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According to a catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, the losses from a quake near the coast of Chili that killed more than 700 people could exceed 2 billion dollars.  The quake struck dozens of miles underground but near the capitol city of Santiago, disrupting commerce and now leading to looting in many of the cities near the capitol.

In the aftermath of the magnitude 8.8  Tsunami watch for the Seattle area but was later retracted by the National Weather Service.

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Many people assume that their auto insurance rate is a static component of their monthly bills, never questioning how changes in their lifestyle can have a drastic effect on insurance premiums by certain carriers. However, there are lots of insurance carriers serving Washington and the greater Seattle area that might honer certain changes you make that another well-respected company may not. The trick is to shop around but this takes time and diligent effort to obtain a company that has the best balance of coverages versus what you are paying in premiums. Prostar Insurance does the shopping for you with dozens of the most well-respected insurance carriers in the Pacific Northwest. If you want to stay on top of your insurance month after month to take advantage of incentives that other companies may offer, here are a few instances where you should check your policy:

Is your credit score significantly higher or lower than before? Sometimes a bad credit score is matched with a low accident or violation history and a lower rate than any other carrier emerges. It simply depends on how companies place their weights.

Are you turning 25? You will see a significant drop. This is widely accepted throughout the auto insurance industry.

Bought a home? Homeowners are considered more stable and reliable. Also many companies offer home and auto packages that can save thousands of dollars a year.

Take a driving skills course– insurance companies offer discounts to drivers that are smarter on the road. A driving skills course can teach anything from skid controlling defensive driving to advanced safety maneuvers. Not only will you save cash, you might learn the skills to keep you and your family safe in a variety of driving scenarios.

In February’s edition of Rough Notes, an top-rated insurance magazine driven on providing agents with comprehensive information on how to grow their business, Prostar Insurance was featured in the Internet Marketing page under ‘success stories’. In this particular article, the author describes the need for agencies to turn themselves into a sales machine if they want to grow and that the old way of marketing is completely and utterly dead. It then goes on to describe that an agency must balance sales generation with being service-centric and that relying on the latter won’t get you anywhere.

“What I have discovered is that some of the most successful and fastest-growing agencies in the country literally start with their sales culture. Agencies like Prostar Insurance in Bellevue, Washington (www.prostarinsuranceagency.com), have an outstanding sales process and access to top markets. They have found ways to receive high-quality opportunities and use strategies to drive new and existing business.”

We have found that taking a new approach to establishing an internet presence is very intriguing to some people and have enjoyed coming up with new ways to get people excited about something as well.. boring as insurance. Yet everyone needs it. So it becomes this balancing game of tapping into basically everyone, but in a way that interests people to actually THINK about insurance.

The Seattle insurance arena has been a wild one this season. Many Seattle business owners have been plagued with arson, threat of flood, record freezing temperatures, and low consumer spending adding to the burden of a tough economy. It is crucial that Washington residents secure their insurance because a loss of a home or business is nothing to brush off, for most of us, it’s our biggest asset. However we can look at an overview of the prominence of Seattle-area insurance claims has taken in the past 6 months.

3 tips for avoiding insurance claims in Washington state:

1) Expect the unexpected: This may sound cliche but it is the #1 rule that governs a smart insurance owner. I’m sure many of the Seattle business owners in Greenwood had no idea their very own neighborhood would be the target of a string of arsons causing over $2 million in damages to a handful of businesses. The point is that trends can spark up anywhere and can be confined to your area. If your home of business is in a low, valley area; a not-so-uncommon Seattle rainstorm can cause damage to your roof, walls, and basements even if the year before, things were fine.

2) Protect against a DUI: Now we’ve all heard this one before but listen up for a second… We all know .08% BAC is the legal limit. We see the signs everywhere- but how do we know what .08% FEELS like? Ask your parents this question, they won’t be able to answer and will go on about how ‘its just smart to not drink and drive’.

These are the little voices in the back of our head. However, from a practicality standpoint, there are times where we like to enjoy a drink at a happy hour after work or we drive to a bar that we like in Beltown when we live in Fremont and at some point, we must drive home. So, for these times that we have to get behind the wheel an hour or two after a drink how do we gauge our BAC?  Get yourself a good Breathalyzer! Not a $40 one, not a $70 one. Get a $120+ one, MINIMUM.  Do your research and find on that is approved by the FDA and meets DOT/NHTSA model specifications for breath alcohol screeners, this way you can start testing yourself and become more in tune with how you feel when over the limit. DUI’s cost thousands of dollars and eat up massive amounts of your time, a good breathalyzer costs a hundred bucks and can be shipped to your doorstep. Of course, this is no sure-fire way to not get a DUI besides the obvious, but the idea here is that you can begin to gauge what .08% FEELS like so you can then make smarter decisions about getting behind the wheel in Seattle. Washington state is very strict on DWI laws and will skyrocket your insurance premiums if given a DUI. Especially if you are young, becoming more in tune with your BAC level and the law can be one of the smartest investments of your life.

Know your coverage compared to state requirements-

If your cruising along in Bellevue with your 25/50/10 coverage limits and smash into a $150,000 Mercedes or hit a pedestrian and cause $200,000 in hospital care, you might be in big trouble with your insurance

Prostar Insurance does not write state minimums on Washington insurance policies for one reason, we don’t believe the state minimums adequately reflect what the majority of people need in protection. Whether it comes to your auto coverage or your business liability, knowing your coverage and adequately securing the right amount is key to success. Prostar Insurance knows what is adequate and will work with you to achieve these goals.

The Namic(National Association of Mutual Insurance companies) has recently exclaimed that regulators are eager and willing to lead companies to accepting claims of climate change and to which humans may have an effect. In a letter to regulators, NAMIC asserts that many regulators have their sights set and are leaving little breathing room for people who question the faith-based view of anthropogenic global warming. This, directed toward an organization which underwrites about 40% of the country’s property & casualty premiums. There are many who have a problem with the scientific facts to back up such a claim, because much of the raw data has been destroyed in which the majority of these claims are based. Much of this information is revealed in the recent leak of documents and emails exposing the deletion of raw data and suppression of other scientists among the top climatologists who provide their information to the IPCC.

The group is four months out from a survey geared on climate change, now Robert Detlefsen of NAMIC is extremely concerned of the “scientific integrity, regulators’ belief in those findings, and the way that the companies’ answers could be exploited by environmentalists.”

“We fear … that the wording of the survey questions, together with the public pronouncements of some regulators, will inhibit the expression of what might be viewed as unwelcome ‘contrarian’ responses”

Seattle commercial property vacancy is on the rise:

Thats according to leading broker analyst Cushman & Wakefield who has been tracking the rate for 22 years. Other analysts have calculated anywhere between 17 and 20 percent, a few percentage points higher than last quarter. Either way, a record has been broken, leaving double the amount of space from the same time in 2008.

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Geithner was the president of the New York Fed in September 2008, when the government stepped in to rescue American International Group at a cost to taxpayers of $180 billion. Read More »

According to an Employment Security Department report on Wednesday, 470,231 Washington residents received unemployment funds to the tune of $3.967 billion. 2009 records show the highest payout in Washington state history due to extensions on payout time periods and record unemployment.

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The Pacific Northwest is the first region to experience Comcasts’ new gig, with Washington State Comcast customers now able to view your usage through the company’s customer central page. Although only 1% of users will even skim the threshold of 250 gigabytes as summed by Comcast’s Steve Kipp. To give you an idea of really how much data you would have to use in a month, we’ve given a few examples  of what you could do to blow the lid on your limit.

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With the Holiday season sweeping by, many retailers are looking at barren shelves due to a better understanding of the Christmas shopping market. May retailers had a good idea of how much would be sold this season and are now facing the hardest time of the season for shopping, after Christmas.

Here are some sweet deals that some companies will surely be using to lure more customers back into the stores.

Bedding- This month is a great time to shop for sheets, blankets, towels, comforters, tablecloths, electric blankets, pillows and more.

Seasonal Goods- Compounded markdowns and generally highly discounted seasonal items dominate the mad rush to ‘move’ these items out of the stores to make room for new items as well as valentines day seasonal items. Prepare to save up to 90%

Furniture- New furniture appears on showroom floors in February, which means big sales on past-season merchandise this month, says Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of public relations and marketing for American Home Furnishing Alliance.

Gadgets- The annual Consumer Electronics Show takes place this week in Las Vegas, which means new cameras, televisions and other electronics will be appearing on store shelves in the spring. Now is the time to pick up last year’s models at discounted prices.

Weddings- With the height of weddings in the summer, many wedding planners take advantage of the early year love birds. Plan your ceremony and reception (or any other event) for next January, February or March — the wedding industry’s slow season — and you’ll cut costs on facilities, flowers, entertainment and catering.

Seattle Times

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