Did you realize your VFIS Auto policy provides coverage to your member’s personal autos (POV)? Hold on before you run out and cancel your personal auto policy. The coverage on the VFIS Auto policy is an Extension to the Physical Damage Coverage on your policy. Here is what the extension will do for you if needed.
First, we need to understand the POV Extension is only available if you currently have Physical Damage Coverage on at least one of your Department vehicles. Coverage is provided Excess of your member’s current personal auto policy. This coverage picks up where your member’s personal coverage stops.
The Physical Damage to Personal Autos Extension will do the following: pay up to the actual cash value for an auto not covered by Physical Damage, or the amount of the deductible up to $1,000 for autos covered by Physical Damage. This coverage is only in effect for your member’s POV when they are enroute to, during or returning directly from an emergency or other Department activities performed at the direction and knowledge of an officer of the Department.
Here is an example of this coverage. Your member is responding to a call and has an at fault accident. Your member has full coverage on their vehicle on their personal auto policy. VFIS will reimburse your member their deductible up to $1,000, once the claim is settled. Same example but now your member only has liability coverage on their vehicle. Now the coverage will pay for repairs to your member’s vehicle on an actual cash basis and if the vehicle is a total loss, then the coverage will pay up to the actual cash value of the vehicle.
The intent of this coverage is to lessen the financial burden on the member’s household in the event an accident should occur. Happy House, Happy Spouse! But, keep in mind this POV Extension only responds Excess of your member’s personal auto policy. If your member has no insurance coverage on their vehicle, then they have no coverage under your VFIS Auto Policy.
Please get with one of your VFIS representatives for further information or more detailed explanation of this coverage should you have any questions and/or concerns.
VFIS insures emergency response vehicles on an agreed value basis. What this means is that in the event of a covered claim, you will be paid the lesser of:
Having the option to select an agreed value is a great benefit for the insured. The insured is able to decide how much to insure a vehicle for based on their needs.
When determining what value to choose for your vehicle there are several factors and there is really no wrong answer. Starting at the low end, what is the actual cash value (market value) of the vehicle? Let’s say that is $250,000. On the high end, what would it cost today to replace it with a new vehicle with the same specifications? Let’s use $1,000,000 as an example for the high end value. Your agreed value should be somewhere between $250,000 and $1,000,000.
How you intend to replace that vehicle should also be a factor on choosing the agreed value. Would you replace it with a used vehicle of similar age and condition or maybe slightly newer? Would you replace it with a brand new vehicle?
Just be aware that on the high end, the vehicle could sustain extensive damage and possibly not reach 75% of the $1,000,000. And alternatively, on the low end you would more easily reach 75% of the $250,000, but then you might have to use other funds to purchase a more expensive replacement apparatus.
Other things to consider:
Any permanently attached equipment should be included in the agreed value.
If the vehicle is financed, you would not want an agreed value lower than the financed amount.
Congratulations to the following recipients of the 2021 Emergency Responder Health and Wellness Grant sponsored by VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual!
We received a record-breaking 187 grant applications requesting almost $850,000.
Tom Newby is in his 30th year as an Employee Benefit Insurance Agent. In 2007 and 2008 he was named in ForbesTM magazine by Goldline Research as One of the Ten Most Dependable Insurance Professionals in Texas and the Central U.S., respectively. In 2011 he was named by Benefits ProTM as One of the Top Ten Brokers in the U.S. He is a graduate of Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration for Economics, Entrepreneurship and International Finance.
Serving as the Director for Employee Benefits at Winstar Insurance Group, LLC he is responsible for the department’s growth and direction within WinStars’ primary client niches: fire and emergency service organizations, water supply entities and craft beverage businesses. A self-described insurance nerd, Tom thrives in the niche insurance industry. Prior to joining Winstar he worked with Physician and Chiropractic Organizations to develop their employee benefit programs.
Tom strives to understand all facets of his client industries including how they operate on a day to day basis, how they are funded, their market competition and any existing constraints. He is then able to create an employee benefit program on a large scale that can be tailored to the individual client groups within the niche client industry. As the Director for Employee Benefits at Winstar he has developed insurance programs for the State Fire Fighters & Fire Marshal’s Association of Texas. He is currently developing an employee benefit insurance pool for Emergency Service Districts (ESD’s) statewide. Tom understands the importance of staying abreast of the ever-changing rules and regulations with employee benefits. He strives to streamline the enrollment process, making it interesting and providing his customers with the tools they need to make educated decisions.
When asked to describe himself in five words he gave us these: Entrepreneurial, Dedicated, Tenacious, Passionate and Intelligent. Tom has two loves in his life: his work and his son Ezra. Tom adopted his son from Guatemala when Ezra was only a few days old. Today Ezra is 15 years old going on 30. Those of you with teenagers will completely understand what he means. Tom spends his free time learning to cook gluten free dishes and working in his garden.
WinStar Insurance Group is a thriving insurance agency based in Austin, Texas that specializes in serving niche industries. WinStar was founded in 2016 by Barbara Marzean, President; Steph Dew, VP; and Glenn Hastings, VP. The owners were previously employees of Regnier & Associates and purchased the assets of Regnier & Associates in 2016 upon retirement of the owner, Ted Regnier.
Since its inception in 2016, the agency has grown exponentially and has gone through many changes. WinStar has more than doubled their premium volume and has grown from 19 employees in 2016 to 28 employees today. Previously focusing on Property & Casualty only, the agency created a very successful Employee Benefits Department led by Tom Newby. Newby joined the agency in 2018 and has quickly grown the Employee Benefits Department to more than $10M in premium volume.
The agency devotes their time and resources to fully understanding the unique challenges and needs of their customers while partnering with key carriers to find viable solutions. WinStar is recognized as a key partner protecting the financial well-being of their clients through comprehensive insurance coverage, risk management solutions, education, training and safety. Instead of trying to know a little about of lot of industries, the agency seeks to dive deep into the specific niches they serve and become an integral partner. When their clients encounter new challenges, WinStar works with their long-standing carriers to develop products to specifically address their needs.
The largest niche WinStar serves is the emergency service community with over 1,500 emergency service organization clients throughout Texas. Additional niche industries include wineries, breweries, distilleries, water-related companies, for-profit ambulance companies and child care facilities. The agency is very active in client industry associations and has excellent relationships with each of these groups. The agency is recognized as the leader in these fields and has built their reputation one client at a time with hands-on involvement. As evidenced by their 98% client retention rate, WinStar has developed lasting relationships with their customers. In fact, many customers have been clients for over 30 years.
WinStar is dedicated to continuing the vision and commitment that the agency was founded upon in 1982. Every employee within the WinStar family recognizes they are part of something unique and special. They understand that success is measured when clients place their trust in WinStar Insurance Group to provide the best value, service and expertise in their industry
It is with extreme sadness to announce the death of Ted Regnier, the former Chairman of the Board of Regnier & Associates / VFIS of Texas. He passed on December 9, 2020 due to complications from COVID. Ted was the face and fearless leader of our agency for many years before retiring to the hill country in October 2016.
Ted was a staunch supporter and fierce advocate for the fire service. He would walk the halls of the State Capitol at every legislative session with Babe Schwartz to fight for our first responders. He loved to travel and to visit with our first responders. He had a deep respect for what they do and he always wanted to help them in any way that he could. He was very passionate and made a huge impact on our state’s fire departments and EMS providers. His tireless efforts, positive influence and significant contributions continue to benefit emergency service organizations today.
Ted’s funeral was held in Boerne, Texas on December 19, 2020. He leaves behind his loving wife, Sherry Moses Regnier, and his granddaughter/daughter, Izabelle Regnier, along with a legacy that will last forever.
Registration is now open for VFIS of Texas online “Instructor Level” training classes through May of 2021! The classes will be limited to the first 10 participants. These online courses are interactive and all participants must have a computer with good internet connection, webcam, speakers and microphone. More classes will be scheduled for later in the year.
Emergency Vehicle Driver Training (Fire) *Instructor Level*
This course is designed to teach the instructional methodology to existing instructors that have an Instructor Certification (any level) or have participated in a previous VFIS EVDT course.
January 20, 2021 (8:00am – 5:00pm) - Register Here
January 27, 2021 (8:00am – 5:00pm) - Register Here
March 24, 2021 (8:00am – 5:00pm) - Register Here
March 31, 2021 (8:00am – 5:00pm) - Register Here
Emergency Vehicle Driver Training (EMS) *Instructor Level*
This course is designed to teach the instructional methodology to existing EMS professionals that have an Instructor Certification (any level) or have participated in a previous VFIS EVDT course.
February 24, 2021 (8:00am – 5:00pm) - Register Here
April 14, 2021 (8:00am – 5:00pm) - Register Here
Emergency Services UTV/ATV Safety Program *Instructor Level*
This course is designed to teach the instructional methodology for Emergency Services UTV/ATV Safety.
May 19, 2021 (6:00pm – 10:00pm) - Register Here
2021 Rural Volunteer Fire Department Insurance Program (HB 3667) - The Rural Volunteer Fire Department Insurance Program (HB 3667) is a grant program designed to reimburse eligible volunteer fire departments for the purchase of insurance from private insurance companies. Eligible coverage includes any combination of compensation insurance for firefighters (workers’ compensation, accidental death and dismemberment, group term life, accident and sickness, and/or cancer-related insurance) purchased from Texas insurance companies. The program will reimburse 100% of the actual cost of eligible insurance coverage up to a maximum of $175 per fire department member.
Recognized, non-profit volunteer fire departments operated by its members are eligible. Any part-paid/part-volunteer department is also eligible, provided the number of paid members is 20 or less. Departments may enter into agreements with cities or counties in order to qualify for coverage and/or special premiums.
All eligible departments must participate in a firefighter certification program administered under Section 419.071 of the Texas Government Code (Texas Commission on Fire Protection), or by the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshal’s Association of Texas (SFFMA), or by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).
TO APPLY, PLEASE COMPLETE AND SUBMIT BEFORE JULY 31, 2021:
1) Rural Volunteer Fire Department Application for Grant Assistance (Form TFS-FO-408)
2) Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (IRS Form W-9)
3) Roster of active fire department members.
4) Copy of a Payroll Classification Schedule Page 1 and 2, or a copy of the current paid insurance policy which provides insurance coverage during the calendar year 2021, or payment receipt for a workers’ compensation, accidental death and dismemberment, group term life, accident and sickness, or cancer-related insurance policy.
• The policy or payment documents must show the policy number, the cost or premium amount and the coverage period.
• All required reimbursement documents must accompany the grant application form.
• Applications, either complete or incomplete, arriving after July 31, 2021 are not eligible for reimbursement.
• Only ONE application per department will be reimbursed for the enrollment period of November 2020 thru July 2021.
All forms can be found at texasfd.com/RuralVFDInsuranceProgram or by contacting the Capacity Building Department.
SUBMIT VIA FAX, EMAIL OR MAIL FAX TO:
Texas A&M Forest Service
200 Technology Way, Suite 1162
College Station, Texas 77845-3424
Every organization operating today has key people that help it remain successful and profitable. Although most organizations insure their property and assets, few think to insure their most precious assets--the men and women whose education, experience, talent, and judgment contributes substantially to the financial success of the organization. Loss of a key person can adversely affect the organization’s operating efficiency, and will cause expenses related to finding his/her replacement.
Typical losses associated with losing a key person include:
Closely held organizations are particularly at risk since there are typically one or two people whose skill and contacts make the organization operate effectively. This is incredibly true for certain high ranking members of fire departments.
How Key Person Insurance Works
The organization purchases a key person life insurance policy on the key employee. The organization is the owner and beneficiary of the policy. There is no one special key person policy. The organization should choose the policy that best fits its needs.
The organization makes non-deductible premium payments and retains all ownership rights. Cash values inside the policy grow tax-free.
If the key person dies, the organization will receive income tax free death proceeds if the two requirements of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 are met:
To learn more about Key Person Insurance or to get a Quote, contact our Employee Benefits Sales Executive Tom Newby at (512) 628-5189 or email@example.com.
VFIS of Texas and Texas Mutual Insurance Company are once again pleased to sponsor a need-based Health & Wellness Grant program for fire departments and non-profit EMS organizations in Texas. Grants up to $5,000 will be awarded based on financial need and are intended to assist emergency service organizations in developing a health & wellness program to prevent emergency responder deaths and injuries and for cancer prevention. Departments will need to apply for the grant, expend the funds and then send in copies of receipts in order to receive the grant funds. Grant Application Deadline is December 31, 2020.
Who is eligible:
What is eligible:
How it works:
**THE DEADLINE TO APPLY IS DECEMBER 31, 2020.**
Any grant questions, please contact Kayla Bridgewaters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-628-5054.
Great video from Crims Chapel VFD staying fit in this Texas heat and utilizing items purchased with the Health and Wellness Grant!
AUSTIN, Texas - 08/26/2020
WinStar Insurance Group dba VFIS of Texas continues for the 2nd 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 (2019-2022) by submitting extensive financial and operational data for review each year. During the 2020 Study year, only 262 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 nearly 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 2020 Best Practices Study sponsors include: Amerisure, Applied Systems, Allstate, Beyond Insurance, Central Insurance Companies, Chubb, EMC Insurance, Encompass, Grange Insurance, The Hanover Insurance Group, The Hartford, Imperial PFS, InsurBanc, Integrity Insurance, Liberty Mutual, MetLife, Nationwide, Progressive, Safeco Insurance, Travelers, Vertafore and Westfield.
WinStar Insurance Group LLC dba VFIS of Texas purchased the assets of Regnier & Associates, Inc. on October 1, 2016. Regnier & Associates, Inc. was founded in May of 1982 providing coverage through the VFIS program for emergency service organizations in Texas. WinStar Insurance Group LLC also dedicates our time insuring niche industries including craft beverage, water districts, commercial ambulances, child care facilities and more and is dedicated to continuing the vision and commitment that Regnier & Associates, Inc. has provided for the past 34 years.
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.
VFIS of Texas NEWS
Here you will find helpful information regarding firefighters, ems responders, and updates in insurance policies.