Roundbank Insurance Agency Merger

Roundbank Insurance Agency to Merge with Minnwest Insurance Agency, Inc.

 

Roundbank Insurance Agency and Minnwest Insurance Agency, Inc., a subsidiary of Minnwest Bank, announced the signing of an agreement to merge. Completion of the transaction is contingent on the approval of the Minnwest Bank and Roundbank merger, which is currently expected to occur by the end of 2021. After completion of the merger, Roundbank Insurance Agency will become part of Minnwest Insurance Agency, Inc. Roundbank agency staff and management, led by Chrystal Gasner, will continue to serve their customers at their current locations.

 

Roundbank Insurance Agency is an Independent Insurance Agency having served Waseca County and the surrounding area for more than 70 years. With three locations in Waseca, Waldorf, and Farmington, Roundbank Insurance Agency has significant experience in writing Personal Insurance, Commercial (Business) Insurance and Farm Insurance.

 

Founded in 1987, Minnwest Bank is a family-owned bank with 32 branches throughout Minnesota and South Dakota, with $2.27 billion in assets. Minnwest Insurance Agency, Inc. is an Independent Insurance Agency with 7 locations in Minnesota: Dawson, Lake Wilson, Montevideo, Morris, Ortonville, Slayton, and Tracy.

 

Learn more about Minnwest Bank and Minnwest Insurance Agency, Inc. at www.minnwestbank.com and Roundbank Insurance Agency at www.roundbankinsurance.com.

 

CONTACT: 

Minnwest Bank                                                                 Minnwest Corporation

Douglas Karsky, President & CEO                               Todd McVay, President & CEO

507-637-4317                                                                     952-545-8815

 

Roundbank

Larry Thompson, President & CEO

507-521-0215

Air Quality and Health Impacts from Vehicle Electrification

According to a study conducted by Cornell and published on insurancejournal.com,

“A Cornell University-led research team has calculated that by the year 2050, vehicle electrification, driverless cars and ride sharing could prevent 5,500 premature deaths and save $58 billion annually, while simultaneously slashing U.S. petroleum consumption by 50% and carbon dioxide emissions by 75%.

The researchers projected vehicle stocks, distance traveled, energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions in the continental U.S. through 2050 and quantified the impacts of changing emissions on concentrations of fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, as well as ensuing health and economic benefits of populations in 10 major metropolitan areas.

Their simulations show that reductions in emissions from passenger travel could prevent between 2,300 and 8,100 premature deaths annually in the U.S. in 2050.

The largest number of prevented deaths coincided with large metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles and Chicago. At the state level, California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Florida would see the largest decreases in premature mortality.

The associated economic benefits could range from $24 billion to $84 billion annually, according to the study.

The group’s paper, “Shared Use of Electric Autonomous Vehicles: Air Quality and Health Impacts of Future Mobility in the United States,” is published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. Oliver Gao, professor of civil and environmental engineering, led the project. The paper’s lead author is former postdoctoral researcher Shuai Pan.

“Another key finding is that for carbon mitigations and health benefits, vehicle electrification is by far the most important piece, followed by shared mobility (ride-sharing) and then automation,” Pan said. “The net energy impacts of self-driving vehicles are highly uncertain and automation alone may not dramatically affect energy use, emissions or vehicle-related pollution.”

In fact, the researchers note that automation could actually lead to an increase in travel and offset other gains. “So there is a balance, there is a trade-off,” Gao told the Cornell Chronicle.

The study concludes that policymakers can help encourage the transition to electric vehicles and boost ride sharing, for example, by issuing tighter fuel economy standards, creating economic incentives for shared mobility, and investing in charging infrastructure and technological developments.

Previous studies have looked at transportation innovation, but this is the first research to employ a transdisciplinary systems approach that factored in human health and the associated economic benefits, according to Gao.

The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Center for Transportation, Environment and Community Health, and by Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology.”

Source: Shared Use of Electric Autonomous Vehicles: Air Quality and Health Impacts of Future Mobility in the United States

Flood Insurance Coverage

What Is Covered (and Not Covered) Under My NFIP Policy

Just a few inches of water can cost thousands of dollars in damage to a home. Flood insurance can
help homeowners deal with the financial consequences of flooding, although like other types of
insurance policies it doesn’t cover all losses.

The National Flood Insurance Program covers direct physical damage by flood to your building
and/or personal property, also known as contents. The Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) is a
single-peril (flood) policy that pays only for flood damage to your insured property, up to the policy
limit. The SFIP is not a valued policy, which pays the total policy limit in the event of a total loss.
The NFIP offers coverage under three types of forms: the Dwelling Form, the General Property
form, and the Residential Condomninium Building Association Policy form.

This document summarizes what is, and is not, covered under the Dwelling Form, which is most
commonly used to insure a residential building and single family dwelling units in a condominium
building. For detailed information on what is covered and not covered under the General Policy and
Association Policy forms, refer to those specific forms or go online to the NFIP Summary of
Coverage. Your SFIP, including your Policy Declarations Page, is your official contract of
insurance. If you have questions, contact your insurance agent or insurer.

Covered Building Property:
 The electrical and plumbing systems
 Furnaces, water heaters, heat pumps, and sump pumps
 Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
 Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
 Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets. The damage must be
directly caused by flood water. Cabinets that were not damaged by flood water are not
covered, even if they match cabinets that were damaged by flood water.
 Window blinds
 Foundation walls, anchorage systems, and staircases attached to the building. There is an
exclusion for “loss caused directly by earth movement even if the earth movement is caused
by flood.”
 A detached garage, used for limited storage or parking. Up to 10 percent of the building
coverage limit can be used, but will reduce the total amount of building coverage available.
 Cisterns and the water in them
 Fuel tanks and the fuel in them, solar energy equipment, and well water tanks and pumps
Covered Personal Property – Contents:
 Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
 Curtains
 Portable and window air conditioners (easily moved or relocated)
 Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
 Carpets not included in building coverage (carpet installed over wood floors, etc.)
 Clothes washers and dryers
 Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
 Food freezers and the food in them (but not refrigerators)
Not Covered for Building or Personal Property:
 Damage caused by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided by the property
owner or which are not attributable to the flood
 Damage caused by earth movement, even if the earth movement is caused by flood
 Additional living expenses, such as temporary housing, while the building is being repaired
or is unable to be occupied
 Loss of use or access of the insured property
 Financial losses caused by business interruption
 Property and belongings outside of an insured building such as trees, plants, wells, septic
systems, walks, decks, patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs, and swimming pools
 Currency, precious metals, and valuable papers such as stock certificates
 Most self-propelled vehicles such as cars, including their parts (see Section IV.5 in your
policy)
Basements and Areas Below the Lowest Elevated Floor:
Flood insurance coverage is limited in areas below the lowest elevated floor (the floor used for living purposes), including crawlspaces, depending on the flood zone and date of construction (refer to Part III, Section A.8 in your policy) and in basements regardless of zone, or date of construction. Examples of these areas include:
 Basements
 Crawlspaces under an elevated building
 Enclosed areas beneath buildings elevated on full-story foundation walls that are sometimes
referred to as “walkout basements”
 Enclosed areas under other types of elevated buildings
Basements and Areas Below the Lowest Elevated Floor – Covered Building Property:
 Foundation walls, anchorage systems, and staircases attached to the building
 Central air conditioners
 Cisterns and the water in them
 Drywall for walls and ceilings (in basements only)
 Non-flammable insulation (in basements only)
 Electrical outlets, switches, and circuit-breaker boxes
 Fuel tanks and the fuel in them, solar energy equipment, and well water tanks and pumps
 Furnaces, water heaters, heat pumps, and sump pumps
Basements and Areas Below the Lowest Elevated Floor – Covered Personal Property:
 Washers and dryers
 Food freezers and the food in them (but not refrigerators)
 Portable and window air conditioners

Basements and Areas Below the Lowest Elevated Floor – Not Covered Under Building or Personal
Property:
 Paneling, bookcases, and window treatments such as curtains and blinds
 Carpeting, area carpets, and other floor coverings such as tile
 Drywall for walls and ceilings (below the lowest elevated floor)
 Walls and ceilings not made of drywall
 In certain cases staircases and elevators
 Most personal property such as clothing, electronic equipment, kitchen supplies, and
furniture

Replacement Cost Value vs. Actual Cash Value: Under the SFIP – Dwelling Form, replacement cost coverage is available for a single-family dwelling that is the policyholder’s principal residence and is insured for at least 80 percent of the building’s total insurable value at the time of the loss. Replacement Cost Value (RCV) is the value to replace the building without depreciation. Some manufactured housing is not available for this coverage. Actual Cash Value (ACV) is RCV at the time of loss, less the value of physical depreciation. Personal property is always valued on an ACV basis.

Policyholder Duties After a Loss:
It is important to understand your responsibility in case of a loss. These requirements are detailed in the policy under Section VII. General Condition, Paragraph J. “Requirements in Case of Loss.”
Other helpful information in case of a loss is available to the policyholder in the Flood Insurance Claims Handbook
Source: www.floodsmart.gov

Progressive RV Insurance

Here’s a few more reasons why Progressive is leading the industry when it comes to RV insurance.

Progressive Has been insuring RV’s for nearly 50 years. We are recognized as the industry leader when it comes to insuring all RV types! Our Specialized RV coverages include:

Total loss replacement

We’ll replace a customer’s totaled travel trailer or motorhome with a brand new one, minus the deductible. For example, the RV purchased two years ago may have depreciated in value. However, Progressive guarantees the same model year or later which means we will replace your customer’s RV even if it costs more than the original vehicle’s purchase price.

Replacement cost/personal effects

Get customers coverage, up to a specified amount, for personal items inside their RV, such as s smartphones and camera equipment.

Emergency expense coverage

We’ll give customers up to $750 for transportation and hotel costs plus meals if your customer is on vacation and their RV is disabled more than 50 miles away from their home. For an extra cost, they can upgrade to $2,000 in coverage.

Roof Protection Plus™

Provides coverage to repair or completely replace the vehicles roof if it’s damaged. This coverage includes general wear and tear, and damage to other parts of the vehicle caused directly by the roofs malfunction.

Pest Damage Protection Coverage™

Provides coverage to motor homes and non-stationary travel trailers caused by mice, rats, insects, birds other non-domesticated animals, or other rodents and vermin.

Fire Prevention

Do you have an escape plan at home for fire safety? Check out this Fire Safety information and chat with your agent for more resources on how to be prepared!

Contact Us Today!

Fire Prevention Tips and Safety Checklists:

• If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for help.
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and
outside sleeping areas. Test them every month and replace the batteries
at least once a year.
• Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice
the plan twice a year.

Red Cross Fire Prevention and Safety Checklist

American Rescue Plan Update

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Update

Last week we announced the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The act includes important health care insurance provisions that will expand benefits available to Minnesota through MNsure.

One key change is a two-year enhancement to premium tax credits (PTCs) available to eligible individuals who qualify to purchase coverage through MNsure. The enhancements both increase the amount of PTCs available at all income levels and eliminate the 400 percent earnings of the federal poverty level (FPL).

What the act means for Minnesotans:

  • Those enrolled on the exchange and receiving tax credits will see increased savings.
  • Those enrolled on the exchange but not currently receiving tax credits might become eligible to receive them.
  • Those purchasing coverage directly from an insurance company rather than MNsure can cancel their policy and move to MNsure where they can receive tax credits.
  • Higher subsidies might make premiums more affordable for those who are uninsured.

Consumers must be enrolled in a plan through MNsure to qualify for the enhanced tax credits.

Kaiser Family Foundation has created a calculator to estimate eligibility for subsidies under the new American Rescue Plan Act. This is just an estimate but can help inform consumer decisions about enrolling in coverage.

MNsure will be sharing more details as soon as possible on an implementation timeline and additional information for assisters and consumers.

MNsure Changes

MNsure statement regarding federal changes to the Affordable Care Act

New policies set to improve affordability on Minnesota’s marketplace

ST. PAUL, Minn.—On Thursday, March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which includes several key health care provisions to the Affordable Care Act that will expand benefits available to Minnesotans through MNsure. This includes an increase in the amount of tax credits MNsure enrollees receive to help them pay for their premiums and an expansion of tax credits to middle-income Minnesotans who previously fell outside income thresholds for financial help. This increase in benefits means Minnesotans who purchase health insurance through MNsure will be able to find a plan with premiums that cost no more than 8.5% of their household income.

“We welcome this great news, which will make health care coverage more affordable,” said MNsure CEO Nate Clark. “Every Minnesotan who currently receives tax credits through MNsure will see additional savings, and thousands more Minnesotans who weren’t eligible to receive financial help before will now be able to access tax credits that can significantly reduce the cost of their health insurance.”

Key takeaways:

  • Most people already enrolled through MNsure will see savings.
  • People enrolled through MNsure without federal premium tax credits may now be eligible.
  • Those currently enrolled in plans outside of MNsure can enroll through MNsure.org and take advantage of benefits.
  • Uninsured Minnesotans should consider these new cost savings.

These expanded tax credits will not be advanceable until later this year. This means enrollees will not immediately see any additional savings on their monthly premiums but can reconcile the savings when they file their taxes next year. Current MNsure enrollees will be eligible for a full year of savings, retroactive to their first month of coverage in 2021. The enhanced savings will be available in advance for the entire 2022 coverage year.

Additional information, including implementation details and timing, and a tool to estimate potential savings, are forthcoming on MNsure.org. Interested Minnesotans should sign up for MNsure’s eNews emails for updates.MNsure is Minnesota’s health insurance marketplace where individuals and families can shop, compare and choose health insurance coverage that meets their needs. MNsure is the only place you can apply for financial help to lower the cost of your monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. Most Minnesotans who enroll through MNsure qualify for financial help

5 important facts about car insurance no one ever tells you

Understanding the basics of car insurance can be difficult enough, let alone understanding the lesser-known intricacies involved with the guidelines, policies and procedures of today’s insurance providers. Below, we’ve outlined some important, yet oftentimes obscure, insurance facts, so you’re “in-the-know” when you’re on-the-go.

Fact No. 1: Your credit impacts your insurance rates

Believe it or not, your credit may impact your insurance rates. Insurance providers have found that certain credit characteristics for an individual are useful to predict of how likely it is that the individual will have an insurance claim.

These characteristics are not the same ones that a bank uses to measure lending risk, but rather, insurers may use credit-based insurance scores in conjunction with other variables to assess the likelihood of claims submitted. These variables may include age, driving record, claims history, place of residence, the type of car and the average miles driven, among others.

As a general best practice, do what you can to improve your credit, be sure to monitor your credit report on a regular basis, and contact the credit bureau to clear up any errors.

Fact No. 2: Brand loyalty can cost you

If your mind-set about automobile insurance is “set it and forget it,” you might want to reconsider. Years ago, insurance companies evaluated a short list of factors when calculating your premiums. Today, that list has grown to a confusing labyrinth of criteria causing insurance rates to differ dramatically from provider to provider.

Instead of allowing your policy to automatically renew, comparison shop once a year to ensure you’re getting the best auto insurance rates. Some companies provide policies direct to consumers, while others sell policies through agents or brokers.

An easy place to start is by getting auto insurance quotes online, which could save you money. If you’re worried that lower rates mean less coverage or poor service, don’t be. Today, there are plenty of insurance companies that offer affordable premiums, well-rounded coverage and excellent customer service.

Fact No. 3: Stopping payment? You’ll pay in the long run

If you think switching car insurance companies is as easy as stopping payment, think again. Sure, your policy will cancel, but your existing insurance company could report you to the credit bureaus for nonpayment, damaging your credit score in the process. What’s more, your insurance history will reflect a cancellation which may cause a new provider to decline your application or charge you higher premiums in the future.

Instead, be sure to complete the necessary paperwork with your existing provider, such as a policy cancellation form, and time it right by starting your new policy on the date your old policy ends.

Fact No. 4: Your car insurance company can cancel or non-renew at any time

Your insurance company can cancel your policy at any time if you violate one or more of its guidelines during your policy period. Same goes for nonrenewal. Things such as failing to pay your premium on time, losing your driver’s license due to suspension or revocation, submitting too many at-fault claims, or misrepresenting your driving history or past insurance claims could all be reasons for cancellation or nonrenewal.

In either case, your carrier must notify you in writing within a time frame legally required by your state. When it comes to cancellation, your insurance company is required by law to state the reason, not so with nonrenewal. If you want a reason but aren’t provided with one, you must send your insurer a written request. If you believe you’ve been unfairly treated, you may have legal recourse through your state’s department of insurance.

And don’t forget about your “binding period,” the time when your insurance company is especially conscious of your risk level. The binding period usually occurs within 60 days following your auto insurance application. If your insurer finds a discrepancy on your application, on your driving record or with your credit, it can cancel your policy.

Fact No. 5: You could save money by paying your car insurance premium in full

You might be surprised to learn most car insurance companies charge an administrative fee to break up your premium payments into installments, such as paying every six months, every three months or every month. The more you divvy up your payments in installments, the more these “convenience fees” add up, and your once-cheap car insurance can now cost substantially more. There may also be charges for the method of installment payment you choose, such as automatic bill pay or pay-by-phone.

Be sure to ask your provider what its administrative fees are. If it makes financial sense and you can swing it, pay your premium up front and in full. Not only will you avoid the added expense, you won’t have to worry about missing a payment, or being late on payments, both of which could be grounds for cancellation. Other factors, such as the type of car you drive, can cost or save you money on car insurance as well. Safety features, driving habits and increasing your deductible can also have an effect on the bottom line.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-important-facts-about-car-insurance-no-one-ever-tells-you-2020-02-05

Preventing Ice Dams

As we head into a warm up – The Minnesota Department of Commerce has provided tips for dealing with Ice Dams. If you have any damage from ice buildup, call your Roundbank Insurance Agent to discuss your coverage.

Ice Dams: Helpful tips from the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Home Energy Guide

February 15, 2021 | ConsumersEnergyInsurance

Ice dams are an unpleasant part of winter for many Minnesota homeowners.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce offers tips for how to deal with ice dams now and how to prevent them in the future, which can also save you money on your heating bills.

One way to prevent ice dams is by removing snow from your roof. While you can try to do it yourself with a snow rake, it may be best to hire a professional snow remover, especially if it takes getting on the roof or using a ladder. Put safety first.

If you have an ice dam that is already causing water damage to your interior ceilings and walls, hire a professional ice dam removal service that uses steamers.

A few things you should not do:

  • Do not install heating cables. They will shorten the life of your roof and add to your energy costs.
  • Do not remove ice with chippers, chemicals or heat. These can damage shingles, gutters and other building components.
  • Do not add roof vents, including powered vents. They will not eliminate ice dams and often make the problem worse.

Preventing future ice dams

Ice dams are not caused by roofing, ventilation or gutter problems, as often believed. The real problem is a home that is leaking warm air.

Due to inadequate air sealing, heat from the home’s interior gets into the attic and melts the underside of the snow on the roof. The melted snow water flows down the roof surface until reaching a cold spot, such as the eaves or soffit, where it forms a frozen dam.

Over time, especially with a snow-covered roof in subfreezing temperatures, more ice can build up. Eventually, water starts seeping into the home.

Because the primary cause of ice dams is warm air leaking from the attic, the best prevention is to seal leaks with caulking or expanding spray foam, with attic insulation installed to a minimum of R-50 as space allows.

Energy assessment: Save energy and prevent ice dams

An advanced home energy assessment, or audit, is an important step to preventing ice dams and making your home more energy efficient. The assessment will use equipment such as an infrared camera to find attic air leaks and how to seal them.

A home energy audit can be arranged through your local utility, a nonprofit energy group or an HVAC professional.

Once problem areas are detected, get bids from at least two licensed contractors to have the work done.

For more information on preventing ice dams, sealing air leaks and adding insulation, check out the Commerce Department’s Home Energy Guide.

Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the Commerce Department’s Energy Information Center at energy.info@state.mn.us or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.

Printable PDF, tips for dealing with ice dams: https://mn.gov/commerce-stat/pdfs/ice-dams.pdf 

With You Every Day

Wherever you are in Minnesota, the Department of Commerce is with you every day. Whether you’re filling up on gas, purchasing a home, working to reduce energy consumption or rebuilding after a disaster—we are with you, no matter what.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce oversees more than 20 regulated industries, ensuring that Minnesota businesses are strong and Minnesota consumers are protected. Our mission is to protect the public interest, advocate for Minnesota consumers, ensure a strong, competitive and fair marketplace, strengthen the state’s economic future and serve as a trusted public resource for consumers and businesses. Learn more at mn.gov/commerce

Contact: Mo Schriner
Director of Communications
E: mo.schriner@state.mn.us
O: 651-539-1463Permalink: http://mn.gov/commerce/media/news/index.jsp?id=17-467621

Winter Water Damage Prevention

Colder weather means snow, ice, and frozen pipes, One thing to keep an eye on once temperatures reach the freezing point is your exposed pipes and water lines. As freezing water expands into ice, the pressure can compromise the integrity of the pipe and pipe fittings, which often lead to cracked or burst pipes resulting in costly property damage. Here are a few helpful tips for preventing this type of loss.

Prevent frozen pipes and water damage:

  • First, identify areas of concern where water pipes are being exposed to cold temperatures.
  • Keep exposed pipes warm by wrapping them with UL-endorsed heat tapes that have built-in thermostat. Follow manufacturer’s instructions upon installation and whether or not additional insulation can be placed over the heat tape.
  • Insulate exposed water pipes from cold moving air using foam rubber insulation designed for pipes. Keep the foam dry as you insulate and check that there are no gaps between the pipe and the insulation. Secure corners of pipes with duct tape to cover any gaps. Insulation alone won’t prevent freezing, but will slow down the transfer rate of heat to cold.
  • Utilize UL-endorsed heat tapes for drain lines that go to cold air space. Don’t overlook water lines in cold basements, attics, or crawl spaces.
  • When there is a loss of power on cold days, open the tap to allow the water to run at a slow and constant drip. First, start a slow drip on the hot side of the faucet, then a faster drip on the cold side faucet.
  • Fill any drafty gaps or cracks near water pipes with caulk to prevent cold air from coming inside.
  • Do not turn off the heat or open windows during cold days; maintain a room temperature of 55 degrees or higher.

This Insurance Awareness, Helpful Hints and Tips Publication is brought to you by: North Star Mutual Insurance Company.