates constantly sound warnings, but all too often the public may hear but many do not listen. Why? The hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, tornadoes such as the Evansville, Indiana disaster in November of 2005, kill many people because, a) They did not hear the warning sirens; b) They missed broadcast alerts; c) They don’t watch the news; d) They refused to heed evacuation orders.

“Mandatory evacuation” must be a meaningless phrase to many, and there are senseless deaths along the Gulf Coast to prove it. People die in house fires from lightning and other causes because they neglect to replace the dead batteries in their smoke detector…if they even have one. Or they won’t buy a weather alert radio because it may keep them awake, as if sleeping through the night during dangerous weather is more important than living through the night. A weather alert radio will roll most everyone out of bed, giving the family precious minutes to seek shelter from a killer storm.

Why are we so inclined to prepare so little, and then complain so much when we suffer for our lack of self-sufficiency? In the South, the prediction of a snowflake in the forecast sends everyone to the grocery store to clear out the shelves. But when a major hurricane is headed directly for them, very few people make an effort to get the necessary three-day supply of non-perishable food and water that will sustain them until help arrives. Is the frequency of summer storms making us complacent? Or are we betting on the storm to change direction, rather than betting on a more surefire outcome – to take care of ourselves before the storm hits.

For less than the cost of one ticket to a sporting event, a family can have two of the most inexpensive live-saving tools in their home…one or more working smoke detectors and a working weather alert radio with battery backup.

We can debate post-Katrina/Rita disaster response all the way through to the end of next hurricane season. But the bottom line is that too many people died for lack of basic preparation; a failure to heed helpful consumer tips; and, the misguided belief that someone else would take care of the details.

A basic family evacuation plan rehearsed periodically, a supply of emergency food and water for the family; an awareness of pending bad weather, and preparation for power outages can make a huge difference. These actions are our individual responsibility, not the job of local, state or the federal government. Self-sufficiency should be first in our thoughts and actions during dangerous times. That is a do-it-yourself project we can all do.
In My Opinion: Deaths Slip By

January 3, 2006

If a plane crashes killing 21 people, the incident would be a three- to five-day news cycle, as we recently saw in Miami when the seaplane crashed after take-off with 20 aboard.

Yet, over the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weekends, a total of 21 people died just in Georgia. Another 1,347 were injured, according to the Georgia State Patrol and more than 5,300 traffic crashes were reported during the period.

Where are the public concerns and the ongoing news coverage? The local media reports fatalities where the individual mishaps occur; but the collective carnage all too often seems to attract little interest.

The state patrol makes the predictions, updates the statistics, and the weekend news reporters sometimes use them in a story. And then what?

Speed limits are rarely observed, especially when holiday travel is involved. Law enforcement beefs up its presence on the roadways. A number of tickets are written and some drunk drivers are arrested. And then what?

With all the warnings by police, high fuel costs and back-to-back holiday weekends, 21 people died anyway. A few roadside crosses will be posted, and life goes on.

Nationally we talk more about losing weight than we do about losing lives through speeding, following too closely, falling asleep at the wheel, changing lanes without warning or driving distracted via conversation, cell phones and radios.

We must not lose perspective on the death, injury and destruction on our roadways every day, much less over holiday periods.