Saturday, October 14, 2017

Are Hurricanes Getting Worse as Time Progresses?

What a season it’s been. From Harvey to Irma to Maria, the world watched as the US and the Caribbean lurched from one hurricane to the next, each successive one piling on more misery. 

The quick succession in which they came and the sheer amount of damage we all saw on TV has had people asking whether hurricanes are getting worse or not. According to scientists and experts in weather patterns, the short answer is “yes, they are getting worse.” However, that’s not to say we’re having more hurricanes.

The evidence suggests that hurricanes are in fact fewer. For instance, Harvey in the first hurricane to make landfall in the US in 11 years. However, what is getting worse is the intensity of those storms. They are stronger and causing far more damage. Hurricane Katrina had been the most expensive flooding in US history, at a cost of $160 billion, but experts believe that the recent storms will outstrip that number. Fortune magazine for instance, estimates that hurricanes Harvey and Irma, may end up costing between $150 billion and $200 billion in damage and lost productivity to cities like Houston and Miami, which were hit by them. 

What does this mean for the insurance industry?

Specifically, how will it affect flood insurance rates? Will the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) be gone, leaving only Write Your Own (WYO) Plans?

It is difficult to predict the answer to these questions and what effects these storms will have on the current flood insurance system. With regard to how the hurricanes will affect the insurance industry and flood insurance rates, it has been suggested that it could lead to a rise in insurance rates even for those who do not live in one of the areas hit by the hurricanes. This is because insurance companies will have to pay out billions of dollars to customers whose properties were destroyed or damaged by winds for, example.

Effect on NFIP and WYO

Financial analysts and insurance experts predict however, that it is the NFIP that will bear the brunt of these disasters. Established by Congress in 1968 after Hurricane Betsy, which had caused extensive flooding in Florida and Louisiana in 1965, the NFIP is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Even though Harvey and Irma were accompanied by heavy winds which caused their own damage, much of the damage that people suffered would have resulted from flooding, and this is covered almost entirely through the NFIP. But according to the Insurance Council of Texas, only about 20 per cent of homeowners have flood insurance in Texas, meaning that uninsured losses will be quite significant.

Fortunately for those with flood insurance through the NFIP, they can recoup some of the damages and will get money from the program to help rebuild their homes. However, whether the NFIP will be able to cope with the burden is another matter. The NFIP was already financially strained prior to hurricane Harvey and hurricane Irma, and was $24 billion in debt. With this in mind, it is not inconceivable that the projected cost of these new storms could overwhelm the NFIP, and probably lead to its demise.

If that happens, that would leave only the WYO Program available to people. WYO is a program available under the NFIP that allows participating property and casualty insurers to issue NFIP flood insurance policies in their own names. The companies receive an expense allowance for the policies they write and the claims they process, while responsibility for underwriting losses remains with the federal government, which reinsures 100 percent of the coverage. In a scenario where only WYO is available, then more private insurers could step in to the flood insurance market with private policies. This would give consumers more choices for coverage and possibly even lower rates than those charged by the government.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Will Houston outgrow Chicago and claim the number three spot?

Chicago, the Windy city has not been witnessing favorable winds recently. 

Chicago is one of the top twenty largest cities in America that has been posting a decline in its population. Families packing their belongings and loading them onto vehicles of movers and packers, is a common sight around the city. The people of the city are going to the winds never to return back.

Houston on the other hand, has been rejoicing with the surging population numbers. More people are moving to the city in search of better opportunities.

Why people are leaving Chicago?

Multiple factors have been behind the continuous decline in the city’s population. Chicago is one of the most expensive cities to live in due to its high taxes and costly housing. The city is still reeling and hasn’t fully recovered from the recession. 

The unemployment rate in the city is also rising leading to economic difficulties for people. The public schools are hampered by the lack of funds and are on the verge of financial crisis. People are leaving the city in search of brighter future for themselves and their children. The African-American population is one of the most prominent in moving away from the city.

Violence in the city has been another factor for driving people away. The crime rate in the city is escalating with the year 2016 witnessing 58 percent more homicides than the previous year of 2015. The month of August in 2016 had the highest number of violent crimes within the last two decades. The same can be attributed to the city’s gang culture which is rampant with over 100,000 gang members belonging to more than 60 gangs. Corruption is also said to be widespread in the city’s public departments.

The number of immigrants in the city is also declining gradually. Which formed a huge chunk of the population increase especially those from Mexico. With the government making the immigration norms more stringent, the number of people coming into the state and the country is declining.

What Are the Factors Driving the Growth Of Houston?

The state of Texas has an increasing number of oil and gas industries that are driving its economy to Houston. Which is generating more employment options for the people and giving them a better chance at sustainability. The housing in the city is much more affordable and generally comes with more land. The city has a lower population density with less crowded housing. The number of immigrants from Latin American countries and the Hispanic population in the city is also increasing with the availability of jobs. Frank Medina, owner of a Houston auto insurance agency says, "A lot of my clients that call me for quotes have an out of state license."

The Statistical Scenario and the Closing Gap

The city of Houston has been witnessing an increasing trend in its population over the past seven years consecutively. As per the US Census Bureau the population of the city was at 2,319,603 as of January 1, 2017 as compared to the 2,100,263 people the city housed in 2010.

US Census Bureau stated that the population of Chicago is estimated to have declined from 2,722,389 in 2014 to 2,720,546 in 2015. Although no numbers are out yet for 2016, the number of people leaving the city is expected to rise steeply. In 2010, Chicago was a home to 2,697,000 people approximately.

Comparing the stats of 2010 with today, Houston has already covered up almost half of the gap between these two in the last six years. With Houston having the second largest population increase across the country, and just being about 400,000 odd residents short than Chicago, the continuation of this trend could overtake Chicago and claim the number three spot in matters of population within the next decade or so.

The question of Houston overtaking Chicago and claiming the number three spot is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’. If the trend continues and there is no major reform implemented by the state of Chicago, Houston is going to be the clear winner.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Homeowners Insurance: The Difference between Actual Cash Value, Replacement Cost & Market Value.

Homeowners insurance helps to protect you as a homeowner, and it covers various aspects of your home. This includes the building, your personal property inside the home and medical expenses for injuries sustained by anyone on your property. 
Policies vary, but most of them include a standard policy coverage which provides a general protection of the home and property. There are also optional policies which you may select to protect specific items that are important to you.

Although most homeowners have the right insurance, they do not fully understand how it works or what to expect in the event of a claim. The first thing to understand is that home insurance companies have different ways of calculating the value of something, and hence, the amount to be paid out.

Generally speaking, homeowner’s insurance is designed to help replace damaged, stolen, or destroyed personal property but different coverages and methods of calculations means amounts paid for the same items will vary. Here are the most frequently used methods:

Actual cash value vs. replacement cost 
Actual cash value is the amount you would pay for a similar item at today’s cost minus depreciation. Depreciation refers to a decrease in value of an item due to age or wear and tear. Replacement cost on the other hand, is the amount you would pay for the same item at today’s cost. Here’s an example to of how it works:
Two years ago, you bought a piano worth $3,000. Unfortunately, your home and some property, including your piano, were damaged by a wild fire last week. You file a claim with your insurance company with the intention of replacing the damaged items, especially your piano, which you found out now costs $3100. So the insurance company ought to cut you a check for $3100, right? Well no, not really. The amount of money you will receive will depend on the type of coverage you have.

   If your coverage is for actual cash value:  the company will pay you $ 2500. The actual cash value of the piano today is $3,100 but the insurance company will pay you less because a depreciation of $600 is subtracted from today’s cash value of the item.

    If your coverage is for replacement cost: the company will pay you $ 3100 because that is what it would cost you to buy a similar piano today. Replacement cost coverage replaces the item at exactly the current cost without factoring in depreciation.

Most insurance companies prefer to give a down payment equivalent to the actual cash value of item and require you to submit the receipt for the bought item before paying you the balance. From the above example of the piano, the insurance company will pay you $2500, which is the actual cash value of the item. 

However, with replacement cost coverage, you will be paid $ 2500 first, which is the actual cash value of the item today, and when you submit the receipt showing the actual amount you paid, you will be paid the difference of $600.
Market value
Yet another method homeowners should know about is the market value. This is refers to the prevailing price that buyers are willing to pay to own your house, regardless of how much it cost to build it. The market value of an item is largely affected by external factors such as state of the economy, demand and location, among others. 

The replacement cost of your house on the other hand, is what it would cost to rebuild a house of the same size, on the same spot and with same quality of construction at today’s prices. Again, both of these methods can give two different numbers. 

For example, a home located in a depressed city suburb may have a market value of $130,000. The same house, located in an upmarket part of the city, may have a market price of $310,000, even though it would cost the same to rebuild the house after a loss in either location.

In doing their valuation, insurance companies generally use replacement cost, not market value.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How Will Lyft Affect Business For Uber in Houston Now That Lyft is Back in the Market.

Lyft and Uber both are companies that have managed to revolutionize the entire horizon of the taxi industry. 

Both of these companies in addition to a few others have made it very easy for commuters to travel locally without going through any hassle or trouble. With more drivers using this form of transportation, will it reduce the number of individuals who need auto insurance? Uber was undoubtedly the pioneer company behind this idea for an exceptional model way of transportation. But with the passage of time, other companies also entered the market and Lyft is one of the major competitors. 

Frankly speaking Lyft has managed to cause a lot of trouble for Uber as some passengers say Lyft is better with the quality of the service, rates and the professionalism of the staff. A few months back, there were problems being faced by Lyft when they tried to relaunch in Houston, Texas. But fortunately, they have managed to resolve their issues with the administration and now it appears Lyft will be operating in the city of Houston soon.

Lyft has been giving Uber a tough time in dominating the entire taxi market as discussed in the above paragraph. In case of rideshare in Houston, it will pretty much be the same. Now that Lyft is in business along side Uber. Uber appears to be very concerned about its monopoly in the city. When Lyft re-enters the Houston market, they will probably launch travels at incredibly low rates and this will cause a lot of road bumps for Uber as they were also compelled to bring the rates down in order to stay more competitive. So keeping in view what’s already happening, it appears like both the companies are in it for the long haul and Uber is going to get a serious blow in terms of its revenues not only in Houston but everywhere Lyft follows.

There might be many reasons behind the potential downfall of Uber but the biggest one among the others is the fact that it has diverted its attentions to other parts of the world rather than staying focused in the United States. Uber recently launched its services in India, China, Latin America and different parts of the Eastern Asia. So may be Uber seems to be more concerned about the new market where there is little to no competition to beat its monopoly. But regardless of whatever the reason is behind Uber’s lack of interest, Lyft is developing its business at a very fast and consistent rate and it is soon going to be a massive transit company in the country. This holds true not only for Houston but the rest of the country as well.

The above argument is evident from the fact that while Uber has diverted its attention to the rest of the world, Lyft is furiously going after its share in the entire US market. After re-launching their services in Houston, several incentives were given by Lyft to its commuters. These included several different kinds of coupons as well as discount codes to serve as promotional schemes in order to attract the attentions of the maximum amount of people. As a matter of fact, Lyft ended up spending a large amount of almost $50 million in just a month on account of these coupons and discount codes throughout the different parts of the United States. I wonder how much they spend on their business insurance?

Looking at the overall US market, Uber appears to be at the verge of declination while Lyft is moving upwards and forwards constantly. So it may be concluded that Uber would have to put in a lot of effort if they want to sustain the blow that is being faced by them in the form of Lyft. This holds true for Houston, as well as the rest of the United States. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Why is Auto Insurance More Expensive in Harris County, Houston Texas?

Auto Insurance Houston

Houstonians finally discover why auto insurance rates are so high in Houston Texas

Age, gender, and driving history are some of the factors that help determine auto insurance premiums. Geographical location is another factor that must be taken into consideration. For example, Texas is ranked #13 out of the top 15 states with the highest auto insurance rates. Texas is divided by county, and because of this division, rates will vary. Harris County has the most expensive auto insurance rates compared to other areas within The Lone Star State, but why is that?

Geographical Location Influences Auto Insurance Premiums

In order to understand why Harris County has the most expensive auto insurance Houston, it is important to find out why geographical location is a factor in determining auto insurance premiums.

The cost of car insurance varies based on your zip code. If your zip code has a high-risk level of vehicular-related crime, then insurance premiums will be higher compared to another zip code with a lower risk level. This includes motor vehicle theft, vandalism, and collision. So, if you live in an area that has a high likelihood of these crimes and other situations, then you are forced to pay more for your insurance.

In addition, insurance rates increase for those making a claim. The percentage depends on which state the driver is located. In Texas, a single claim can cause a 32% increase to one’s auto insurance premium. However, this occurs if the accident is your fault.

Harris County and High Car Crash Total

How does this relate to Harris County? According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Harris County contributes the most auto crashes within the state. In 2015, Harris County had a total of 110,489 crashes. Out of the 110,489 crashes, 338 were fatal with 362 fatalities. 1,920 were incapacitating crashes and resulted in 2,332 incapacitating injuries. With this information, insurance companies can use geographical location as a determinant.

High Population

Another reason is the population density of Harris County. Harris County is the third most populous county in the United States. At 4.44 million people, the number of automobile owners increases, and naturally, so does the number of car-related accidents and crimes because of the grossly congested roadways. This makes sense with the 3.2 million vehicle registrations and 940,000 car title transfers (per year).  Houston, the largest city in Harris County (as well as Texas) and the fourth most populous city in the United States has more than 2.1 million people living there.  That’s a lot of road accidents waiting to happen.

Young Adult Drivers

Within Harris County, there are major cities and universities contributing to the large population. University of Houston, Rice University, and Texas Southern University are all populous institutions. This is important to note because of the age factor used to determine auto insurance rates. Most people entering universities are fresh out of high school, usually 17 or 18 years old.  Younger drivers have higher crash and fatality rates, due to the fact that younger drivers tend to drive at higher speeds and less likely to wear a seatbelt.

Drinking and Driving

Harris County has the highest rate of alcohol-related driving fatalities out of the most populous counties in the United States. It has been called a pandemic with approximately 10,000 driving‑while‑intoxicated cases filed per year. 

College drinking adds to the car crash and fatality rates. A study conducted by the University Of Maryland School Of Public Health revealed 1 out of 5 college students have driven while drunk. While men are more likely to partake in risky behavior, both men and women are both likely to drive drunk to some degree.

Houston Auto Insurance

With these interconnected factors, it is no wonder Harris County has the most expensive auto insurance out of all counties in Texas. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Blogging: Should I Use Wordpress, Tumblr or Blogger?

Which blog platform is better Wordpress, Tumblr or Blogger

Why Should I Blog And What is the Best Blogging Platform To Use Wordpress, Tumblr or Blogger?

A solid internet presence is one of the easiest and most effective ways for both new and seasoned writers to create visibility for their brands. But merely having a website won’t get you anywhere; people need a reason to visit your website. While the services you provide is a good reason, there are many others providing the same services, so you need to have something that sets you apart. This is where blogging comes in. As with other types of businesses, many can enjoy the benefits when they blog, including;

Improved Search Engine Optimization

When potential customers search for a specific product or service, they will type keywords into a search engine (i.e., Google, Yahoo). What shows up on these search engines are determined by ranking algorithms that measures several factors. A site with more relevant info will rank higher in search results. Usually, customers will click on top sites first. When was the last time you ever went to page 2 on Google? The more relevant and well-written content you have on your site, the higher your page will rank, and the higher the chances customers will click on it. This means increased traffic and improved chances of making a sale.

Establishes Authority

When you create a blog filled with informative and persuasive material, you can show authority based on the factual statements made within each post. Write blogs that focus on and cater to the target customer by answering the most common questions. As you provide educational material, this will attract prospective customers seeking answers and they will visit your site more than once. This will improve credibility, trust and sales.

Humanizes the user

As a blogger, it is important to build healthy relationships with new and current clients. Your blog’s visitors want to learn more about the business owner, how you started, beliefs and values, and your niche. The development of a brand’s personality is necessary because this allows you to be viewed as trustworthy and sensitive to clients’ needs. You can humanize your blog by talking about your team, adding photos, telling company stories, featuring satisfied clients, supporting charitable events, or adding a discussion capability that allows visitors to ask questions or make comments.

Boosts Social Media Presence

It’s a Twitter world, folks. If you’ve seen the news in recent times, you will know that social media plays an important, if not more important role than traditional media platforms. So you have to maximize your social media presence. Sharing blog posts on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, will give serious exposure to your brand. Each click helps with search engine optimization and brand-building.

Which Blogging Platform Should I Use?

So, having determined that blogging is highly beneficial, which of the available blogging platforms should you use? The three most commonly used blogging platforms are Blogger (Blogspot), Tumblr and Wordpress. Each of them have advantages and disadvantages, so which one you choose is a matter of preference: 

    As a novice, you will want to utilize a platform that is easy to set up and requires little to no coding skills. The most popular and highly-rated blogging platform is It enables you to customize your blog posts to your liking, there are forums, an online store, and membership subscriptions based on the additional features you choose. There are thousands of free and premium themes to choose from; also, there are more than 45,000 types of plugins to add. When it comes to SEO, Wordpress is the best platform to utilize and help your blog get noticed by visitors.

  Blogger is free, easy to manage and navigate, and is secure, thanks to Google’s reliability. However, a few disadvantages include inadequate blogging tools, limited design choices, lack of updates, and can cancel blogging services any time.

  Tumblr is a free, popular blogging platform. Its simplicity in terms of navigation is great for the new blogger. Social media integration and microblogging are great additional tools you can enjoy with Tumblr. However, the features are limited and backing up your blogs is a challenge

So if you’re debating whether or not to blog, our advice is to go for it. You have nothing to lose and lots to gain. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How to protect yourself from owing money on a vehicle: Gap Insurance

Gap Insurance

Are you making monthly payments on your vehicle or do you have an open loan on your car? If so, you definitely need to watch this video and I really hope you have gap insurance. Cars are one of the worst investments to make, but unfortunately for us, a car is something we need. Did you know cars depreciate in value every year and people who finance a vehicle are typically up side down on a car within the first 3 years? On average it takes 3-4 years of making payments to just break even on a car. These are all reasons why having gap insurance is so important. Plus who have thousands of dollars to pay in negative equity?

Monday, February 13, 2017

What does comprehensive insurance cover: Comprehensive Insurance

Want to learn what comprehensive insurance covers or what is means? Watch this video to find out. 

There are so many benefits regarding this type of coverage. I recommend having comprehensive on every vehicle.

Comprehensive falls under your auto insurance policy. If you want to find out what is included in your policy the best way is to read your policy or consultant with your agent or insurance company.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Houston Flooding - Houston Flood - Houston Flood Insurance Texas

Houston Flooding - Houston Flood - Houston Flood Insurance Texas.

Flooding is a growing concern in Houston Texas. Every year thousands of Houstonians become victims of the flooding in Texas.

Although the weather year round is fairly decent, the weather in Texas can also change dramatically. It all begins with rain. The flooding begins when the rain doesn't stop and sewer drains fill up. The water backs up and has no where else to go. That is when water starts to fill the streets.

Learn more at

Did you know a couple inches of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage? If you don't believe me, just ask the thousands of victims that didn't have flood insurance who lost everything. Years and years of personal belongings accumulated throughout the years lost in a blink of an eye from flooding.

Houston is one of the fastest growing cities in America. Who would have predicted this type of population growth? Every day, trees are being knocked down to build new land developments. Sewer systems are being updated and altered daily to meet the demand of new development projects. Some say, all the new developments are part of the reasons for some of the flooding. No one knows for sure. The one thing we know for sure is it rains a lot in Houston. And when it does we all wonder if it will flood again.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Which Car Helps You Get Around in Texas: Auto Insurance Houston

A reliable vehicle is important to have when traveling throughout Texas. So is having the right auto insurance. Give us a try, we would love to help!

Auto Insurance Houston provides quotes for all of Texas.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

What City Do You Call Home Texas: Homeowners Insurance Houston

Home is a place that you may leave but your heart will always be. Let me protect that home by providing the right coverage with affordable options. 

Homeowners Insurance Houston provides quotes to all renters and homeowners that live in Texas.