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Full Circle - the Lou Gelfand Story

Full Circle - the Lou Gelfand Story

One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is the relationships we build with people. We are grateful to get to know so many wonderful families, often generations deep, as they grow and change. We would like to share a story about one family in particular, by whom we have been especially touched.

In 1994, Lou Gelfand approached Christopher about his insurance needs. He had recently moved from Detroit to Seattle, having retired from General Motors after 48 years. Christopher and Lou hit it off and Christopher made sure Lou had the insurance protection that was needed. They both enjoyed the spontaneous connection that evolved over the years. Christopher always looked forward to their conversations and enjoyed getting to know Lou on a personal level. Through the years Lou shared many things about his life, including his grief when his wife Rose passed away, not long after they moved to Seattle.  Seattle was a special place for Lou and Rose, spending time with their son Jerry and his family, longtime Seattle residents. Over time, the discussions Lou and Christopher shared became more about life than insurance.  “He was truly special,” Christopher said. “I appreciated every discussion we had, especially the life lessons, experiences and stories Lou shared with me.  This is clearly one of those connections that leave a lasting impression on you. I still remember the day I received the call from Jerry telling me that Lou had passed away. In that call, he acknowledged the special relationship his dad and I had shared. That meant a lot, and really made me reflect on all the great talks we had.”

A couple years passed and Christopher received a phone call from Lou’s daughter Judith.   She had just moved to Western Washington from New Jersey and wanted to thank Christopher for the relationship her dad had spoken of over the years. So, it is true, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Judith became a client of CTIA in 2005 along with her two daughters, Laura and Eva.

And the generations continue. Eva continues to insure with CTIA, and as a successful realtor in Seattle, Eva often refers her clients to Christopher and his team. Oh, and when Laura and her then fiancé began planning their future, Judith let Todd know that she had the perfect insurance agent for the two of them. Todd, being a smart son-in-law-to-be, responded with care because he liked his own insurance agent. His name: Christopher Togawa.  Small world…Wow – that’s bringing it full circle!

Getting to know and serve three generations of the same family is a privilege that we feel honored and grateful to enjoy. It is the people we take care of that give meaning to what we do. We thank all of you for entrusting us with your family’s protection.

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Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?

Do You Need Umbrella Insurance?

One of the most sure things in life is uncertainty, which is why you purchase insurance – to protect against damages that might occur if you experience an accident. Everyone should make sure they are sufficiently protected to cover not only the damages that could occur to their own property, but also the cost of damages (injuries, property destruction, emotional distress, lost wages and more) that could occur to others in the event of an accident.

It only takes one serious accident and a resulting lawsuit to put at risk everything you currently own and will own in the future. If your policy covers $500K in liability and in a lawsuit you are judged liable for $1 million in damages as a result of injuries from a car accident for which you are at fault, do you know how you will cover the additional $500K in damages?

If you have umbrella insurance and your policy covers the incident, the additional $500K will come from your policy. If not, it will come from the assets you have now, such as your home and savings, and from future assets, such as your wages or inheritance.

An umbrella policy gives you excess liability coverage on top of what your other policies provide. If you are responsible for a serious accident, you will need it. Umbrella insurance also gives you liability coverage in situations where other policies don’t, such as driving in a foreign country or renting a boat.

Most financial and insurance experts recommend that everyone have at least a $1 million umbrella policy to provide liability coverage beyond the limits of their auto and homeowners insurance policies, even if they have less than $1 million in assets. That’s because in the rare event people are sued, they could be forced to pay a legal judgment from future earnings as well as current assents. Umbrella policies can also pay for defense costs, which can quickly add up even when cases are won.

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Want Our Calendar? Let us Know!

Want Our Calendar? Let us Know!

We hope you enjoy receiving our annual calendar, created by local nature photographer Bruce Heinemann. This winter is the last year that we will be mailing our calendar to everyone. If you would like to continue receiving it, please opt-in by completing this form. Thank you.

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Is Your Valentine Covered?

Is Your Valentine Covered?

Your mother’s engagement ring. Your grandfather’s gold watch. The diamond earrings your husband gave you for Valentine’s Day… What would you do if you lost them? Precious treasured items should be insured against loss, particularly jewelry which can be easily lost or stolen.

Standard homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies typically include some coverage for jewelry and other precious items such as watches, fine arts and collectibles. Like other belongings, high value items are covered for losses caused by all the perils included in your policy such as fire, windstorm, theft and vandalism.

However, there are special limits of liability for certain items, meaning that the insurer will not pay more than the amount specified in the policy. One important limit is for the theft of jewelry. To keep coverage affordable, standard policies have a fairly low limit for theft coverage, typically at or about $1,500 per item. (Please review your policy for specific limits.)

If you own valuable jewelry or other items that would be difficult to replace, you should contact us to learn the details of your options such as scheduling specific items. This article on Safeco’s blog provides some helpful tips about scheduling jewelry and other valuable items. If you aren’t sure whether you should purchase floater policies for your valuables, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.

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Distracted Driver Awareness Month

Distracted Driver Awareness Month

APRIL is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, a good time to consider facts about distracted driving. Here are a few collected from recent studies:

Drivers are four times more likely to crash if using a cell phone, whether or not it is hands-free.Drivers talking on cell phones can miss seeing up to 50% of their driving environments, including pedestrians and red lights.A National Safety Council review of the scienceconcludes that "hands-free devices offer no safety benefit when driving." New studies show that using voice-to-text is more distracting than typing texts by hand. A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that even built-in, voice-activated systems can impair brain focus for up to 15 to 27 seconds.The average time taken away from watching the road ahead while texting is "just" five seconds; in that time period, a vehicle traveling at 55 mph will travel the length of a football field.Distracted driving caused 3,477 traffic deaths in the U.S. in 2015, a 9% increase from the previous year.In Washington State, distracted driving deaths rose from 130 in 2014 to 171 in 2015, and nearly a third of the overall 556 traffic fatalities in 2016.Studies have found that using an electronic device impairs reaction time as badly as driving intoxicated.
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Is Your Teen Really Ready?

Is Your Teen Really Ready?

Most teenagers can’t wait to get behind the wheel, but just because your child has reached the legal driving age and wants to drive, that doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is ready. Driving is serious business, especially on today’s crowded roads with cell phones and other distractions adding higher risk.

Since your child’s life and the lives of everyone else on the road are at stake every time they get behind the wheel, it is essential that parents evaluate their teen’s maturity and responsibility before handing over the keys. Gauging a teen’s readiness to drive requires honestly assessing his or her individual temperament and behavior, which will be different for every child. Don’t feel obligated to let your kids drive just because they have reached the age or their friends are driving. We encourage parents to use your own judgment and trust yourselves; you are the best judge of your kids’ maturity. Listen to your gut, not to their pleading! If you're feeling uneasy about handing over the keys, even just a few months of waiting could make a big difference.

If your 16 year old is irresponsible when it comes to things like doing her chores and getting her school work done, she may not be ready for the responsibility of driving. Or if your teen shows reckless behavior or high susceptibility to peer pressure, he may not be ready to take the wheel responsibly. You might have one child who is mature enough to safely handle the responsibility of driving at age 16 and another who still isn’t ready by 18. Driving is not one size fits all! Evaluate each of your kids as the individuals they are and don’t let concerns about fairness or peer pressure get in the way of making a smart decision.

When you do reach the decision that your teen is ready to take the wheel, make sure you are protected. Adding a teen to your auto insurance is a good time to review your policy to make sure you have the right coverage for all of your risks and needs. Although there are costs for adding a teen to your auto policy, the first way to reduce the cost is with the Good Student Discount for students with a 3.0 GPA or higher – a good incentive for your teen to keep up with their grades, especially if he or she will be helping pay some of the insurance costs. Bundling your renter’s and auto insurance policies helps you save even more.

If you have a teen reaching for the wheel soon, give us a call.

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Safety Planning Before Vacation

Safety Planning Before Vacation

This past weekend, we celebrated Summer Solstice, which means summer is officially here and you mostly likely have some vacation time planned. An empty house can be a welcome invitation to burglars. Before leaving on any trip, take time to double check your security systems and prepare your home.   

 

Check Your Alarms

Double check all the test features on your alarm to make sure they are working properly and going off at the appropriate times.

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The Best Way to Avoid Car Break-Ins

The Best Way to Avoid Car Break-Ins

Car break-ins are one of those things you never expect to happen to you.

You lock your car and roll up your windows and assume that should be enough. But, anyone who has had their car broken into, knows car prowlers aren’t deterred by secured doors and windows.  

And it usually happens because they had something, even random items, visible through the windows.

There is a direct correlation between what is visible in your car and break-ins. For every car break-in claim at CTIA, we ask what was visible in the car. People often say nothing, until we dig a little deeper and inquire about random items. It doesn’t have to be a purse, wallet or electronic, even charging cords or loose change in cup holders can be temptation for a car prowler. We’ve even heard stories about luggage, left in the backseat, being rummaged through.

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Make Old Glory New!

Make Old Glory New!

Get ready for Flag Day and the Fourth of July with a brand new flag. 

In honor of Flag Day, this June we’ll be offering a free flag exchange. Bring in your old, faded flag to CTIA and we’ll replace it with a brand new one.

This is a great opportunity to trade your not so glorious stars and stripes in for one a brand new one. Drop them off at CTIA from 9 a.m .and 5 p.m. anytime between June 6th and June 14th.

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Distracted Driving & Climbing Auto Rates

Distracted Driving & Climbing Auto Rates

Auto rates are climbing… and will most likely keep climbing in the years to come.

Reasons are varied, but it can be partially attributed to the increase in distracted driving. With more devices, and therefore more distractions, involved in our daily lives, we have assumed more risk. Some people check their emails at stoplights, update their status while stuck in traffic and even return text messages while in their in the car. All of this has led to more accidents and, unfortunately, a trend in higher auto rates for everyone.

Although, we can’t mitigate all distractions while in the car. You can take a few precautions to make sure you aren’t contributing to the problem.

Mute Your Devices

As soon as you get in your car, turn the sound off on your phone and any other device that may distract you. If you don’t hear the ping of a new text, email or Instagram Like, you won’t be as tempted to find out what is happening in your digital world.

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