Continuing to Serve You – Remotely

Our office is closed, but we are ready to serve you. We’re working remotely while our area is most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19.

We are available to serve you by:

At its core, insurance is about
SPREADING RISK and
HELPING OUR COMMUNITY.
Noyes Hall & Allen believes in these causes.

SPREADING RISK

Insurance customers pay a small amount of money to help those who suffer a catastrophe avoid financial disaster.

Health professionals tell us that limiting human contact now can “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 spread. The goal is to save capacity in the health care system for our most sick and vulnerable neighbors. We care about our clients, our co-workers and our community.

HELPING OUR COMMUNITY

Insurance contributes to the community in many ways. It pays for losses of course. It also enables people to buy vehicles and homes; to start businesses and hire people. Insurance promotes safety and risk education. It provides good jobs for thousands of families. It supports local economies and non-profits.

By closing our office and serving you remotely, we hope to reduce the community spread of a very serious virus. We want to practice public health safety and risk management. We live and work here, too. Working remotely also allows our team to be with their families. To provide care and comfort during a stressful time.

INDEPENDENT AND COMMITTED TO YOU

Noyes Hall & Allen has been locally owned since 1933. We’re independent – not beholden to any insurance company. That allows us to be committed to YOU, our clients.

We know that you need us. We’ve prepared for an interruption like this. While we’re closed, you can still accomplish anything that you normally do here. 

We hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and well. We remain independent and committed to you. We’re always happy to answer any questions about your insurance. Together, we will get through this tough time.

Should You Cancel Workers Comp Insurance When You Lay Off Employees?

If a business downturn causes you to lay off employees, you might want to cancel your workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp coverage is required when you hire someone. Without employees, it’s overhead you would like to cut.

But canceling your insurance isn’t always the best move. Here’s why.

Three Reasons Not to Cancel Workers’ Comp Too Quickly

  1. It’s hard to scale up again. Do you expect the downturn to be temporary? You will need to re-apply for workers’ comp when you hire employees again. This costs time, effort and money.
  2. You may lose valuable dividends. MEMIC, Maine’s largest workers’ comp insurer, has paid dividends several years in a row. If you cancel, your business has to wait 3 years to start earning dividends again.
  3. You may lose loss-free discounts. By canceling your policy, you lose the benefit of any loss-free discounts you’ve earned. When you re-start your policy, it takes time to accumulate those discounts again.

Cost-Cutting Alternatives to Canceling Your Workers’ Compensation Policy

  1. Reduce estimated payroll. Workers’ comp premiums are based upon payroll amounts. Layoffs mean lower payrolls, so it’s fine to reduce estimates. This may create a refund without actually canceling your policy.
  2. Change payment plans. Most workers’ comp insurers offer installment plans. Spreading payments may allow you to better match cash flow without losing benefits.

Updating your Maine workers’ comp policy may be smarter than canceling it altogether. Closing your business, or have no plans to hire for more than a year? Then it’s proper to cancel your workers’ comp insurance.

Maine Workers’ Compensation Insurance Questions?

For answers to your Maine workers’ compensation questions, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

Does Insurance Cover Loss of Business from Coronavirus?

COVID-19, better known as Coronavirus, has everyone’s attention. It’s changed behavior around the world, and now it’s here. Business owners already feel it. Their customers’ routines are completely disrupted. No more non-essential shopping, eating at restaurants or going to shows. No going out for drinks or coffee. Instead, they’re stockpiling supplies, staying home, washing, disinfecting and keeping their distance.

COVID-19 is causing turmoil for businesses large and small. Inventory control and staffing are all messed up. Marketing and sales are on hold as clients and prospects are otherwise occupied.

What if Your Business Suffers due to Coronavirus?

Many businesses feel threatened.

  • What if fear causes my customers to stay home?
  • What if I can’t get inventory or supplies?
  • What if my employees get sick and can’t work?
  • What if I have to disinfect or close my workplace?
  • What if the government restricts movement in my area?
  • What if economic fear or market changes cause me to lose sales?

Do My Policies Cover Business Interruption?

Unfortunately, business insurance is very unlikely to cover you against lost business due to Coronavirus. Even if you purchased business interruption coverage, almost every policy excludes damage caused by communicable diseases.

If Not, Why Not?

You probably don’t care about the reason behind the exclusion, but there is one. Put simply, diseases are too uncertain for insurers to accurately price insurance to cover them.

Viruses are extremely rare – or even unknown – until they’re widespread. And it’s hard to quantify a resulting drop in business. Profits and sales are subject to changing factors: weather, competition, consumer preferences. It’s very hard to put a dollar value on lost sales directly caused by a public health threat.

Resources for Small Businesses Affected by COVID-19

The US Small Business Association (SBA) has pledged to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits severely harmed by the Coronavirus.

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million. The goal is to help small businesses overcome a temporary loss of revenue.  These are loans, not grants. They must be repaid.

The CDC interim guide for businesses offers help to keep your employees and customers safe.

The Maine CDC Coronavirus information page is a good resource for Maine businesses and citizens. It contains factual and timely information about the disease and its effect on our state.

We’re Here to Help our Neighbors

We are a local business. We live and work in Greater Portland. While insurance may not be able to help our clients directly, we still want to be accessible. We want to help where and how we can.

Even if we must close or restrict access to our office, you can still reach us by phone, email or our website. Our insurance company partners also continue serving customers while keeping their employees safe.

Stay Safe

Public health scares and economic uncertainty create anxiety. Most business owners feel responsible for the safety of their employees and customers, as well as their loved ones. We hope that all or our clients, friends and business partners remain safe and calm during these trying times. We’re here to answer your insurance questions.

In this anxious season, check on family and friends. Be kind to each other. Together, we can make it through.

Independent Contractors and Maine Workers Compensation

Hiring an independent contractor a great way to expand your company’s products and services without adding overhead. The right sub can make you look good.

Subcontractor or Employee?

By Maine law, a worker is an employee unless they meet tests to be an independent contractor. That makes them subject to employment tax and workers compensation. If your Maine business hires independents, here’s what you need to do.

Get Documentation from Subcontractors

Workers compensation charges sub costs as payroll unless you have proof of subcontractor status. That can be a very expensive surprise. And the bill is due in lump sum.

Reduce Your Maine Workers Comp Costs

Certificates of insurance and WCB266s are “get out of jail free” cards. Use them to avoid a costly workers compensation insurance audit.

For more Maine Workers Compensation insurance tips, contact Noyes Hall & Allen in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you!

Natural Disaster Prep for Your Businesses

Natural disasters are on the rise, putting business owners at risk of suffering damage or loss of business property. A big disaster can literally put you out of business.

If you own a business in Maine, your customers and employees depend on you to prepare for the worst. Commercial insurance from Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance is one way to protect your business from disaster damage. Here are a few other ways to prep your small business for natural disasters.

Employee Disaster Readiness

  • Develop a plan for your employees, so they will know what to do in the event of a disaster.
  • Make sure that employees know who to contact and how to reach key personnel when needed.
  • Create an evacuation plan that employees can easily follow if they have to escape in a hurry.
  • Update new employees on disaster readiness so everyone is well-informed on what’s expected of them if disaster strikes.

Communicating with Clients after a Disaster

If your customers can’t reach you after a disaster, they may find someone else who can help. Don’t jeopardize your business. Have a plan to continue your operations, and let your customers know where to find you.

  • Have a plan in place to communicate with key clients after a disaster.
  • If your building is severely damaged, you may need to open a temporary location to continue operations. Thinking about possible options before disaster strikes can save valuable time following a disaster.

Protecting Essential Data after a Disaster

Make sure your primary data is backed up digitally to prevent loss in a disaster. This includes financial records, employee and customer information, and any other critical data you need to keep your business running. Cloud backup is the safest, most secure means of protecting essential data from natural disasters.

Commercial Insurance Coverage

Purchase adequate commercial insurance for your building, business equipment, and inventory. Just as important, be sure you have business interruption coverage. Many businesses have enough insurance to replace what they lose, but not enough to recover lost earnings. This can cause your business to fail.

Maine Business Insurance

For information on commercial insurance coverage and costs, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland, ME. We offer a choice of Maine’s top business insurance companies. We can help you find the right fit for your business. We’re independent and committed to you.

What is Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Coverage?

Maine home owners have a lot to worry about. Homeowners insurance can help with some of the big ones. Most homeowners policies cover fire, wind damage, and water damage from plumbing leaks.

Other big expenses aren’t covered by basic homeowners insurance. Off-the-shelf policies exclude flooding, foundation leaks, and breakdown of systems and appliances. But many home insurers now offer a homeowners Equipment Breakdown Endorsement.

What Does the Mechanical Breakdown Endorsement Cover?

Your insurance company’s form may differ. But most cover the cost to repair or replace items hit by mechanical or electrical failure. Think heating systems, solar panels, appliances, electronics, IOT smart devices and more.

Some examples

  • Your expensive dishwasher breaks down when the motor burns out.
  • A central air conditioner compressor fails.
  • The boiler or water heater break.
  • Your smart home monitoring system stops working.
  • The solar panels on your roof stop generating electricity.

What’s the Coverage Limit on Homeowners Equipment Breakdown?

Insurance company forms can differ, but many have a $100,000 limit. That’s enough to cover almost any system in American homes.

Does a Deductible Apply to Equipment Breakdown?

Yes. Usually it’s different than your regular homeowners policy deductible. $500 is a common deductible on homeowners Equipment Breakdown Endorsements.

What’s Not Covered by Equipment Breakdown?

Wear & tear and gradual deterioration are never covered. Everything eventually fails. Don’t expect insurance to pay for items past their useful life.

For example, if your 30-year old air conditioning compressor dies. the insurance company will likely deny your claim.

Other exclusions apply to all homeowners policies. Examples include intentional damage; flood; or seepage through a foundation.

Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Coverage vs. Home Warranty

Many home buyers buy a home warranty when they invest in a home. Home warranties help guard against big expenses in the first few years of ownership. They pay the cost of repairing or replacing major appliances or equipment.

Unlike Equipment Breakdown insurance, home warranties usually pay even for wear & tear. That’s why home warranty coverage is much more expensive than equipment breakdown coverage.

Equipment breakdown often costs less than $50 a year. Home warranties can cost $50 or more per month.

Why to Buy Homeowners Equipment Breakdown Coverage – or Not

You might purchase breakdown coverage on your homeowners if:

  • Your home or most of its equipment is newer.
  • The coverage is inexpensive.
  • It’s included in some bundle of other extra coverage that you want or need.

You might NOT purchase homeowners Equipment Breakdown coverage if:

  • You already purchased a home warranty
  • Your home’s equipment is older and you’re worried about breakdown due to wear & tear.

Do you own a home or condo in the Portland, Maine area? Have questions about equipment breakdown? Worried about big expenses from property damage? Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of Maine’s top property insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

Is Skunk Spray Covered by Insurance?

A Portland, Maine woman recently had an unwelcome guest. A skunk snuck into her home and sprayed 4 times inside before police could remove it. What a mess! The home and everything in it must be deodorized.

Does Home Insurance Cover Skunk Spray?

Will home insurance cover the cost to remove the smell? It depends on whether you bought “off the shelf” coverage or upgraded. It also depends whether your insurance company uses the latest edition of the coverage form (spoiler alert: in this case, the latest is NOT the best).

Skunk Spray Damage Coverage in Basic Homeowners Policies

The most common home insurance form is the ISO HO 00 03. Many Maine insurance companies use it. It’s tried and tested over decades. Insurance people call it “HO-3”.

Insurance Services Office (ISO) updates the form periodically. Each insurer decides which edition to use. In Maine, some insurers still use the 1991 version. Many use the 2000 edition. A few have adopted the 2011 edition.

Before the 2011 edition, “off the shelf” HO-3 policies covered skunk spray damage to buildings. Damage to contents was not covered by the basic policy.

The 2011 edition excludes “discharge or release of secretions by any animals”. Even building damage is no longer covered for skunk spray in the 2011 form.

Which Homeowners Policy Edition do You Have?

Your insurance policy should list coverage forms. The first two letters are the coverage type – “HO” for homeowners. The next four digits are the form number. Basic homeowners are 00 03. Condo policies are 00 06. Renters policies are 00 04. The final four digits are the month and year of the edition. For example, HO 00 03 05 11 is the 2011 edition of the basic homeowners policy.

Can You Buy Extra Insurance for Skunk Damage?

We recommend “open perils” coverage for contents. That covers skunk spray damage on the pre-2011 forms. Ask your agent if you’re eligible for that.

Unfortunately, we know of no way to add skunk spray coverage to the 2011 edition of the policy. The exclusion in the 2011 form denies coverage for skunk spray to both building or contents. You can’t buy it back. That stinks (sorry, we couldn’t help it).

What if a Skunk Sprayed My Vehicle?

You may have purchased “other than collision” coverage on your auto insurance policy. Some people call this “comprehensive” coverage. Most common auto insurance policies in Maine cover damage by animals. That includes skunk spray. So, if a skunk gets into your car and sprays, you probably have coverage. As long as you purchased “other than collision” coverage.

Action Items:

  • Check your property insurance policy’s coverage form and edition date
  • Ask your agent if you have “open perils” coverage. If not, get a quote to add it if you’re eligible.
  • If you’re on the 2011 homeowners form, ask your agent for a quote with a company that uses one of the older editions.

Do you live in the Portland Maine area? Have questions about home, condo, renters or auto insurance? Contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you. We offer a choice of many of Maine’s preferred insurance companies. One of them is likely a good fit for you.

How to Insure A Maine Home Owned by a Trust

Many home owners in Maine transfer some of their property to a living or  family trust.  Trusts can be a useful estate planning tool. Once they were used only by the wealthy. Today, people of all financial means place property in trusts.

Trusts are legal documents. Your attorney can explain if a trust is a good solution for you. They can also help you establish a trust.

Insuring Property in a Trust

How can you insure real estate owned by a trust? It depends on the use of the property. Is it your primary home? A vacation home? Does someone who’s not a trustee live in the home? Is the property owned by a family trust, and used by several relatives?

Each insurer has different requirements for trust-owned property. An experienced insurance agent can help you find the right insurance solution. Independent insurance agents offer a choice of several insurance companies.

Some insurance companies use special policy endorsements for trusts. Others simply add trusts as an “additional insured” on the policy.

Are you living in a trust-owned property in Southern Maine? Are you a trustee? If so, contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred property insurance companies. We’re independent and committed to you.

Don’t Be Left in the Dark – Safely Survive a Power Outage

by Kayla Bachelder, Concierge Agent, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance

Ahh, a stormy night at home. Nowhere to be. You’re on the couch with a nice cup of tea, wrapped in your favorite blanket, about to watch your favorite movie.

What’s that? Did the lights flick—oh no!  Power outage!

Silence. The dog growls in the sudden darkness. The cat springs from his favorite spot on the back of the couch, causing you to spill your hot tea everywhere. Complete chaos! How long will the power be out? What will go wrong before the lights come back on?

The Ultimate Defense: Generators

If you have an automatic generator, nothing changes. Critical heating and cooling systems and lights stay on. You continue to sip your tea, pet your cat and watch your favorite movie (some insurers offer a homeowners discount for automatic generators – ask your agent).

If you have a portable generator, it takes a few minutes to hook it up. Then you can power your most important appliances and lights. You may now carry on with your night.

Tips for portable generator owners:

  • Save instructions for properly setting up your generator. Don’t rely on your memory to do it safely.
  • Protect yourself from carbon monoxide. Never use a portable generator indoors. Keep portable generators away from windows.

For the Rest of Us

Be Prepared Before the Power Goes Out

Power outages can be unpredictable, and you never know how long your power may be out. Always be prepared.

  • Prune trees back from your house.  Even healthy tree limbs can succumb to wind or ice storms. Reduce the risk of damage or loss of electricity. Remove limbs that overhang your home, fences or driveway. 
  • Keep your chimney clean.  People who rarely use their fireplaces or wood stoves often postpone chimney cleaning. During ice storms, we’ve seen house fires caused by dirty chimneys. 
  • Always have plenty of fuel for your generator and any outdoor cooking appliances.
  • If you have an electric sump pump, consider installing a gravity activated backup.
  • Create an emergency blackout kit. Store it somewhere accessible. It won’t be helpful in the back of a closet, or out in the shed.

Emergency Blackout Kit Essentials:

  1. Basic first-aid supplies
  2. Flashlights (avoid using candles)
  3. Drinking water
  4. Extra batteries
  5. Emergency numbers & contacts (incase your cell battery dies)
  6. Backup supplies for your children and pets: diapers, food, etc.?
  7. Canned food is always good to keep on hand in case you can’t get to a store.

Preparing for a Regional Emergency

After a big storm or other regional emergency, power may be out for several days. Are you prepared?

When a Big Storm is Forecast

  • Freeze containers of water to help keep refrigerated food cold.
  • If your water comes from a well, fill your bathtub with water. This will allow you to flush toilets, etc.
  • If you rely on an electric sump pump to keep your basement dry, lift items off the floor.

When the Power Goes Out

  • Leave the refrigerator and freezer closed. A Full freezer will hold food safely for up to 48 hours. A refrigerator will keep food cold up to 4 hours. After that, in cold weather, store food outdoors, in coolers.
  • Turn off electric appliances that were on at the time. This can help avoid a power surge when the electricity comes back on.
  • In winter, open kitchen cabinets to allow the warmer air in the house to reach your water pipes. Pipes are often against cold outside walls. Those walls are even colder when the house has no heat or hot water running through the pipes.
  • If you don’t have a fireplace or wood stove, go elsewhere if the temperature drops too low. NEVER use a gas cook stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Use gas or charcoal grills or camping stoves outside – never indoors.
  • When driving, treat an inoperable traffic light like a four way stop.

When the Power Comes Back On

Check cooking equipment and other appliances to make sure they’re off.

Unsure if your food is still good? Toss it! Better to be safe than sorry. Make a list of the items you discard. Some homeowners insurance policies cover spoilage of refrigerated food. Contact your insurance agent to see if your policy does.

Answers to Your Insurance Questions

Do you live in Southern Maine? Have questions about insurance for frozen pipes or food spoilage? Concerned about water backing up into your basement? Call a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We’re independent and committed to you.

We offer a choice of Maine’s preferred home, condo and renters insurance companies. We can help you find the best insurance value and answer your questions.

Does Commercial Insurance Cover Portable Business Equipment?

Commercial insurance protects a company or business owner from losses to buildings or equipment necessary for the operations. However, many Maine businesses rely on portable equipment to operate. So, does commercial coverage offer protection for essential portable equipment when it’s off the premises?

Coverage for Portable Equipment

Commercial insurance covers equipment, inventory and supplies located on the premises of the covered location. However, this may not extend to things that leave the premises. If you bring property to job sites or customer locations, portable equipment insurance may be necessary to prevent gaps and losses.

Portable equipment coverage is sometimes called an Inland Marine Floater. This coverage will protect electronic equipment and other contractor related items required to perform daily work-related tasks. Before selecting additional insurance, speak with an agent about current and future needs, and find out what options are currently available to get a complete layer of protection.

Protect Your Equipment on Job Sites

Considering a purchase of portable equipment for your business? Talk to an agent from an insurance company who can outline what steps are necessary to get comprehensive coverage. Although some protection may be offered by standard commercial insurance, navigating portable insurance coverage may be necessary.

If your business is located in Southern Maine,  contact Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance in South Portland at 207-799-5541. We offer straightforward solutions from some of Maine’s top business insurance companies. That allows you to choose insurance that matches your business needs and provide you with peace of mind.

Getting the right combination of insurance to cover a business can be tricky. Don’t risk gaps and issues that could spell disaster. Consult with an agent from Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance to get the coverage necessary to protect a business in Portland, ME and throughout the state.