Good news! Paying your insurance premiums just got a whole lot easier. We are excited to announce we have switched our online payment system from ePay Policy to Applied Pay!
Keep an eye out for a link on your next invoice that will allow you to access our new payment portal, or if you want to check it out now, you can also access the portal here or through the “Make a Payment” tab on our website.
Our goal is to provide exceptional service, and we are excited to offer you a convenient way to make payments safely and securely, using your credit card and ACH. The choice is yours!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We are always here to help!
As firefighters, paramedics and 911 dispatchers, you keep the safety and risk management practices of your community members top-of-mind, but how often do you evaluate your own risks? Considering the fact that a new cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds, 64% of companies have experienced at least one cyberattack, and a cyberattack on your organization could impact your entire town—when it comes to cyber safety, it’s vital to think about your own risks, too.
VFIS has a cybersecurity microsite to help you understand your risks, know what to do if you experience a breach and understand key ways to help prevent one from happening in the first place.
You’ll find picks for who to follow on online to get the latest cyber risks and recommendations, as well as resources designed specifically for responders and answers to your top cyber-related questions.
by Tom Newby, Benefits Director
As many of you are aware, the Texas State Legislature recently passed HB471. This new law is to become effective September 1, 2023. For those of you not aware of HB471, I am attaching a copy for you (link below). In short it requires that when a member of a department, whether fire, police or emergency medical personnel, goes out on a disability that is Line of Duty related, the department is responsible for replacing 100% of the member’s income for the
first twelve months.
Our reading of HB471, in its current form, is not fiscally or administratively feasible to be implemented. We have contacted SAFE-D and ask that their legal and legislative persons request clarification of certain issues as well as to request an implementation period of 12 months. Reasons for not seeing HB471, in its current form, as fiscally or administratively feasible are listed below.
My hope is that this will provide some insight in to the current issues surrounding HB471 and what is needed to make the goal of HB471 a reality.
Severe Wildfire Disaster Declaration Emergency Grant
The Severe Wildfire Disaster Declaration Emergency Grant is open for departments that incurred damage/loss beginning July 24, 2023 while responding to fires in one of the declared counties. Application Deadline is September 15th.
“Volunteer firefighters are our first line of defense against wildfires in Texas,” said Wes Moorehead, Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Chief. “During this active summer season, these firefighters are responding to wildfires daily. They work in extreme conditions that not only challenge them physically but also cause their equipment to become worn and damaged.”
In addition to preventing and responding to wildfires, Texas A&M Forest Service helps firefighters by administering emergency grants through the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program.
The emergency grants fund essential equipment that needs repairing and replacement damaged during response efforts.
APPLY HERE - https://tinyurl.com/5n96bjp8
WinStar Insurance Group continues, for the 4th year, to be part of an elite group of independent insurance agencies around the United States participating in the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) Best Practices Study Group.
The agencies comprising the study group are selected every third year through a comprehensive nomination and qualifying process and awarded a “Best Practices Agency” designation. The selected Best Practices agencies retain their status during the three-year study cycle (2022-2024) by submitting extensive financial and operational data for review each year. During the 2023 Study year, only 264 independent agencies throughout the U.S. qualified and retained their status as a Best Practices agency.
The Best Practices Study was initiated by IIABA in 1993 as the foundation for efforts to improve agency performance. The annual Study of leading independent insurance agencies, which is conducted by the Big “I” and Reagan Consulting of Atlanta, GA, documents the business practices of these “best” agencies and urges others to adopt similar practices.
For over 30 years, the Big “I” has developed a family of products and webinars designed to help cultivate a Best Practices agency culture. The offerings include materials such as the Agency Comparison Workbook, Guide to Producer Contracts, the Customer Service Experience Handbook, Sales Potential Quick Check, Interactive Agency Self-Diagnostic Tool, and Best Practices Joint Planning Tool Quick Step. Many of the publications include guidelines, worksheets, and case studies to help agents apply the information contained in each report and move beyond theory into practice.
In addition to these materials, hundreds of workshops and seminars have been conducted at various producer association functions, company sponsored agency meetings and national automation users group conventions.
The Big “I” and Reagan Consulting jointly maintain the Best Practices Gateway website (www.reaganconsulting.com/reasearch/best-practices) that provides executive summaries of the annual Best Practices Studies and various Best Practices tools. The Gateway, as well as the annual study, is made possible in part through the financial sponsorship of various insurance companies and industry organizations.
The 2023 Best Practices Study sponsors include: Amerisure, Applied Systems, Central Insurance, Chubb, EMC Insurance, First Insurance Funding, The Hartford, Imperial PFS, InsurBanc, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Safeco Insurance, State Auto Insurance Companies, National General, Nationwide, Progressive, SunLife, Travelers, Vertafore, Westfield Insurance and Westfield Bank.
For more information on the Best Practices Study, contact Jennifer Becker at IIABA, 1-800-221-7917.
Founded in 1896, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing more than 25,000 agency locations united under the Trusted Choice brand. Trusted Choice independent agents offer consumers all types of insurance—property, casualty, life, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products—from a variety of insurance companies.
2023 Firefighter of the Year & EMS Responder of the Year Awards
During the 2023 SFFMA Training Conference and Convention, SFFMA and VFIS of Texas presented the EMS Responder of the Year and the Firefighter of the Year awards.
The SFFMA 2023 Firefighter of the Year Award was awarded to Fire Chief Jeff Ballew from Edgecliff Village Fire Department.
The SFFMA 2023 EMS Responder of the Year was awarded to Dave Bellows with Hartley Fire & EMS.
The two FFOY runners up were Ervey Pineda with Kermit Volunteer Fire Department and David Poe from West Carlisle Volunteer Fire Department.
Congratulations to this year's winners and nominees! All well-deserved and appreciated!
We are pleased to announce that in May, Texas Mutual announced that its board of directors voted unanimously to approve a $340 million dividend distribution in 2023. Dividends will be distributed to qualifying policyholders in late June.
This year marks the 25th year that Texas Mutual is paying dividends to their more than 57,000 policyholders, bringing the total to over $4 billion back to Texas businesses since 1999.
You can log in to your Texas Mutual Online (TMO) account to see whether you will receive a dividend starting June 23. Your agent will be able to see dividend information for their qualifying clients starting June 5.
PLEASE REACH OUT TO US IF YOU HAVE NOT RECIEVED YOUR CHECK BY MID-JULY
WHAT IS A DIVIDEND?
As a policyholder-owned company, Texas Mutual clients contribute to their success when they make safety a priority and choose to do business with Texas Mutual. There are two components to earning a dividend. Safety, paid through the annual component, and loyalty, paid through the retention component. Our newer Texas Mutual policyholders can also earn dividends through the early qualifier program, which is paid in November. Since 1999, Texas Mutual has distributed over $4 billion back to Texas businesses.
Dividends are based on performance, are not guaranteed and must comply with Texas Department of Insurance regulations.
Retired President Barbara Marzean was awarded the SAFE-D Ladder Award at the 2023 Annual Luncheon. The SAFE-D Ladder Award is awarded to those distinguished individuals in appreciation for outstanding efforts to help Emergency Service Districts climb to new heights.
Barbara said “It has been such a pleasure working with these progressive ESD Commissioners and their wonderful association since their inception 20+ years ago. I have so many friends from SAFE-D and the association has grown into a leader among Texas emergency responders.”
The Ladder Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Texas State Association of Fire and Emergency Districts, representing more than 340 emergency services districts across Texas. The award recognizes singular contributions advancing the knowledge, effectiveness and efficiency of ESDs as they protect more than 10 million Texans. Previous award recipients have included the fire chief who founded SAFE-D and a distinguished attorney who had worked selflessly to educate not only his clients, but all ESDs.