Wednesday, October 7, 2015

After the Storms, watch your wallet!

Scammers are known to follow in the wake of natural disasters. They may claim to be able to fix damage done by the storm, or seek contributions to fake charities to help storm victims.
After a disaster, guard against home repair scams:

  • Don’t pay for work up front. Inspect the work and make sure you’re satisfied before you pay. A small down payment may be required for some projects, but don’t pay anything without getting a written contract. Avoid paying with cash.
  • Beware of any contractor who tries to rush you or comes to your home to solicit work. If an offer is only good now or never, find someone else to do the work. Seek recommendations from friends, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had work done on their homes.
  • Get three written estimates, if possible, and compare bids. Check credentials and contact our office and the Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the contractor. Get a written contract detailing all work to be performed, costs and a projected completion date, and get their certificate of insurance directly from their insurance company.

To help storm victims, make sure your donations will do the most good by avoiding charity scams:

  • Don’t respond to unsolicited emails and text messages asking you to give, and be wary of social networking pleas for donations. Fraudulent messages may look legitimate and use the name of real charities.
  • Watch out for pushy telemarketers, and say no to high-pressure appeals. If a caller refuses to answer your questions about the charity, offers to pick up a donation in person, or calls you and asks for a credit card, bank account or Social Security number, donate elsewhere.
  • Before you make a donation, do your homework first. To report a charity scam, call the Attorney General’s Office. To check up on a charity, call the Secretary of State’s office toll‑free at (888) 830‑4989.

For more tips and information, visit If you spot a storm scam, call Attorney General Roy Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina or file a complaint online.

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Senn Dunn Insurances announces 7 new hires in September!

Senn Dunn Insurance is excited to announce the hiring of 7 new associates in September!

Lesley Cave
Employee Benefits Account Manager
Charlotte Office

Melissa Franklin
Employee Benefits Account Manager
Greensboro Office

Dawn Roberts
Strategic Account Executive
Greensboro Office

Rosemary Kennedy
Administrative Associate
Greensboro Office

Shonté Jones
Employee Benefits Account Manager
Raleigh Office

Nicole Weingrad
Employee Benefits Account Manager
Greensboro Office

Katy Salvado
Business Insurance Associate
Raleigh Office


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hurricane Preparedness: Are you Prepared?

What Is a Hurricane?

A hurricane is a tropical storm that has rotating winds of at least 73 mph, but rarely exceeding 150 mph. Hurricanes are usually accompanied by rain, thunder, and lightning. These severe storms, which are spawned by low-pressure depressions moving over warm, tropical waters, originate in the Atlantic Ocean from June to October. In an average year, approximately six Atlantic tropical storms mature into hurricanes. (Hurricanes that originate in the Pacific Ocean are referred to as typhoons.)

As the warming air rises and gains moisture, it begins to spin and gain speed near the calm center, known as the eye of the hurricane. Surrounding the eye is a towering wall of moisture laden clouds whirled by strong winds.

At the center of the hurricane, the low pressure allows the surface of the ocean to be drawn up into the eye, forming a mound of water one to three feet higher than the surrounding surface. Driven by winds, this mound of water becomes the storm surge; as the storm makes landfall, the storm surge can tower up to twenty feet higher than the normal high tide.

What Happens When a Hurricane Makes Landfall?

Once a hurricane hits land, it loses contact with its primary source of energy, the warm ocean waters, and begins to slow down. As the hurricane passes over land, increased friction contributes to the break-up of the storm.

The greatest threat posed from a hurricane is from the heavy rainfall and from flooding caused by the storm surge. However, hurricane-force winds and flying debris can cause extensive damage until they dissipate. Hurricanes can also spawn tornadoes that are extremely dangerous and that contribute to the overall damage.

Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage and potentially large losses of life. In recent years, the death toll from hurricanes has been greatly diminished by timely warnings of approaching storms and by improved programs of public awareness. At the same time, losses from hurricane-related property damage in the United States continue to climb; this is primarily due to an increase in population and construction.

Hurricane Forecasting

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida uses satellite imagery, radar, and weather balloons to spot conditions that could trigger a hurricane.

As the storm nears land, NOAA and the Air Force use special aircraft to fly through the hurricane, measuring wind speed and barometric pressure and gathering other data. The information gathered is analyzed by computer models that estimate the storm's strength, rate of development, path, and estimated storm surge. Based on this information, NOAA issues a tropical storm warning, a hurricane watch, or a hurricane warning.

A tropical storm warning may be issued if winds of 39 to 73 mph are expected in an area. Such a warning will not be issued first if a hurricane is expected to strike.

A hurricane watch is issued for coastal areas when a tropical storm or hurricane conditions threaten within 24 to 36 hours.

A hurricane warning is issued for specific coastal areas when hurricane-force winds are expected to strike within 24 hours or less.

Usually, warnings allow sufficient time to prepare against hurricane damage and to make decisions for evacuation of personnel, if proper preparation had been taken at the beginning of the hurricane season. Use the checklists on the following pages to review essential steps in hurricane preparedness, response, and recovery.

Emergency Preparedness: Before the Hurricane

At the beginning of the hurricane season:

o  Establish an Emergency Preparedness Plan (EPP) that takes prevention, emergency response, and
disaster recovery into consideration. If an EPP is already in place, review and update it as needed for hurricane readiness.
o   Designate an Emergency Coordinator and an EPP Team. Assign responsibility to specific employees for advance arrangements to initiate the plan.

o   Insure that your insurance carrier claims reporting information is up to date.
o   Brace outside storage tanks and outer structures.
o   Inspect all battery powered equipment and backup power.
o   Inspect sewers and drains.
o   Check all drainage pumps.
o   Inspect the roof and flashing for serviceability.
o   Check the landscaping; prune dead branches.
o   Have a supply of plastic or tarpaulins on hand ready to cover water-sensitive equipment.

At the approach of the hurricane:

o   Inspect roof drains and piping; are they clear of debris and fully functional?
o   Check floor drains and sumps; are they clear of debris and fully functional?
o   Check all storm water catch basins and grates to be sure they are clear of debris.
o   Be sure that roof flashing is secure.
o   Make sure that doors and windows will remain latched.
o   Protect windows from flying debris.
o   Walk the grounds; move objects inside that could become missiles in high winds.
o   Anchor any equipment stored outside that could be moved by high winds.
o   Move supplies stored outside to inside storage.
o   Assemble supplies for the emergency crews and for emergency repairs.
o   Protect vital records against flooding and wind.
o   Secure backup records.
o   Inspect fire protection equipment.
o   Top off fuel in the emergency generators ; test run.
o   Evacuate non-essential personnel.
o   Have remaining personnel take shelter.
o   Check the supply and serviceability of sandbags.

Emergency Response: During the Hurricane

o   Patrol the facility continuously, as long as it is safe to do so.
o   Check for any damage to the structure.
o   Check for leaks and fire systems impairment.
o   Complete any emergency repairs that are possible and safe to perform.
o   Shut off any valves where pipes have been broken.
o   Watch for flooding. Use sandbags when necessary.
o   Watch for reverse winds after the eye of the storm has passed. They will affect different areas and perhaps break trees that had been blown in the other direction.

Emergency Recovery: After The Hurricane

o   Conduct a roll call of all personnel on the premises.
o   Assess the damage.
o   Check for safety hazards (downed trees, branches, downed power wires, leaking gas, blocked roof drains, reptiles).
o   Make temporary repairs to protect the structure and supplies.
o   Photograph and document any damage.
o   Promptly report the loss to your insurance carrier, contact your Senn Dunn Service Team for
assistance.  Visit to get detailed information on claim reporting.
o   Begin salvage operations.

Hurricane Related Websites & Mobile Applications

The following sites provide additional information and resources on hurricane (windstorm) preparedness and mitigation:

“Hurricane “App by the American Red Cross – in iTunes for iOS and Google Play for Android

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)- National Hurricane Center (NHC) -

National Weather Service -

The Weather Channel -

IBHS - Institute For Business & Home Safety -

American Red Cross -

Sandbagging for Flood Protection -

Hurricane Categories Defined (Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale)

Category 1 Very dangerous winds will produce some damage - storms usually cause no significant structural damage to building structures; however, they can topple unanchored mobile homes, as well as uproot or snap trees. Poorly attached roof shingles or tiles can blow off. Coastal flooding and pier damage are often associated with Category 1 storms.  Examples of storms of this intensity include: Hurricane Alice (1954), Danny (1985), Jerry (1989), Ismael (1995), Gaston (2004), Humberto (2007), Claudette (2003), Hanna (2008), and Barbara (2013).

Category 2 Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage - storms are strong enough that they can lift a house, and inflict damage upon poorly constructed doors and windows. Vegetation, poorly constructed signs, and piers can receive considerable damage. Mobile homes, whether anchored or not, are typically damaged, and many manufactured homes also suffer structural damage. Small craft in unprotected anchorages may break their moorings.  Hurricanes that peaked at Category 2 intensity, and made landfall at that intensity, include Diana (1990), Erin (1995), Alma (1996), Marty (2003), Juan (2003), Dolly (2008), Alex (2010), Ernesto (2012), and Arthur (2014).

Category 3 Devastating damage will occur - tropical cyclones and higher are described as major hurricanes in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific basins. These storms can cause some structural damage to small residences and utility buildings, particularly those of wood frame or manufactured materials with minor curtain wall failures. Buildings that lack a solid foundation, such as mobile homes, are usually destroyed, and gable-end roofs are peeled off. Manufactured homes usually sustain severe and irreparable damage. Flooding near the coast destroys smaller structures, while larger structures are struck by floating debris. Additionally, terrain may be flooded well inland.  Examples of storms of this intensity include Carol (1954), Alma (1966), Alicia (1983), Fran (1996), Isidore (2002), Jeanne (2004), Lane (2006), Bertha (2008), and Karl (2010) .
Category 4 Catastrophic damage will occur - hurricanes tend to produce more extensive curtain wall failures, with some complete roof structural failure on small residences. Heavy, irreparable damage and near complete destruction of gas station canopies and other wide span overhang type structures are common. Mobile and manufactured homes are leveled. These storms cause extensive beach erosion, while terrain may be flooded far inland.

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900, the deadliest natural disaster to hit the United States, peaked at an intensity that corresponds to a modern-day Category 4 storm. Other examples of storms at this intensity are Hazel (1954), Carmen (1974), Iniki (1992), Luis (1995), Iris (2001), Charley (2004), and Dennis (2005).

Category 5 Catastrophic damage will occur - is the highest category a tropical cyclone can obtain in the Saffir-Simpson scale. These storms cause complete roof failure on many residences and industrial buildings, and some complete building failures with small utility buildings blown over or away. Collapse of many wide-span roofs and walls, especially those with no interior supports, is common. Very heavy and irreparable damage to many wood frame structures and total destruction to mobile/manufactured homes is prevalent. Only a few types of structures are capable of surviving intact, and only if located at least 3 to 5 miles (5 to 8 km) inland. They include office, condominium and apartment buildings and hotels that are of solid concrete or steel frame construction, public multi-story concrete parking garages, and residences that are made of either reinforced brick or concrete/cement block and have hipped roofs with slopes of no less than 35 degrees from horizontal and no overhangs of any kind, and if the windows are either made of hurricane resistant safety glass or covered with shutters.  Storms of this intensity can be severely damaging.  Storms reaching category 5 status and made landfall include the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, the 1959 Mexico Hurricane, Camille in 1969, and Gilbert in 1988, Andrew in 1992, Dean, and Felix (Both 2007).

If you need to report a claim please call: 800-598-7161 extension 2001.

You may also report directly to your carrier  but you may also contact us with any questions or concerns.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Scammers Try to Exploit Travel Season

Many people hit the road in the summer, and crooks know it. Watch out for scammers posing as loved ones who run into trouble while traveling and need your money.

Emails from overseas

You get an email that appears to come from a friend or relative who says they were traveling overseas when disaster struck. Lost or stolen bags, a car accident, or some other calamity means they’re stuck and need you to send them money. In reality, your friend or family member probably isn’t overseas, and if they are, they don’t need your money. A crook sent the fraudulent email hoping your desire to help a loved one in need will override your common sense.

Grandparent scam

The “Grandma, it’s Me” scam plays on the same emotions and can be more believable during summer months when young people often travel. Seniors get a call from someone posing as their grandchild who claims to have been arrested or in an accident while away from home. The phony grandchild says they don’t want to bother Mom and Dad, so they ask Grandma or Grandpa to send them some money and keep it a secret. Victims may get a follow up call from someone posing as police, requesting more money on the grandchild’s behalf.

Several recent victims told our office they knew their grandchildren were on a trip and that made the con more plausible. Grandparent scammers also sometimes use information they find on social networking sites like Facebook to make their impersonation more realistic.


If you get desperate plea for money from traveling friends and family, resist the urge to send money right away. Instead:

·         Contact loved ones directly, such as by cell phone, and ask if they’re really in need of your help.
·         Ask callers questions that only the real person would know.
·         Report scams to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at

This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Words to make a parent nervous: Teen driver

New teen driver. As both the father of a new driver and an underwriter, those words make me nervous. But some proactive discussion among the new driver, his or her parents and your local agent can make the teenage driving years a lot less stressful.



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

5 major changes in P&C insurance since Hurricane Katrina

In the early morning hours of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States, resulting in more than $41 billion in insured property damage, with total economic damage topping $100 billion. The fallout from Katrina has led to significant changes within the insurance and risk management industry.

According to the Marsh report, "10 Years After Hurricane Katrina: Lessons in Preparedness, Response, and Resiliency," changes over the past 10 years in the property and casualty insurance industry were all influenced by Hurricane Katrina, as well as Hurricane Ike and Superstorm Sandy. The report reviews how property insurance, claims, analytics, risk engineering, and crisis management have changed since Katrina—and explains what has been learned from Katrina and other disasters about protecting people, property, and profits.



Monday, August 17, 2015

The 10 most dangerous U.S. cities for red-light running

Whether it's because we're distracted or in a hurry, red-light running is a dangerous driving behavior that many of us are apparently guilty of, at least on occasion. A shocking 3.7 million drivers in the United States received a violation for running a red light in 2014, according to the the National Coalition for Safer Roads.

In 2013, at least 697 people were killed in accidents involving red-light running in the U.S., while an estimated 127,000 people were injured. And not surprisingly, the majority of incidents usually occur during peak summer driving periods such as Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.



Friday, August 14, 2015

16 keys to understanding terrorism risk insurance in 2015

Two bombs detonated within seconds of each other near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring more than 180 people. Gunmen killed 12 at the office of a French satirical magazine.

A gunman killed nine in an attack at Emanual African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Another gunman killed four Marines and a Navy sailor at two locations in Chattanooga, Tenn. A man flew his single engine plane into the Austin, Texas, IRS building, killing himself and one IRS employee and injuring 13 others.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Term vs. permanent life insurance: Which is right for you?

The biggest question to answer when purchasing life insurance is whether you need a term or permanent policy. Each type has advantages and limitations. To make the right decision, you should know and understand your options. Here are a few questions to consider:



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Marsh & McLennan Agency Mid-Atlantic Region New Hire Announcement

Senn Dunn Insurance is excited to announce the hiring of 3 new associates in July!
Robin Elder
Director of Service and Operations
Greensboro Office

Gail Sundquist
Employee Benefits Account Manager
Greensboro Office

Adrienne Williams
Technology Administrative Associate
High Point Office

Friday, July 31, 2015

Fire danger in the construction zone

Fires are a significant hazard on construction sites. A November 2014 National Fire Protection Association report found that between 2007 and 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 5,120 structure fires in residential properties that were either under construction or undergoing major renovation.

Each year, those fires led to an average of nine deaths, 94 injuries and $265 million in direct property damage. Firefighter deaths and injuries are not included in those statistics. But proper planning and monitoring can improve your chances of completing a project without incident.



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

You're married? You're getting a deal on your car insurance.

Your driving record seems a legitimate risk for insurers to consider when they price auto insurance. But your marital status?

Yes, young men in red sports cars will pay more for coverage than everyone else, but it’s hard to see how being a widow, or being divorced or separated, has much to do with the odds you’ll be in an accident.

Yet single, separated, and divorced people, and widows, often pay more for policies than married customers, according to a new study from the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). In the study, when a husband died, the cost of state-mandated liability coverage for the widow rose by an average of 20 percent at four of six major insurers, the study found.



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Tickle My Feet, Text: Things Not to Do While Riding a Motorcycle

Aggressive and reckless riders are among the top irritants say motorcyclists, according to a national survey commissioned by Erie Insurance and conducted by Harris Poll.

The online survey, conducted in June, asked nearly 200 U.S. motorcycle riders to share their top five pet peeves about both other riders and drivers of four-wheel vehicles, as well as the most common rookie rider mistakes. It also asked riders to fess up to the craziest, weirdest or most reckless thing they’d ever done while riding, or seen others do. Needless to say, that question yielded some quirky results.



Monday, July 20, 2015

12 home theft prevention tips for traveling homeowners

Summer is a popular time for vacations, weekend trips and even day trips, which means homes remain empty while their occupants are out having fun. Not surprisingly, the highest percentage of burglaries happen during the summer months.

According to American Modern Insurance Group, 30% of all burglaries occur as a result of something as simple as an open or unlocked window or door. Even if you feel your neighborhood is safe, empty homes are more vulnerable to theft.



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Drone Wars: Airspace and Legal Rights in the Age of Drones

It is only the tip of the iceberg. As technology advances, common citizens are increasingly finding themselves with the ability to obtain and fly reasonably-priced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) known as drones. News broadcasts are only now beginning to reflect the growing problems we can anticipate as their use becomes more and more common, both privately and commercially. Armed with high-definition cameras, these civilian UAVs have ranges of up to several miles and can hover over a neighbor’s pool party and capture footage of activity engaged in with an expectation of privacy.

The typical quadcopter has a flight time of 15 minutes, although smaller ones with tiny Photron FASTCAM viewer (FPV) cameras might be able to manage as much as 30 minutes. The proliferation of these amazing devices brings with it a whole host of legal issues which most assuredly will give rise to civil disputes and litigation. Understanding the laws affecting their use now becomes a prerequisite as opposed to an opportunity for an interesting lunch conversation.



Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Summer months are the most dangerous for motorcycle riders

Warm summer months see the most motorcycles on the road, and now there are more than ever out there. According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, motorcycle sales are up more than 8% through the first quarter of this year.

With this information, Progressive analyzed its 2014 motorcycle claims data to find safety tips to help out riders and their insurers to prevent needing to file a claim this summer.



Monday, July 6, 2015

The 15 states where insurance costs the least

As much as you'd like to escape insurance costs, your premiums are actually a smart way to manage risk and protect your financial well-being.

While the chance of an accident or catastrophe may be small, without insurance, you'd have to come up with signicant amounts of money on your own to rebuild your home if it burned to the ground, fix your car following a traffic accident, or have life-saving surgery.



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Senn Dunn Insurance Announces New Hires!

Please give a big welcome to Senn Dunn Insurance's new hires in June!

Allan Hild
Employee Benefits Consultant
Greensboro office

Nicholas Glenn
Claims and Risk Control Coordinator
Greensboro office

Bill Mashburn
Employee Benefits Account Manager
High Point, NC


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Senn Dunn Insurance Customer Service Representative (CSR) Recognized as Outstanding in North Carolina

Senn Dunn Insurance, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, is pleased to announce that Kelly Leishman, AINS, CBIA, an Account Manager in their Wilmington office, has been named the 2015 Outstanding CSR of the Year for the state of North Carolina by The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research. 

Congratulations Kelly!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

How do nurses impact workers' comp claim costs?

Medical and total loss dollars are reduced by double-digit percentages when nurses become involved on a workers’ compensation claim, according to a report from Liberty Mutual Insurance and its wholly owned third-party administrator, Helmsman Management Services.

Based on the findings from an internal study of 42,000 claims, a nurse’s participation in the workers’ comp process decreases a claimant’s future medical costs by 18% and overall costs by 26%. The study, “The N Factor: How Nurses Add Value to Workers’ Compensation Claims,” pulled data points across four categories:



Monday, June 22, 2015

The high cost of insuring a teen driver

Parents pay an average of 80 percent more for car insurance after adding a teen driver to their policy.

The highest jump in premiums—96 percent—comes from placing a 16-year-old driver on a policy while the average impact decreases to 60 percent at age 19, according to an report.

Premiums in New Hampshire jump 115 percent the most of any state when adding a teen driver. Teen drivers cause premiums to more than double in four other states: Wyoming (104%), Illinois (104%), Maine (103%) and Rhode Island (102%).



Thursday, June 18, 2015

5 important things millennials should know about insurance

Millennials are the largest and most educated generation in the U.S., and they’re changing the world like never before. Which is why it’s surprising to learn that they are also the most underinsured generation, a striking fact which also presents a big opportunity for advisors.

Last year, a survey from revealed that roughly one in four adults aged 18 to 29 do not have health insurance. In addition, millennials are also the least likely age group to have other basic types of insurance like auto, life, homeowners, renters and disability.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Welcome to the future: Here's what insurance 2.0 means for you

In his song, “Welcome to the Future,” Brad Paisley sings about how as a child he wished he could watch TV in the car on long drives, describes the letters his grandpa wrote to his grandma from Japan during the war and how he was on a video chat with a Japanese company that morning, and muses that the games he played at the arcade are now available on his cell phone.

Technology is changing everything and its successful implementation is quickly becoming a key differentiator for insurers. New products are entering the market at an alarming rate and insurers, auto makers and other industries are scrambling to catch up with the innovations customers are seeing from Google, Apple and Microsoft.



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Before hurricane watch turns to warning

The Atlantic hurricane season runs June 1 to November 30 each year. Residents of Atlantic and Gulf coastal areas should have a plan in place for rough weather. The National Hurricane Center monitors tropical storm activity as it develops, issuing a hurricane watch or warning as necessary.



Monday, June 8, 2015

Your roof may be aging faster than you realize

The roof of your home is its first line of defense against the elements. But as a roof ages, its ability to protect lessens. The manufacturer’s estimated lifetime rating for roof shingles is determined under ideal circumstances, but actual conditions that your roof endures could be far from ideal.



Thursday, June 4, 2015

NOAA predicts below-normal Atlantic hurricane season

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Climate Prediction Center the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be below normal. NOAA released its predictions this week, May 24-30, which is National Hurricane Preparedness Week. But lesser storms that don’t reach hurricane force can still be a major factor for coastal areas.

For the hurricane season, which officially runs from June 1 to November 30, NOAA predicts a 70% likelihood of six to 11 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which three to six could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including zero to two major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). There also is a 20% chance of a near-normal season, and a 10% chance of an above-normal season.