New York Paid Family Leave Law: Key Information, Dates and Reminders

Newborn with parents

New York’s new Paid Family Leave (PFL) law will go into effect on January 1st, 2018. This is a mandatory benefit for all New York employees, and employers have the option to approach their employees to make early deductions. Beginning July 1st, 2017 employers can start making these deductions. In the interest of sharing more information, Petschauer Insurance would like to answer some pressing questions to help readers understand how this law impacts you.

What is PFL & who qualifies for this benefit?

PFL supplements part of an employee’s income while they are out of work. Full-time employees who have worked 26 consecutive weeks and part-timers who have worked a minimum of 175 days are all eligible.

When can you take PFL?

Paid Family Leave can be taken for newborn bonding and/or foster adoption (within one year of birth/placement), the caring of a seriously ill family member, or family exigency/military leave. The need for exigency leave will arise if a covered military family member is on covered activity duty or active duty status.

How much will PFL pay?

In 2018, employees will be eligible for 50% income replacement for a maximum of 8 weeks. An employee’s approved time off and income replacement percentage will continue to increase through 2020.

How much will PFL cost?

Employees fund PFL through payroll deductions. The premium or contribution will be equivalent to .126% of an employee’s weekly wage, capped at $1.65 per week for New York’s average wage of $1,305.92.

Will you have job protection?

All eligible employees have job protection while out on Paid Family Leave.

Have more questions about Paid Family Leave? Please contact us today! 

Keeping You Safe Through the Sunshine & Fun Summer Season

Family Dog Outdoors

After eagerly awaiting through the cold winter months, we’ve finally arrived at summertime! This is an opportunity to soak in the sun, go for a swim, grill up some burgers, and participate in a number of other fun outdoor activities.

Along with the incoming heat wave, however, comes a need for safety and increased awareness.  Taking cues from some of our carrier partners, we’d like to highlight ways to practice safety while still having fun this time of year.

BBQ

HOW TO BE SAFE WHEN MAKING a dynamite meal FOR FAMILY & FRIENDS: It’s important to check your propane tank for leaks before you begin. As you start cooking up that delicious food, make sure kids and pets are both far away from the grill.   Afterwards, be mindful to clean the grease/fat buildup off the grill and respective trays so that you are ready for your next fabulous meal!  For more suggestions, Travelers offers a full pre, during, and post grilling guide here.

Help your pets enjoy summer, too! Sometimes the blazing heat can just be too hot for us to bear on a summer day. There’s a good chance that our pets feel the same way. According to the ASPCA, it only takes ten minutes for the inside of a car to reach 102 degrees on an 85 degree day.  Please, do not even think about leaving pets in the car, even for a minute while you run into a store!  This can lead to hyperthermia or WORSE! There are ways to make your furry friends comfortable during the sunshine.  Here are a few: when traveling outdoors with your pet, carry large amounts of cold water, exercise during cool parts of the day, find shady areas or bring umbrellas, walk in the grass and be sure they always wear a life vest if they are near the water or on a boat.

Pool PartyMake a positive splash! It’s always an exciting time of year when opening the pool. If you have young kids around, there are ways to ensure a safe environment before you officially hit the water. It would be best to secure the perimeter with fencing, a gate, and/or locked entrance. You can also equip the pool area with life preserver rings and rope, as well as a reaching pole with a rescue hook. Trusted Choice provides more pool safety/maintenance tips here.

One small step for “man”, one giant leap for safety!  The warm weather allows us to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities we look forward to all year round. For some, that includes jumping on a trampoline, using fire pits and waterfalls. Coverage on your homeowner’s policy may vary depending on the carrier so call your agent today to be sure your guests are covered in the event of an unforeseen accident. There are carriers that provide coverage based on certain safety measures being met. For your convenience, Nationwide offers insight as to how you can forge ahead with caution.  In addition, Travelers has you covered as well!

We’re all excited for summer and we wish you a safe and fun time!  Enjoy the start of the season!

2017 Father’s Day Message From President Heidi Petschauer

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As I reflect on my dad’s (our founder) life and legacy on this Father’s Day, there is a common theme that resonates how he lived his life at work and with family and friends. He valued working together as a team or family to achieve a common goal. I so value this as well. My dad instilled this in me and I continue to carry this theme throughout my own personal life and here at Petschauer Insurance. In our professional office environment, we now call this theme “JPI Team Collaboration.” I truly believe this theme encourages and allows every team member to feel that their contributions at JPI have value. My deep belief is that if everyone feels this sense of having value, we can increase our level of competency and confidence to be the best insurance consultants we can be – even in the presence of our challenges or obstacles.

Team collaboration also holds true when working together at home with your family and friends.  This value will allow you to be more open to sharing and communicating with those you love and hold dear. My dad was on to something here! The more successes you experience and the more value you feel, the more you will grow as a company and as a family. To me, that is what life and living is all about!

As you are being honored and celebrated by those that love and respect you this Father’s Day, my message is simple: whether you are a dad, mentor, coach, teacher or in any other position of influence, may you always maintain the value of team collaboration!

Today in particular, as I honor the memory and legacy of my dad, this value always lives in me.

Happy Father’s Day!

What are the benefits of taking a defensive driving course?

Driver seatbeltWhen speaking to our clients about their auto insurance, we are often asked what determines their premium and what opportunities they may have to help lower it without jeopardizing their coverages.  In the interest of offering helpful information, we have one potential solution for you.

We’d like to share the benefits of taking a defensive driving course. Completion of a New York DMV-approved Point & Insurance Reduction Program will result in a 10% reduction of a driver’s liability, no fault and collision premiums. The discount extends over a three year period and applies to each vehicle for which you are considered the primary operator. In addition, it could result in up to a 4-point reduction on your driving record if you have previously received a traffic ticket.  The course would also be a good opportunity for young drivers who have recently received their licenses and/or more experienced drivers to benefit from a refresher, all while lowering their rate at the same time.Driving School

There are two different ways to take the course.  We offer this course online via our website to easily fit into your busy schedule.  If you prefer the in-person engagement, there are also classroom-sessions available.  You can click here for a full listing of New York state locations offering this type of option.

This is just one of the ways you can work on lowering your premium.  Feel free to contact your agent for more suggestions and/or information about your auto policy. We would be happy to answer your questions and review your options!

Will your boat insurance keep you afloat this summer?

Boat

With the warmer temperatures and sunny skies near, boating season is officially here! As you prepare your boat and look to embrace the summer season, do you ever wonder if you have adequate coverage or what else determines your insurance rate? Let us share some boating information with you.

Your basic boat policy will include Physical Damage, Liability, and Personal Property coverages. Physical Damage covers the boat in the event of collision, sinking, fire, and/or theft. In some cases, it may also cover your motor, auxiliary and fishing equipment. Liability protects you in the event of personal injury and/or damage to someone else’s property. Personal Property coverage extends to the personal belongings on the boat, including your clothes, entertainment equipment, etc.

Other characteristics that could factor into the pricing of a policy may include:

  • Age of Boat — how old is your boat?
  • Length  — What is the size of your boat?
  • Value – How much is your boat worth?
  • Speed/Horsepower – How fast is your boat?
  • Type — Is your watercraft an Inboard, Outboard, utility, cruiser, bassboat, saltwater fishing, or performance boat?
  • Territory/Usage — Will you sail your boat on an ocean, lake, bay, or river? Are you using this boat as a primary residence? Is it being used for racing purposes?

Valuation methods also factor into pricing and determine how much you will be paid in the event of a loss. The two most common valuation methods are Agreed Value and Actual Cash Value.  “Agreed Value” is based on the boat’s value when the policy was written. While it can cost more up front, there is no depreciation for a total loss of the boat. On the other hand, “Actual Cash Value” will only pay up to the value of the boat at the time the boat was lost or damaged.  These policies cost less up front, and depreciation is factored into the valuation.

Have more questions about your rate and the opportunities you may have to increase/upgrade your coverage? Feel free to contact us so that we can review your options. Otherwise, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy your time in the sun on your boat!

2017 Mother’s Day Message from Our President

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Mother’s Day is a day to reflect on the lives of the special women who have impacted your world like no one else.  They may be your mom, a relative, a friend, a neighbor, a doctor, a teacher.  She is any woman that has the gift to help you realize your potential and worth, help you through the tough days, share your joys on the awesome days, and simply help you love and be yourself.

On this Mother’s Day, I celebrate and honor the amazing woman in my life, my Mom.  Her soft voice and encouraging words help to always keep me grounded and focused during my busy days leading our Petschauer team.  She truly is like a mother to each of our team members in the office. During those care free days we spend together, she makes me laugh and helps me feel so loved and relaxed.  There are no words to express how grateful I feel for her constant love and support throughout my life.

I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day filled with love and laughter, as you are being celebrated and honored for all you do.

For those of you whose special women are no longer present, may the memories of their lives and love fill your hearts and your Mother’s Day with smiles and joy, as they are with you in spirit.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Helping You Understand Your Co-Insurance Clause

NYC apartmentDo you ever wonder why you are required to purchase building limits higher than you believe are necessary? If so, you are not alone. Insurance companies require you to buy building limits of insurance to satisfy the “Co-Insurance” clause in your policy.

Let us tell you more about Co-Insurance and why it’s an important part of your policy.

Co-Insurance requires that a home or business owner have a limit of insurance that is at least 80% of the total replacement cost of the property. Failing to meet this limit of insurance will result in a penalty and you would share in the loss. Here is how the penalty breaks down:

Co-Insurance Formula:

Amount Carried divided by Amount Required, multiplied by The Loss = Payment

Example #1:  80% Co-Insurance with inadequate limits:

Amount Carried: $160,000
Amount Required: $200,000
Total Replacement Cost: $250,000
Loss: $100,000
Payment: $80,000

(160,000 / 200,000) X 100,000 =$80,000 payment. (The insured did not meet the 80% required, so they are a Co-Insurer in the amount of $20,000)

Example #2: 80% co-ins with adequate limits:

Amount Carried: $200,000
Amount Required: $200,000
Total Replacement Cost: $250,000
Loss: $100,000
Payment: $100,000

($200,000 / $200,000)  X 100,000= $100,000 payment. (No co-insurance penalty applies.)

You may initially believe that committing to a conservative building limit would be a way to save money. In the long run, however, it would be unfortunate to encounter a loss and be left without adequate coverage.

If an insurance company determines you have purchased the proper limit, they will sometimes add terms to waive the co-insurance penalty. You can also ask your agent if you qualify for the “Agreed Amount Endorsement” to see if you can void the co-insurance clause.

The time to find out that you are not adequately insured is not the time of your loss. Be safe, protect your assets, and contact us for more information about your co-insurance clause.

Helping You Prepare for the Season of Spring

Spring Cleaning

Spring is here and we can officially look forward to warmer temperatures. As we thaw out from the winter weather, the months ahead will also provide us with the opportunity to open up the windows and start our annual spring cleaning rituals.

As you look to enjoy the season, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Turning on fans, in addition to opening windows, is also a good idea when using chemicals.
  • When spraying pesticides, wear long clothing for protection and let the given areas air out for an hour or so.
  • To avoid confusion, keep chemicals in their original bottles to help you keep note of expiration dates and remain mindful not to mix things together that may create dangerous gases.
  • As the temperatures warm up, the heavy snow from the winter season will continue to melt. Spring can also lead to rainstorms. Both of these weather conditions could result in potential flooding, so you would benefit from knowing the safe routes in and out of your house. Unfortunately, flood damage is not usually covered under a homeowners policy. You may want to contact your agent about flood insurance.
  • Prepare your home with a first aid kit, flash lights, extra batteries, nonperishable food, and bottled water.
  • Keep contact information for utility and related companies handy in the event of an emergency.

Spring Flowers

Allergies are also common during springtime. Exposure to pollen can result in itchy eyes, runny noses, fatigue, and more. Here are steps you can take to remain healthy:

  • Take an opportunity to plan your seasonal outings accordingly. Going out on non-windy days will help limit your exposure so you can enjoy your day
  • Park your car inside a garage and away from trees, if possible. This will help you avoid pollen and mold spores.
  • In the interest of spring cleaning, washing your hands, vacuuming rugs, and changing sheets often will lessen the chances of pollen clinging to material in your home.

It’s easy to get excited about spring time and the changing of seasons. Keeping the above reminders in mind to ensure your health and safety will make it even easier to enjoy this fun time of year!

Celebrating “Love Your Pet Day” 2017

Heidi's dogs in winter

As we celebrate “Love Your Pet Day” on February 20th, it only seems appropriate that we recognize our President Heidi Petschauer’s love for her dogs. For years, she has demonstrated a selfless passion, donating her own time and money to the care of animals in need. Heidi has volunteered at Pets-Alive animal shelter and works closely with the Tri-State Collie Rescue to ensure a higher level of care and better overall life for dogs.

Heidi has a special place in her heart for senior Collies. Over the last twelve years, Heidi has adopted five different senior Collie rescue dogs. This stems from her belief that such animals are not only deserving, but appreciative of and receptive to the love someone like Heidi provides.

In a true act of dedication, Heidi impressively taught Vanna, a deaf dog and one of her earlier rescues, the art of sign language. She came to understand that the dog was able to communicate through sign and added vibrations as well. She was nine years old.

Heidi currently lives with and cares for two nine year old Collies that she rescued three years ago. Dobie, a gorgeous Rough Collie, is 80% blind. Gracie is a mixed Smooth Collie who maneuvers on three legs after recently going through an amputation of her front left leg. Heidi says that Gracie’s passion to live, much like her own to love and embrace her pets with open arms, has never wavered. Even prior to adopting Gracie, Heidi paid for her care and treatment while waiting for a forever home. She later drove from New York to Cleveland, Ohio to adopt Gracie herself. Heidi took a road trip to Detroit, Michigan to rescue Dobie.

We are fortunate and grateful for the special display of integrity Heidi continues to show through her passion.

Preventing Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Ice Dam

We hope that everyone has remained safe through this snow storm. Now that the snow has fallen, it’s time to think about the ice dams that are likely to form and follow. In an effort to help keep you informed of some of the best practices, allow us to share some helpful tips surrounding ice dam prevention and/or removal.

An ice dam forms when melting snow freezes at the edge of your roof line. If you do not remove the snow, you run the risk of the ice dam growing large enough to keep the water from draining off the roof.  The water could then back up underneath the shingles and find its way to the interior. This can damage your roof, attic, and upper levels of your building.

How do you tell if you have an Ice Dam?

  • Look for large icicles hanging from the gutters and sides of the roof, as this is a sign that water may be trapped on your roof
  • Look for water stains in your attic ceiling or exterior walls

Steps you can take to prevent an Ice Dam:

  • Remove snow from your roof after every heavy storm before it freezes by using a roof rake.
  • Make sure that leaders and gutters are clear of leaves and debris so melted snow can drain properly
  • Insulate your roof and attic.
  • Seal up any holes in the roof that can cause water to seep through
  • Make sure any vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic fans, and light fixtures are properly insulated and sealed.
  • Install a leak barrier underneath the shingles to act as an additional preventative measure, as it keeps water from seeping inside your building.

Tips for removing an Ice Dam:

  • Call a roof professional. If this is done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
  • Do not use rock salt to melt the ice, as this could lead to even more damage.
  • If you do choose to remove it yourself, you can use calcium chloride to melt the ice.

As the cold winter months continue, please be proactive and prepare for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Doing all you can to prevent an ice dam will alleviate your stress and bring you closer to a worry-free season. We hope you all remain safe.