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Articles for the ‘Community Associations’ Category

Each September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US Department of Homeland Security sponsors National Preparedness Month.  There are several different organizations that participate and encourage Americans to take action.  According to www.CDC.gov, one of the major goals of National Preparedness Month is to educate the public about how to prepare for emergencies, including natural disasters, mass casualties, biological and chemical threats, radiation emergencies, and terrorist attacks.

During the month of September the different categories that will be focused on are….

  • Becoming informed – what to do before, during and after an emergency.
  • How to make a plan – prepare, plan and stay informed for emergencies.
  • How to build a Disaster Preparedness Kit.
  • How to get involved – learn how to support your community preparedness.
  • Learn how to Protect your Business in the wake of a disaster.

For more information on each of these topics, please visit www.ready.gov.

Check out a few of New Empire Group’s Preparedness Blogs

Resources: www.fema.gov; www.cdc.gov

moving cardboard box on hand truck isolated on white relocation package

Whether you’re moving into a new apartment, condominium or house, there are a few superstitions or “Old Wives’ Tales” that you should be aware of! We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 favorite superstitions and where they originated!

  1. Do not move into a new home on a Saturday or a Rainy day. These are unlucky and may prevent you from ever truly settling into your new home.  There is an old Irish saying: “Saturday flitting, short sitting!”.  <According to Indian superstition, Thursday is the luckiest day to move in.> (Ireland)
  2. Never move an old broom into a new home, you’ll bring all of your former bad luck with you. (United States)
  3. Putting shoes on a table in your home will bring bad luck. (United States, United Kingdom)
  4. If black ants frequent your home you’ll come into wealth. (Philippines)
  5. Don’t sweep your home at night or you’ll brush away good fortune. (West Africa)
  6. Carry a loaf of bread over the threshold during your very first steps into your new home to bring good luck. (Philippines)
  7. Never accept knives, scissors or sharp objects as housewarming presents. It symbolizes a cutting of your friendship – meaning, your friend will soon become an enemy. (Italy)
  8. The first time you leave your new home, exit through the same door you entered. (Ireland)
  9. You should paint your front porch blue, it will ward off ghosts. This superstition originated in the Southern plantation homes, and tells us that ghosts can’t cross water; by painting your front porch blue it will confuse ghosts into thinking the porch is made of water, so they won’t enter the home. (United States)
  10. Spread a pinch of salt over the threshold of every room, including the front door. Some say the salt wards off evil; others believe it brings out the flavor in life and ensures a happy household.

 

Do you have any new home superstitions you’d like to share with us? We’d love to hear them!

 

Check out the great Insurance Programs for Condominium InsuranceCooperative InsuranceApartment Insurance and Property Manager’s Insurance that New Empire Group, Ltd. offers!   And keep up to date with what’s going on at New Empire Group, LTD. by visiting our social media sites –  FacebookLinkedIn &Twitter!

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What is an MGA?

April 5, 2016

There are many different acronyms and terms that are thrown around in the insurance industry.  If you are not familiar with what some call the ‘secret language’ that agents and brokers use, you may find yourself completely confused after talking with other insurance professionals.  One of those acronyms is ‘MGA’ which is short for ‘Managing General Agent’.  If you have ever heard this term, but are not quite sure what it means, keep reading.

According to IRMI.com an MGA (Managing General Agent) is a wholesale insurance intermediary with the authority to accept placements from (and often to appoint) retail agents on behalf of an insurance carrier. Managing general agents generally provide underwriting and administrative services, such as policy issuance, on behalf of the insurance carriers they represent. These arrangements are most common in the surplus lines marketplace. Typically, MGAs market more unusual coverage, such as professional liability, for which specialized expertise is required to underwrite policies. MGAs benefit insurers because such expertise is not always available within the company and would be more costly to develop on an in-house basis.  MGAs are often hired by insurance companies to manage their business in a specific territory.  It is important to keep in mind; MGAs do not compete with brokers and do not deal with clients. Instead, they are authorized to supply brokers with products to pass on to their clients.  For more information on MGAs and other insurance related topics, visit our sources: http://www.aamga.org/education/ens2; www.irmi.com

To keep up to date with what’s new at New Empire Group, Ltd., visit our website, www.NewEmpireGroup.com or find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & Instagram!

Check out the great Insurance Programs for Condominium Insurance, Cooperative Insurance, Apartment Insurance and Property Manager’s Insurance that New Empire Group, Ltd. offers!

 

a variety of cleaning supplies and chemicals on a white background, including spray bottles, gloves, sponges, rags, and a bucket

As of March 20th, Spring has finally sprung!  For some of your Property Manager clients, a little “Spring Cleaning” may be due!   Have you checked in with your clients to see if they’ve started prepping their property for the spring months?  Property Management is a hard and tedious job that takes a lot of planning.  It is essential that each year they have a plan for how they’ll prepare their property for the changing seasons.  Depending on where their property is located in the country, they will change their spring preparedness plan accordingly.

Here are a few items to keep in mind when your clients are prepping their properties for Spring!

Annual HVAC Evaluations

Now is a great time to schedule the inspection, maintenance and any repairs to their HVAC units.  It is a good idea to schedule an annual HVAC maintenance at the end of the winter/beginning of spring so the technicians can check to see that the air conditioning units are working properly before your tenants need to use them.  This will help to avoid any unwanted complaints.

Snow Removal

Although it’s a little late in the season for snow, there may be some lingering.  Is the property located in an area that usually gets a lot of snow fall?  If so, your clients may need to think about hiring someone to remove any unwanted snow if it does not melt fast enough on its own.  If your clients use their own snow removal equipment, this is also a good time for them to clean the equipment and prep it for next year’s fall/winter seasons.

Checking/Clearing Drains and Plumbing

Have your clients scheduled the annual maintenance on their equipment, building and machinery?  This is the time to schedule gutter cleanings as it is more likely to rain than snow.  While they’re in the process of cleaning the gutters, also have them check that the gutters are draining properly and there are no leaks or holes.  If you wait too long for this the maintenance companies might become booked up quickly and they’ll have to wait!  The winter months put serious strain on pipes and plumbing systems.  Remind your clients to schedule a thorough inspection of all of their plumbing to check for any leaks or blow outs that might have been caused by frozen pipes during the winter.

It is never too early to start planning for the upcoming season.  It might be helpful to suggest you’re your property manager clients create a yearly maintenance plan based on the seasons if they have not already done so.

3d Blue Man and a yellow caution sign. Interesting depiction of the age-old "caution don't slip" sign.

Have your clients surveyed their apartment building or condominium property recently for safety hazards?  Property Managers, Coop Board Members and Apartment Building Owners have a responsibility to properly maintain the common elements of the property and to avoid maintenance emergencies such as floods and life threatening events such as fires.  Avoiding maintenance and safety claims can be a direct result of knowing the risk factors.

Obviously, different properties will have different risk factors, but here are a few general hazards your clients can look out for are:

  1. Check Electrical Wires and Systems – It’s not something that you often think about, but, malfunctioning outdated electrical wiring and systems are one of the leading causes of fires within community associations and condominiums. These issues should be of particular concern especially in community associations, condominiums or apartment buildings that have wiring and electrical distribution systems that are 30 years old (or older).
  2. Water Heaters – The average life for a standard hot water tank is roughly about 10 years. It is recommended to proactively replace hot water tanks at or around the 10 year mark in order to avoid potential leaks and flooding.
  3. Sump/Ejector Pumps–Failed sump/ejector pumps is a common reason why condominiums experience water damage.  Proactive replacement of sump pumps every 5 years is a great way to avoid malfunctions and will help potentially avoid water leaks.
  4. Outdoor Grills– According to the National Fire Protection Agency, 50% of all fires created by gas or charcoal grills start on balconies or porches. Try making a recommendation to your Property Manager clients that each spring season, a notice is sent out to ALL tenants about the importance of following safe grilling practices.
  5. Sewers and Drain Pipes – One of the most common causes of maintenance emergencies for community associations is due to plumbing backups and clogs. Associations should have plumbing maintenance performed at least once annually for all major drain lines and sewer lines.  In addition, all catch basins should be cleaned out during the plumbing maintenance service.
  6. Dryer Vents–The leading cause of dryer vent fires is due to the improper cleaning of lint traps, vents, and the immediate areas surrounding the dryers.  Be sure to have your clients clean out the dryer vents on a regular basis and always have a fire extinguisher in all common areas of the property.
  7. Washing Machines– Improper maintenance of washing machines causes your property manager clients to run the risk of water leaks and floods within condominium associations and apartment buildings.  Suggest that your community association clients adopt and enforce a mandatory washing machine hose replacement resolution to avoid the potential of flooding or water damage.

Urge your clients to take proactive steps towards maintaining their buildings.  Your clients can lessen the degree of risk by inspecting their property on a regular basis!

To learn more about New Empire Group, Ltd. visit our website, www.NewEmpireGroup.com or find us on FacebookLinkedIn & Twitter!

Check out the great Insurance Programs for Condominium InsuranceCooperative InsuranceApartment Insurance and Property Manager’s Insurance that New Empire Group, Ltd. offers!