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Mandy Penn

Mandy Penn

Mandy Penn, Administrative Assistant at PIAW

Posted by on in Press Release


A service of your agent and the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents

Whether you haven’t yet taken down your Halloween decorations or you’re assembling your seventeenth gingerbread house of this season, it’s time once again to consider the safety issues surrounding many favorite winter holidays.

There are many things that can brighten the holidays. One light source that you may want to include only selectively is fire.

You may be cooking or baking more than usual. No matter how much you do, be sure to keep kids and flammable items like kitchen towels away from the stove and oven. Clean up any grease as you go.

Preparing to bring a live tree into your home? If so, choose one full of  green  needles  that  don’t  fall  of when you touch them and are diffi cult to pull from branches. Trees need to be watered daily! Don’t plug together more than three strands of lights; use a power strip instead. Throw away any strands that look worn, frayed, or broken, and always unplug all the electrical items connected to your tree before leaving home or going to bed.

Maybe you’re readying a candelabra to celebrate the holidays. You can use traditional candles instead of electrical ones, but be smart about it. Keep flammable items at least three feet from your candles, and put the candelabra on a non-flammable surface (we like to line a tray with aluminum foil in our house). Make sure each candle is standing firmly in its holder, and put your candelabra in a spot where it can’t easily be knocked down by children, pets, or careless adults. Never leave lit candles unattended.

If your holiday season coincides with the arrival of winter weather, and you just want to curl up in front of a cozy, warm fire with your family, be careful. Keep flammable items at least 3 feet from the fireplace, and use a fire screen to prevent embers from escaping into the room. Make sure the fire is completely out before you go to sleep.

Finally, some ideas that make sense year-round: make an emergency plan to use if there’s a fire in your home, and stick to the plan if you have an emergency. Avoid wearing loose, flowing clothing around open flames, whether they’re from a fireplace, stove, or candelabra. Of course, the safest way to avoid holiday fire hazards is to pass on using real fire in your celebrations.

Sources: American Red Cross; U.S. Fire Administration; U.S. Product Safety Commission.

Download the customizable pdf


Posted by on in Uncategorized

Stiff fines for not completing a workers compensation audit will take effect on 1-1-17.  All Wisconsin Workers Comp policies, new and renewal, will be subject to a fine of 2 times the annual premium for failure to complete an audit as requested.  See the WCRB letter for more details.

Click Here For More Details


Posted by on in Uncategorized


Contact: Ronald Von Haden, CIC
Executive Vice President
Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, Inc.
6401 Odana Road Madison, WI 53719

DATE: August 8, 2016

The 67th Annual Convention of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, Inc. was held August 3-5, 2016 at the Radisson Hotel & Casino in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Elected to serve as officers for the 2016-2017 term were:
• President: Brian MacGillis, CPIA of MacGillis Agency, Inc., Fredonia, WI
• Vice President: Jodi Cordes, CIC, CRM of A.F. Glass Insurance Center, Lake Geneva, WI
• Treasurer: Matt Cranney, CIC, CRM of M3 Insurance Solutions, Madison, WI
• Secretary: Sean Paterson, CIC of Allied Insurance Centers, Inc., Brookfield, WI

Elected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors were:
• Tom Budzisz, of BWO Insurance Group, Oak Creek, WI
• Jodi Cordes, CIC, CRM of A.F. Glass Insurance Center, Lake Geneva, WI
• Matt Cranney, CIC, CRM of M3 Insurance Solutions, Madison, WI
• Julie Ulset, CPIA of Grams Insurance Agency, LLC, Edgerton, WI

The Professional Agent of the Year Award was presented to:
• Ryan Von Haden, CIC, AIS of TRICOR, Inc., Madison, WI

The Company Representative of the Year Award was presented to:
• Michael Ottman, CIC, from Partners Mutual Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Stony Steinbach Achievement Award was presented to:
• Ryan Von Haden, CIC, AIS of TRICOR, Inc., Madison , WI

The Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, Inc. is a trade association representing over 600 independent insurance agencies in Wisconsin and over 3,500 agents and employees.

Click here for the pdf press release


Posted by on in Uncategorized

Creating a Home Inventory List

A service of  XXXXXXX Insurance Agency and the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin

Homeowners and renters alike benefit from keeping an up-to-date list of their property’s inventory. Insureds should create and then periodically update such a list to protect themselves in the event of a loss. Having an updated inventory list is essential to ensuring that you carry a sufficient amount of homeowners’ or renters’ insurance coverage. It can also make a difference in how efficiently your claim is processed in the event of a loss.

One factor that varies widely by policy is how much of what an insured currently owns will be reimbursed. If you aren’t sure what your policy covers, contact your insurance agent. Additionally, the property of college students living outside their parents’ home in off-campus housing is often not covered on a homeowners’ policy, so consumers should consult with their agents about whether they need renters’ insurance to cover their collegiate children’s belongings.

Some essential items to include in a home inventory are electronics, like computers, laptops, tablets, e-readers, smartphones, and televisions; clothing and accessories; housewares and other home appliances, including kitchen appliances and sporting and other hobby-related equipment; and other valuables (jewelry, art work, collectibles, etc.), some of which may require an addition (known as a “rider” or “floater”) to a standard policy. A home inventory list is also a good way to keep a record of important documents, including birth certificates, passports, social security cards, etc.  Keep track of account numbers and any other information you may need in the event of an emergency.

Many technology-based resources now exist to ease the burden of this vital task. Thanks to smartphones, it’s easier than ever to narrate a video and/or take still photos of the interior of your home to accompany your inventory list. Once the list has been created, it should be updated regularly, and updating it should take less time than creating it did. Here are a few of the resources that exist to help you create a home inventory of your own:
National  Association  of  Insurance  Commissioners  (NAIC)’s app – This free smartphone app is available for Android and iPhone devices and enables consumers to make lists of their valuables, update said lists, and provide easy access to lists after a disaster. Using the app, consumers can store photographs/videos, descriptions, bar codes, and serial numbers of their valuables,  and all the information can be organized by room. For people who don’t use smartphones, the NAIC also offers a downloadable checklist that can be used to create a home inventory list. Both can be found at http://home.insureuonline.org.

Insurance Information Institute’s (III) Inventory app – This free smartphone app is available for Android and iPhone devices and enables consumers to add rooms, items, and photos or videos. It also synchronizes with Web-based software and can therefore be used anywhere via smartphone or computer. For people who don’t use smartphones, the III also offers a printable list, which is sorted by room and is a good way to start thinking about what needs to be inventoried, whether you use this list alone or in conjunction with one of the many available home inventory apps. The printable list can be found at http://www.knowyourstuff.org.

XXXXXX Insurance Agency is a member of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin

Click here for the customizable word document


Posted by on in Industry News


DSC01701 web1

Reforming the Local Government Property Insurance Fund

Governor Walker recently signed AB 584, sponsored by Senator Frank Lasee and Representative John Nygren, to reform the LGPIF.  In a signing ceremony at the Capitol, PIA President Rick Clements and Executive Vice President Ron Von Haden (1st and 2nd on left) stood with the Governor, legislators other industry representatives as he signed the new law to be effective June 30, 2016.

PIA legislative team members had been working completely shut down the LGPIF as part of the last biennial budget but that effort hit some political roadblocks so introduction of new legislation had to be passed to force the LGPIF to act in an actuarially sound manner and not as a publicly supported competitor to the private insurance industry.

The private insurance market, led by independent insurance agents across the state, has proven that it can provide professionally designed coverage to local government units at competitive rates and sound insurance principles.  The LGPIF has been in financial trouble for several years but now will have to adhere to stricter rules and regulations.

The PIA team is proud of our involvement in this process to reform the LGPIF and clear a competitive path for independent agents.  We congratulate Senator Lasee, Representative Nygren and Governor Walker for their commitment to a private industry solution to an unnecessary government boondoggle. 


Posted by on in Industry News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                         CONTACT:   Ted Besesparis
April 14, 2016                                                                     703-518-1352

PIA National Names Ryan Von Haden
2016 Young Insurance Professional of the Year

RyanAwards web

WASHINGTON — Ryan Von Haden, Partner and Vice President of Business Accounts with TRICOR insurance in Madison, Wisconsin, has been named the 2016 PIA National Young Insurance Professional of the Year. The award was presented April 8, 2016, by the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) and was sponsored by The Rough Notes Company.

            “You know that a young agent is destined to make his mark on our industry when he has achieved so much, and he’s still just 34 years old,” said PIA National Vice President/Treasurer Tim Russell, in presenting the award. “Ryan is Partner and Vice President of Business Accounts with TRICOR insurance in Lancaster, Wisconsin. He started with the agency in commercial sales in 2006. In 10 years, he grew his own personal book of business from scratch—zero dollars—to $8 million in gross premiums. He became a partner in 2014, the first non-family partner in the 71-year history of the agency.”

            Von Haden has been heavily involved in PIA of Wisconsin (PIAW) and was Chairman of the PIAW Young Professionals Club for six years. During that time, he took a fledgling scholarship program that was happy to award one $500 scholarship to a young student—and turned it into a single day golf outing that provides up to $25,000 annually in scholarships, to deserving students who are pursuing a career in the insurance industry.

            Ryan Von Haden is the son of PIA of Wisconsin Executive Vice President Ron Von Haden, who has dedicated more than four decades of his life to serving PIA. “We are extremely proud of Ryan and his fellow young professionals for the work they have done to provide scholarships as well as his dynamic personal sales and family achievements,” said Ron Von Haden.  

            “Encouraging young people to consider a career as a professional insurance agent must be a top priority for all of us,” Russell said. “We are particularly pleased to partner with the Rough Notes Company in this important effort.”

               The PIA National Young Insurance Professional of the Year award recognizes outstanding achievement by a young insurance professional. Sponsored for the eleventh year in a row by The Rough Notes Company, it was presented during a gala luncheon ceremony on April 8, 2016, in Arlington, Virginia, held during national PIA meetings which followed the 2016 PIA Federal Legislative Summit.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America. . PIA’s web address is http://www.pianet.com/ http://www.pianet.com/">www.pianet.com.

This press release is online at:

Ted Besesparis
Senior Vice President, Communications
direct 703.518.1352 | tedbe@pianet.org
National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
400 N. Washington St., 2nd floor, Alexandria, VA 22314-2353
main 703.836.9340 | fax 703.836.1279 | www.pianet.com


Posted by on in Press Release

Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
6401 Odana Rd.
Madison, WI 53719


Drones, Hoverboards, Kids Vehicles

MADISON, Wisconsin (January 4, 2016)    Drones, hoverboards and drivable electric vehicles for kids were hot items for Christmas. Be aware of potential insurance issues with their use.      

Some homeowners and renters insurance policies may not provide coverage for injuries or damage to property of others while using your new high-tech toys. Many, but not all, home insurance policies cover the operation of model aircraft which are not used to carry cargo.  Most home policies do not cover “motor vehicles”, except in very limited situations.  Some policies have an age or speed restriction on “motor vehicles” and also specify that protection may only apply while they are being operated on your premises.  Since both hoverboards and electric vehicles are powered by electric motors, they may fall under the definition of “motor vehicles”.

According to Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW):

“Injuries and property damage do occur so consumers are encouraged to contact their professional insurance agent to be sure they are properly protected. Homeowners policies, renters policies and personal liability umbrella policies should be reviewed with your agent.”

The safety and insurance issues surrounding drones, hoverboards, kids vehicles and other exciting new toys are a good reminder to have your insurance protection updated periodically.  Does your agent know about the new toys, guns, artwork or jewelry you have acquired since your last review?  These issues also highlight the importance of a personal liability umbrella policy.

Click Here to download and customize the press release for your use.

PIAW members are professionals who protect homes, autos, and businesses from the everyday risks you encounter.  To find a PIA member near you, look for the PIA logo or visit www.piaw.org


Posted by on in Press Release
Don’t Be “Skimmed” By ATM Thieves

MADISON, Wisconsin (November 1, 2015)    ATM “skimming” is a process in which thieves obtain information from the magnetic strips on the back of debit cards by placing a well-disguised device over an ATM’s card-insert area.

            The device captures the card number and security data while simultaneously recording the cardholder, by way of a tiny camera pointed at the ATM’s keypad, as the cardholder enters their PIN.  The thieves are then able to drain the debit card’s funds or spend the balance at will.  Skimming can happen at all ATM’s, including ATM’s in heavy traffic areas.

            According to FICO (a credit scoring and analytics firm), attacks on ATM’s have reached the highest level in 20 years.  ATM thefts on bank properties have increased by174 percent while successful attacks on non-bank ATM’s have experienced a frightening 317 percent increase.

            Here are a few tips you can utilize to protect yourself says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW):

1.      Try to visit only ATM’s you trust.

·         By using your bank’s network, you may be eligible for security policies or services they provide to members.

·         If an ATM looks damaged or tampered with, report it to the ATM owner and move to a different ATM.

2.       Cover your PIN.

·         Make it a habit to cover your PIN when you’re withdrawing cash.

·         Use whichever hand corresponds to the card-insert area.  If you insert the card on the right side of the ATM, enter your PIN with your left hand, covering it with your right. This will ensure your hand blocks any hidden camera on the machine.

3.       Pay attention to your charges.

·         Check your statement carefully for charges that you did not make yourself. Skimmers will often make small, infrequent charges to avoid detection.

4.      Report fraud ASAP!

·         If you experience any ATM fraud, report it as fast as you can.  Under the Electronic Transfer Fund Act, the sooner you report any unauthorized charges, the greater your federal protections are.

Click Here to download and customize the press release for your use.

PIAW members are professionals who homes, autos, and businesses from the everyday risks you encounter.  To find a PIA member near you, look for the PIA logo or visit www.piaw.org

Posted by on in Press Release

  August 17, 2015
RELEASE DATE:  Immediate

MADISON, WI    The 66th Annual Convention of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, Inc. was held August 5-7, 2015 at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

Elected to serve as officers for the 2015-2016 term were:

·         President:  Rick Clements, LUTCF of Clements Insurance Agency, Inc., Wausau, WI

·         Vice President:  Brian MacGillis, CPIA of MacGillis Agency Inc., Fredonia, WI

·         Treasurer:  Jodi Cordes, CIC, CRM of A.F. Glass Insurance Center, Lake Geneva, WI

·         Secretary: Matt Cranney, CIC, CRM of M3 Insurance Solutions, Madison, WI

Elected to serve a three-year term on the Board of Directors were:

·         John Klinzing, CIC of Affiliated Insurance Agencies of WI, Madison, WI

·         Sandra Hardrath, CIC, CPIA, AAI, IIA of Ansay & Associates, Manitowoc,  WI

·         Sean Paterson, CIC of Allied Insurance Centers, Brookfield, WI

The Professional Agent of the Year Award was presented to:

·         Julie Ulset, CPIA of Grams Insurance Agency, Edgerton, WI

The Company Representative of the Year Award was presented to:

·         Erin Pinney, CIC, CPCU, MBA from West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, West Bend, WI

The Stony Steinbach Achievement Award was presented to:

·         Jeff Glass, CPIA of A.F. Glass Insurance Agency, Lake Geneva , WI

The Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, Inc. is a trade association representing over 650 independent insurance agencies in Wisconsin and over 3,500 agents and employees.


Posted by on in Press Release
Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
6401 Odana Rd.
Madison, WI 53719                                          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ATTN: Ron Von Haden
Phone (800) 261-7429

Homeowner Liability When Hiring Contractors Or Other Help

MADISON, Wisconsin (July 1, 2015)    Anyone you hire to help around your house, such as the neighbor boy who mows your lawn, a babysitter, a contractor or other outside services, opens you up to potential legal headaches.  If anyone is injured while performing work on your property, you may be financially liable for the person’s injuries and disabilities.

         “Many homeowners assume that their homeowners insurance policy will protect them If someone is injured on their property,” says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW).  “That is not necessarily true. Contractors such as builders or landscapers should be covered by their own workers’ compensation, health or disability insurance.  However, if they do not have coverage, you could be held liable.  That’s why it’s important to thoroughly check out any contractor you have working on your property.”

            “Some homeowners policies may provide limited coverage for the minors that mow the lawn and even domestic workers like maids, nannies or cleaners.  If yours does not, it might be a good idea to purchase an umbrella liability policy to supplement your homeowners liability insurance.  Discuss your policy and your needs with your professional independent agent to determine whether or not you are adequately covered.”

Click Here to download a customizable copy for your use.


Posted by on in Industry News
Dismukes PhotoNew From PIA of Wisconsin

PIAW Members receive 10% off John Dismukes Agency Valuation or other services.

What Is Your Agency Worth?  That’s one of the most frequent questions agency owners ask PIA.  Members can now receive a professional valuation from a leading industry expert at a fraction of the industry standard pricing.  Several options are available, depending on how detailed you want your evaluation to be.   Take the guesswork out of valuing your most valuable asset by contacting John Dismukes.    

John Dismukes has over 47 years experience in the insurance industry; as an agency owner, and insurance company and association employee.

He conducts insurance education classes nationwide, is an expert witness, and conducts Agency Valuations of all sizes. John is the CIC Education Consultant for the PIA of Wisconsin and Colorado.

Visit: dismukestrainingandconsulting.com


Posted by on in Industry News
PIA National - June Government Relations Update

Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Mark-up

On May 21st, the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee held a mark-up for “The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015,” and was voted out of the committee along party lines, with 12 voting in favor and 10 voting against the measure. The bill was introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL). Chairman Shelby’s bill aims to improve transparency within the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and roll back provisions in Dodd-Frank. The Senate Banking Committee also released a section by section summary, breaking down each provision of the bill.

“The Financial Regulatory Improvement Act of 2015” contains two measures that PIA supports: The Policyholder Protection Act of 2015 (S.798), and the International Insurance Capital Standards Accountability Act (S.1086). The Policyholder Protection Act of 2015 would allow state regulators to protect policyholders in their state by ensuring that insurance companies structured under larger financial institutions could not be held financially responsible for their affiliated bank’s failure or financial crisis. This measure provides protection for the state-based insurance system by prohibiting federal regulators from using assets designated to pay out insurance claims to “prop up” an affiliated bank, and it allows for state regulators to rehabilitate a troubled bank, rather than moving directly to liquidation. Senator Shelby’s bill also includes S.1086, which would establish an Insurance Policy Advisory Committee on International Capital Standards and other insurance issues at the Federal Reserve. This measure would also support increasing transparency and public observer access to working groups and meetings at the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS).

Senate Democrats opposed Chairman Shelby’s bill and accused Republicans of trying to roll back broad swaths of the Dodd-Frank law. Democrats on the committee instead supported a narrower bill, offered as an amendment during the markup, introduced by their ranking member on the committee, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), which would provide narrower regulatory relief, confined only to community banks and credit unions. This bill can be read here. The Democratic bill did not include PIA-supported provisions and was defeated along party lines.

After the markup, Chairman Shelby said that he intended the markup to serve as the beginning of negotiations on the regulatory relief bill, and he intends to engage in continued negotiations with Democrats through the summer before bringing the bill to the Senate floor. While the bill passed along partisan lines in the markup, in order to pass the full Senate it will need to be bipartisan due to the 60 vote threshold needed to bypass procedural hurdles.

PIA will continue to be engaged with members of the Committee during the negotiation process to advocate for the inclusion of the Policyholder Protection Act and the International Insurance Capital Standards Accountability Act in a final, bipartisan bill. Please see our press release in support of the Shelby bill here.

Flood Insurance

2015 National Flood Conference

The 2015 National Flood Conference (NFC) was held May 17-20 in Arlington, Virginia. The program included sessions of interest to agents; insurers; underwriters; legal and claims; floodplain managers; lenders; flood servicers; and the government. PIA National participated in the NFC, led by PIA National President Richard A. Clements. Pat Borowski, senior vice president of Industry Affairs, has written a full wrap-up report on the conference and PIA's participation, which can be found here.

Sandy Claims Review Letters Mailed to Policyholders

On May 15, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sent out letters to give policyholders affected by Superstorm Sandy the opportunity to request a review of their Sandy flood insurance claims, to ensure they received a proper loss payment. Policyholders may initiate this claim review in two ways: by telephone or by visiting a webpage to download an application and submit it. The letter was sent by FEMA to approximately 142,000 Sandy policyholders, with the final mailing set to take place on June 11, 2015.

House Hearing on Flood Insurance

The U.S. House Financial Services Committee’s subcommittee on Housing and Insurance is scheduled to hold a hearing on June 2nd titled, “The National Flood Insurance Program: Oversight of Superstorm Sandy Claims.” The sole witness is Brad Kieserman, FEMA’s Deputy Associate Administrator.

The hearing comes on the heels of the recent launch of the U.S. Senate Task Force on Superstorm Sandy, as reported in the May update, led by the senators from New Jersey and New York. Late last month, one Task Force member, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said that he’d like to see the Write Your Own (WYO) private insurance companies participating in the NFIP removed from the program. Senator Schumer claims the WYOs don’t properly represent homeowners and have profit-driven motivations. Senator Schumer has floated the possibility that FEMA work with a single company to sell and manage policies. FEMA has said that all options, including the one Senator Schumer has suggested, are being considered.

PIA is engaging with lawmakers on both the Sandy claims process as well as the future reauthorization of the NFIP, which expires in 2017.


On May 4, 2015, PIA submitted comments on proposed rule concerning the Excise Tax (also known as Cadillac Tax) on High Cost Employer Health Plans (Notice 2015-16). While PIA agrees that controlling healthcare costs is important, PIA is concerned that the forthcoming excise tax will have a disparate impact on certain classes. The tax is intended to target only high cost employer-sponsored health plans, not moderate benefit plans. However, a Mercer survey recently estimated that it would impact 31% of employers in 2018 and 51% of employers by 2022, indicating the excise tax will have a much broader effect than Congress intended.

In addition to our own comments, PIA also signed on to comments with a coalition opposed to the excise tax. As reported in the May government relations update, we are also advocating in favor of two bills that would repeal the tax before it is implemented in 2018.

Regulatory Affairs

The Federal Advisory Committee of Insurance (FACI), a committee of 21 state insurance regulators, consumer advocates, insurance company executives and other insurance experts, met on April 7. FACI advises the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) on important insurance issues. PIA attended the meeting.

The committee discussed price optimization, a controversial underwriting practice of using information unrelated to risk to set rates for a particular insured and is a concern of many consumer advocates. The FACI Affordability and Accessibility of Insurance subcommittee considered the issue and recommended that regulators should scrutinize outcomes of insurance rating practices to see if they are having a disparate impact. At least three states have already issued bulletins on price optimization; Florida has banned the practice and New York has issued a request for information on the issue.

FACI also heard two presentations on risk mitigation strategies: one from the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), discussing wind and wire fire mitigation efforts; and one from FEMA, discussing a recent executive order on floodplain management. Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky of New York also briefed the committee on cybersecurity activities, stating that the New York Department is focusing on risk management strategies for insurance and financial services companies. FIO Director Michael McRaith stated that the Department of Treasury is also working on cybersecurity issues.

Jon Gentile
Director of Federal Affairs
direct 703.518.1365 | cell 202.744.2644 | jonge@pianet.org

National Association of Professional Insurance Agents
400 N. Washington St., 2nd floor, Alexandria, VA 22314-2353
main 703.836.9340 | fax 703.549.5190 | www.pianet.com

PIA members are "Local Agents Serving Main Street America."SM
See why independent insurance agents across America are declaring, "I AM PIA."


Posted by on in Press Release

After a Long Winter, Wisconsin Homeowners May Find Roofs are Leaking Due to Ice Dams, Storms - Insurance Will Likely Cover It

MADISON, Wisconsin (February xx, 2015) – After dealing with rounds of snow, cold and melting this winter, homeowners may find themselves with leaky roofs this spring. Many homeowners are confused about whether insurance will cover the repair or replacement of their leaky and/or aging roof.

“Generally speaking, if ice dams, fallen trees or a winter storm damaged your roof causing it to leak, the damage and repairs to that portion of the roof should be covered by your homeowners insurance,” advised name, title, your agency or company. (Add a line to two about your company/agency.)

According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average home insurance claim for water damage and freezing (which ice dams can cause) is $3,098.

While damage from a storm is generally quite obvious, ice dams occur over time making damage more difficult to spot.

“If you notice staining on your ceilings or walls, or water coming through outlets or draining in the wrong places, contact your local independent insurance agent immediately. They will send someone to assess the damage and give you advice on your options,” noted Lastname.

While your homeowners insurance will cover damage to the affected part of the roof, it may not cover full replacement of your roof.

In addition, insurance typically does not cover costs for routine roof maintenance or replacement due to age and most likely will not cover personal property inside the home that is damaged by leaking water.

However, it's important to remember that all insurance companies cover roof and exterior property damage differently. The easiest way to know what's covered or what's not, is to contact your professional, independent insurance provider.

“Coverage will often depend on the age of your roof, the area you live in, and many other factors, so it's important to know the specifics of your policy,” noted Lastname.

For more information on insurance considerations when you travel, contact us. (You may want to add a phone number or email here.)

Your (company name) is a proud member of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin. For more information visit www.PIAW.org.


Posted by on in Press Release

Home Inventories Ensure You are Fairly Compensated For Losses –
And There’s an App for That

MADISON, Wisconsin (January xx, 2015) – While no one wants to dwell on the negative, disasters such as fires, floods, tornadoes and other severe storms do occur in Wisconsin. Your best defense is to be well prepared. A key step you can take toward being prepared is creating a home inventory, which will help you get reimbursement from your insurance company for any lost possessions.

“When you don’t have a home inventory and try to reconstruct what you owned, it can be quite a challenge," says name, title, your agency or company. (Add a line to two about your company/agency.). "It’s very possible to overlook or forget things, so you may get less of a settlement than you would if you had an up-to-date inventory."

Creating an inventory used to be a challenge, but now, there’s an app for that. These apps are easy to use and often backup to the cloud, so you can access them when needed. While most of the programs listed are free, some do have a cost and that is noted.

Here are a few options for your review:

  • Know Your Stuff Home Inventory - This home inventory app from the Insurance Information Institute backs up your data to the cloud, for ensured access if disaster strikes. The program is available for desktop, but also has an app for iPhone® and Android phones. Using the app, you can modify or add to your online inventory—and easily add photos directly from your phone. The program and app are free: www.knowyourstuff.org.
  • MyStuff2 Lite - Keep track of everything from your electronics and appliances to your jewelry and movie collections. Barcode scanning and Amazon integration is included. This is only available for iPhone® and the free version limits you to 15 items. For $8.99, you can upgrade to the Pro version, which has no item limit. It is available on iTunes®.
  • NM Home Inventory – This software captures key information including photos, description and receipts. It can be used in conjunction with a desktop version, as well. This is for Android phones and it is free. Find it in the app store.
  • Encircle - A home inventory tool that allows homeowners, landlords and property managers to efficiently inventory all of their properties. It is easy to update and manage inventory using a smartphone, tablet or the web. This application is free and can be found online: encircleapp.com and in the app stores.

“Another good tip is to check with your local, independent, professional insurance agent before you start your inventory. Your agent can tell you whether your insurance company has any specific reimbursement requirements and whether they offer an app that you can use,” noted last name.

“Your agent can also advise you about expensive or rare items such as your grandmother’s diamond engagement ring, pricey electronics, a piece of artwork or collectible that may exceed the limits of standard homeowners or renters insurance. To ensure this property is protected, you may need extra coverage, called a rider, that covers the true replacement value of these items,” last name explained.


Posted by on in Press Release

How to Prevent Ice Dams This Winter – Tips from the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin

MADISON, Wisconsin (January 05, 2015) – Winter has gotten a head start in Wisconsin, with many residents already experiencing significant snow falls. Such early snow increases the time period for ice dams to occur.

Ice dams are caused when the sun shines on your roof or warmth from the attic melts the snow…and as the water runs down, it meets the cold edge of the roof and re-freezes. Ice dams can cause a lot of damage to ceilings, walls, floors, insulation and other property inside your home.

“The good news is that most basic homeowners’ policies cover damage caused by ice dams,” says name, title, your agency or company. (Add a line to two about your company/agency.) “However, due to the inconvenience it’s better to prevent ice dams from happening in the first place.”

  • Be sure that your attic is properly insulated and ventilated, so that the temperature stays at a consistent level, under 32 degrees or below. The attic and roof should be cold so the temperature doesn’t melt the ice on the roof.
  • Seal air leaks in your attic to prevent warm air from escaping and causing snow to melt.
  • If you are concerned about ice dams or heat loss, this is a great time to have an Energy Star professional inspect your attic, roof and home, to look for areas of heat loss or poor ventilation, and offer potential money-saving recommendations.
  • Some home improvement contractors encourage the use of roof rakes to remove extensive snow build-up when it gets over six inches, others caution that shingles can be too easily damaged with roof rakes. If you choose to rake your roof, be very careful not to damage the shingles or pull snow and other loose debris onto yourself or others. The roof does not need to be bare; you are just doing preventive maintenance by removing some snow.
  • DO NOT TRY TO CLEAR ICICLES. If you have large icicles, this is a sign that you may have a large ice dam. Large icicles can weigh several hundred pounds and have severely injured and even killed people. Leave that job to the professionals.

If you experience damage from an ice dam, notify your insurance agent as soon as possible to begin filing a claim. Make a list of all damaged or lost personal property and take photos, if possible.

“You can make temporary repairs immediately to protect your property from further damage. Keep the receipts and include them in your insurance claim. Permanent repairs must wait until the insurance adjuster has had a chance to review the damage.”

It is also important when you are making repairs to make sure the contractor you use is licensed and reputable.


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Scholarship Applications are Due February 15, 2015


MADISON, Wisconsin (December 18, 2014) – The Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW) Young Professionals Club, based in Madison, WI, is awarding $25,000 in scholarships to high school and college students who are pursuing careers in insurance or a related field of study such as risk management.

High school seniors and current college students may be awarded a $2,500 scholarship provided they submit an application and meet the entry criteria. These are some of the largest private scholarships available. Application forms are available from the PIAW web site (www.piaw.org.)

The application form and attachments need to be submitted by February 15, 2015. Applicants also need a PIAW sponsor. They can go to the website and find the PIAW agent in their hometown to request a sponsorship, if needed. No insurance has to be purchased to qualify for the scholarships.

The Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin, Inc,. is a trade association representing over 650 independent insurance agencies in Wisconsin and 3,500 agents and employees.

Posted by on in Press Release

You Can Be Liable If Your Guests Have Too Much Holiday Cheer

The Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin remind you to protect yourself and your company

MADISON, Wisconsin (December 4, 2014) – The holiday season is incredibly busy with gifts to buy, homes to decorate and parties to plan. In Wisconsin, those parties include plenty of fun, food and beverages.

And while no one wants to think the worst during the holidays, the statistics are sobering. In 2012, 33,579 people were arrested for Operating While Intoxicated (OWI), including 385 people under the age of 18. According to the Wisconsin DOT, alcohol-related crashes killed 223 people and injured nearly 3,000 in 2012 

In addition, approximately, 36 percent of all fatal traffic crashes and 33 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes in Wisconsin in 2012 were alcohol-related.

“As a party host, you are responsible for your guests’ behavior,” says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). “Before your next party, review your homeowners or renters insurance with your professional independent agent to ensure that you are properly covered for property damage and personal injury liability.

“Be sure your policy doesn’t exclude incidents that arise from serving alcohol. Depending on your situation, you might also consider adding a personal liability umbrella policy for additional coverage. Your professional independent agent can help you determine whether or not this is necessary.”

If you choose to serve alcohol at your party, stay sober yourself so that you are aware of your guests’ condition. Don’t serve guests if they’ve had too much to drink and make sure everyone has a designated driver. Be sure to have food to munch on and stop serving alcohol at least one hour before the end of the party.

“Companies can also be held liable when they host parties where alcohol is served,” says Von Haden. “To limit their liability at events where alcohol is served, companies should:

·         Monitor Alcohol Consumption - Don't have an unsupervised bar. Hire professional bartenders and issue a small quantity of drink tickets for each guest. After that, make guests pay for their drinks. Offer a wide selection of non-alcoholic drinks. Be sure there is food to munch on. Close the bar at least an hour before the event ends.

·         Determine Whether Guests Are Intoxicated - Make reasonable assumptions about whether a guest is impaired based on how many drinks he/she's had.

·         Prevent Intoxicated Guests from Driving - Adopt a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving. Have a list of “designated drivers” you can call for each employee if they have had too much or supply vans or cabs to give guests a ride home.

As a final tip, remind everyone to wear their seatbelts on the way home. It has been proven over and over again that seatbelts save lives.

For more information or to locate a PIA member near you, look for the PIA logo or go to www.PIAW.org.

* PIAW Members - As a member benefit you are able use this press release (with your agency information and logo inserted) on your social media pages and local newspaper. It is a great way to reach out to your customers. Please find the downloadable pdf under "Press Releases" Here.


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Protect Yourself from Identity Theft – 8 Tips from the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin

MADISON, Wisconsin (November 15, 2014) – It seems that every day there is a new report of major data breaches for national companies such as JP Morgan and Home Depot as well as small local business. While you can’t stop large-scale data breaches, there are steps you can take to keep your identity safe during the holiday shopping season.

“Identity theft is very lucrative and is becoming much more prevalent,” says Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW). According to the Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection: Wisconsin identity theft complaints increased 46% in 2012 compared to 2011. “The number of unreported thefts, usually involving family members, is likely to be much higher,” notes Von Haden.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), identity theft affects 11 million victims each year, costing individuals and businesses more than $52 billion.

“The good news is that there are ways to keep identity thieves from stealing your credit card information and other personal data – you just need to be vigilant and be aware of any red flags or warning signs. If you think something is fishy, it probably is,” Von Haden notes.

  • When shopping at the mall or neighborhood stores; carry your wallet or purse securely. Also, purge your wallet or purse of unneeded credit cards. And leave your social security card and check book at home.
  • Write "Check Photo ID" in permanent ink on your credit card, near your signature. This will remind cashiers to check your identity before processing your card.
  • Before buying anything online, make sure the site is secure. Secure sites will have "https" instead of "http" in the web address.
  • Use different passwords for different websites. If a thieve learns a single password, he or she will attempt to use it at many sites...and since many consumers save their credit card information on shopping sites, thieves can easily run up thousands of dollars in charges.
  • Always review your credit card statements carefully to be sure that the charges listed are correct. Credit card companies only give consumers 60 days to dispute charges and they must be disputed in writing.
  • Be aware of phishing schemes or fundraising scams. “Unscrupulous thieves are very good at making emails look like they are coming from legitimate charities and other institutions,” says Von Haden. “Don’t click on a link in the email, type in the website address so you know you are being taken to the legitimate website.”
  • Give to organizations your family has an existing relationship with or those that speak to a cause you believe in.

Many insurance companies are offering identity theft insurance. Coverage typically costs from $20 to $100 a year as a rider to a basic homeowner’s policy or as a stand-alone purchase.

“This insurance can be helpful to reimburse consumers for long-distance phone calls, legal expenses and more,” says Von Haden. “Your professional independent insurance agent can discuss the benefits and costs of identity theft insurance so you can determine whether it’s right for you.”

For more information or to locate a PIAW member near you, look for the PIAW logo or go to www.PIAW.org.


Posted by on in Press Release

Professional Agents of Wisconsin Encourage Vets to Consider Insurance as a Career Opportunity

MADISON, Wis (November 3, 2014) – The Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW) realizes it can be difficult to find a job with our unsettled economy and urges veterans to consider the field of insurance as a rewarding career option. According to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) more than 125,000 people in Wisconsin are employed in the finance and insurance industry. “The average wage is $66,000, nearly 70% above the Wisconsin wage average, and incomes in the six figures are common,” said Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW).

“While most people think of insurance as primarily sales, there are so many more opportunities within the industry such as:

·         arson investigators

·         IT and applications engineers

·         mathematicians/accountants

·         marketing/social media pros

·         customer service representatives

·         civil engineers

·         automotive appraisers

·         and more

In addition, veterans who wish to become licensed professionals may be eligible to receive one initial license fee waiver through Wisconsin Act 209.

            “The PIAW website, (www.piaw.org) lists employment opportunities from our members. Simply click on the careers and resume button on the right hand side of the page,” explained Von Haden.

“Another key benefit to joining our industry that is that insurance professionals are valued members of the community … giving back to those who need it most. And, when disaster strikes, we help make things right and provide hope and compassion to the families who have been impacted.”

We are encouraging our members to hire our Veterans and so they can benefit from the quality of the employee they receive,” said Von Haden.

If you are interested in an insurance career, or would like more information, look for the PIAW logo or go to www.PIAW.org.

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Wisconsin Requires Homeowners to Install Both Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors to Help Save Lives

MADISON, Wis. (October 4, 2014) – Since October is National Fire Prevention Month, families will be performing home fire drills and testing smoke alarms to ensure they work properly. At the same time, they should also be testing their carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Many folks may not be aware that both smoke detectors and CO detectors are required by the State of Wisconsin.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by consumer products.

“Anything that burns a fuel — such as a furnace, fireplace, generator, gas appliance or car — can produce CO. It’s vital to properly maintain and operate these pieces of equipment to prevent CO from building up in your home. If carbon monoxide lingers in your home, apartment or garage, it can trigger serious health issues,” said Ron Von Haden, CIC, Executive Vice President of the Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin (PIAW).

Families in cold weather climates have an extra risk as they may be tempted to use stoves, ovens or even gas or charcoal grills to help heat the home. “Using these appliances for heat is extremely dangerous as it can lead to fires and/or CO poisoning,” noted Von Haden.

Following are some important safety tips:

  • When warming up a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor in the garage, even if the door is open.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow as CO could build up inside the vehicle, even if it is outside a garage.
  • Keep fireplaces and gas stoves clean and well vented.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • NEVER use gas or charcoal grills inside the home.
  • Be sure generators are located in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.

Initial symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea or dizziness. High levels of CO can case mental confusion, vomiting and loss of muscle control and unconsciousness.

“If your detector sounds or you are concerned about CO levels, get everyone out of the house and call 911 from a safe location,” noted Von Haden.


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Professional Insurance Agents of Wisconsin
6401 Odana Road | Madison, WI 53719
Phone: (608) 274-8188 | Toll Free (800) 261-7429
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