10 questions: An Interview with Eric Kossian of Leavenworth Insurance
Here is my second installment of my "10 Questions" series. Eric Kossian of Leavenworth Insurance is a insurance broker in Leavenworth, WA.
He is located on Highway 2 in Leavenworth next to Jerry's Saw Shop. He can be reached at Eric@Leavenworthinsurance.com
1. What does an insurance broker do?
Geordie, an insurance broker locates and shops insurance products to protect clients from the financial risk of loss due to such things as fires (property), accidents (liability), death and unsecured retirement investments and income. While most agents think in terms of selling product that is incorrect; we are in the business of asset protection. Some examples of personal assets could be an owned home, cars, income- your ability to produce it, your life (yes, it is a financial asset), and investments. We then use a wide variety of insurance and annuity products to safeguard assets. A good insurance agent asks you lots of questions about everything in your life. This exposes risks which are currently being self insured. A good agent then shows the client options to reduce risk by reducing or moving all or part of the self insured financial risk to others. Having been an Underwriting Specialist for a huge insurance company, I have a keen eye for risk.
2. What special insurance products do you offer for the Leavenworth market that other agents or companies might not offer?
While I office and live in Leavenworth, my clients and my advantages are statewide. I can insure most log homes at the same rate as frame construction ( a big savings). But specifically, the most frequent & obvious area I can help people is eliminating the risk (1 in 5 chance, nationwide after a claim) of not having enough insurance to cover the replacement cost of your home. Almost all “replacement cost” policies are capped and the rest is your out of pocket expense. However, I have found a company that removes the cap and will simply replace your home in the event of total loss (and they almost always cost less!) But generally, I provide better risk analysis. Last week, among the clients I insured were 2 multimillionaires and a young fireman who owns 4 homes. They all had significant gaps that could have cost them hundreds of thousands in the event of a claim and I was able to show each of them things on their existing policies where they could save money. It was very satisfying to help them and I actually get paid to do help! They also have simple investment and retirement income risks that are easy to avoid which I am helping with. Why take unnecessary risk if you don’t have to? Make sure you have the “big things” covered.
3.What kinds of clients can you help the most?
The more one owns the more I can help.
4. What things in a home or things about a home make it difficult to insure?
Homes generally qualify for preferred insurance if they have had updates to the electrical (Romex wiring and 100 amp panel min.), plumbing (no pressurized galvanized pipe), the roof is in good shape, there are no major foundation issues (large cracks, major settling, post & pier or rock & mortar foundation). They also cannot have any type of home business (unless approved 1st)- including renting out their home for a nightly or vacation rental. Finally, they cannot be more than 5 miles from a fire station or on a road that is inaccessible in winter.
5. Where do you see people being the most underinsured? What liabilities are we not insuring?
There is a long list but the two that effect the most people are: 20% of homes are underinsured, Auto liability is often too low (and is cheap) and many people should have a $200 a year, 1,000,000 excess liability policy. In addition, people often have their assets (their home and retirement assets and their life asset) structured in manner that is risky and not the most conducive to wealth building.
6.Will the massive claims from hurricane Katrina have an effect on insurance in Leavenworth, WA?
Indirectly, yes. With billions being paid out, that is lost investment income for insurance companies. That can affect rates nationwide. That why some many preferred companies will no longer write policies within 40 miles of the gulf and Florida coastline.
More likely to impact Leavenworth home insurance rates is the satellite photo & computer aided modeling insurance companies are doing in California. It will eventually spread to Leavenworth. It has been highly accurate in predicting future losses based on fuels & topography.
7. If I have to snowmobile to my property in the winter how does this affect the insurance?
You will pay an extra $1000-$1500 per year for non preferred homeowners insurance.
8. How is insuring a condo different than a house?
Condo insurance insures only the contents and liability ( the structure is insured by the association). There are several things I recommend for condos and board members.
9. Do you offer insurance for people building a home?
Yes, people who own property and have a contractor who is going to build their dream home need to get Course of Construction insurance. It covers the dwelling and their liability.
10. If you could ask 10 questions of anyone alive today, who would it be and why?
Being a historical buff and the fact that I am writing this at 10:30pm all the people that are coming to mind are all dead! Ha! There is so much more I want to learn about so many things, I would ask the 1st person permission to ask 1000 people a hundred questions. I love to read on a variety of subjects so at any one moment the person selected could be an astrophysicist or a kindergarten teacher.