MII Agency Update

As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of our employees, their families and community are important to us. Therefore most of our employees are working remotely, but we want to assure you, you will still receive the exceptional service you are used to and deserve. We ask that you call our employees at their direct lines and not stop in as we have made the decision to do our part in social distancing and close our lobby. We can still help you make a payment over the phone or you do have the option to call directly to the insurance carrier to make payments. If you have changes or questions about your coverage please give our agency a call and you will be directed to a customer service representative to help you or call your customer service representative directly by using their direct number. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

MEDICARE MAZE

Whether this is your first time applying for coverage, or you’re looking to make changes on existing coverage, it can be a difficult maze of information to go through.

  • For new timers enrolling in Medicare, whether 65 or older, there are enrollment periods to consider, and trying to decide on going with a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan. To help you with this, our Agency conducts Medicare Made Clear educational meetings once a month, from March through August, to help those who are applying for the first time. You can learn about your Medicare choices and we’ll share tools and resources to help you understand what coverage may be right for you.
  • For those looking to make changes, from a Supplement plan to an Advantage plan or from one Advantage plan to another Advantage plan, you have more enrollment periods and coverage changes to consider.   For current Advantage plan members watch for your “Annual Notice of Change” booklet, that comes to you every September, right before the Annual Enrollment Period of Oct. 15 – Dec. 7th. This booklet shows you what plan changes have been made for the coming year and whether or not you should consider looking at other options.

Let us help you get through the Medicare Maze.

Storm Chasers

Your home just suffered damage at the hands of a storm. Whether it is from hail, a tornado, high winds, or another form of weather, you need to be prepared for what comes after the storm passes. It is becoming more and more common for storm-chasing contractors to show up at your front door looking to scam you with the promise of quick work and low costs. Don’t take the bait and end up on the raw side of a bad deal like many homeowners. Before signing anything, you should take some time to educate yourself. Here are some tips to get you started.

Report storm damage to your insurance company. It is important to promptly notify your insurance company of damage that will result in a claim. Keeping them in the loop early can help with processing your claim and getting you back on your feet quickly.

Get multiple bids. While it might seem convenient to have the contractor come to your door with a sweetheart deal, it isn’t reality. Don’t agree to the offered terms until you’ve obtained a few bids and can compare.

Do your research. Make sure a reputable company will be working on your home. Working with a local contractor can make this easier. A quick and easy search with the Better Business Bureau can give you insight into how the company is run and what others might have to say about their work. Be wary of a contractor saying he is through the government or FEMA.

Get references. Have them prove their quality of work with customer reviews or referrals. A company shouldn’t feel put out by such a request and hesitation on their part could be a sign that their work isn’t high quality.

Ask to see their license. Be sure they are who they say they are. If they are licensed or certified to do the work, they should have no problem proving it.

Make sure they’re insured. A contractor should have insurance to cover themselves and their workers while on your property. Be sure they have coverage to avoid having any work-related injury claims made against your homeowners insurance.

Know what your homeowners policy says. Make sure you understand what your policy does and does not cover to avoid being talked into repairs that aren’t needed and aren’t covered. Also, reasonable expenses resulting from your efforts to protect your property from further damage may be covered.

Never pay for work upfront. Avoid paying with cash and don’t pay for the whole project all at once. Cash does not leave a paper trail in the event the contractor does not perform the work as promised.

Remember, not all contractors who come to your door are scammers, but you should be cautious. Do your research, get things in writing, and don’t sign a contract until you are comfortable.

Information provided by Addie B homeowners specialist and product development at Acuity. Acuity is one of our carriers providing homeowners insurance.

Looking into the life of Amy Kriener

When I was asked to write a “personal” blog for our website, I found myself bumping up against resistance…big time! I heard myself saying things like, “I’m not interesting”….” I have nothing to share”? So I started jotting down things that tug at my heart strings, my personal interests and what lies ahead for me.

For anyone who knows me, they know that I LOVE my kids and grandkids. While that’s a pretty common statement for most, in our situation it always comes with layers of complexity. You see, my husband and I moved to the Burlington area almost 40 years ago; I guess you could say we’re transplants of sorts. With no family close by, it was always a big deal and special when we went to visit the grandparents and family. I guess history does repeat itself. Our children don’t live close by either so we make a lot of trips to see them. It’s always a fun time, with many special outings being planned so we make the most out of every moment spent together. We have two beautiful daughters, two fun loving sons-in-law, and 4 adorable grandchildren ranging from7-12 years of age. Their lives are pretty hectic, so it’s easier for us to go to them….in most cases. While our youngest daughter lives in Waunakee WI, our oldest daughter lives much farther away, in Tasmania Australia! Yep you can’t get much farther away than that (maybe Antarctica). So you see pre-planning for spending family time is a must. There’s never a dull moment when we all get together to catch up, which is something that definitely tugs at my heart strings often.

My personal interests include my friends, who we are blessed to have an abundance of; yoga, which strengthens and grounds me; reading, traveling, and enjoying my husbands’ cooking! My husband is an awesome cook, and I’m happy to say that he prepares the majority of our meals. I’m definitely spoiled!!!! And of course, along with that cooking I tend to enjoy a glass of wine…or two.

In addition to my Office Manager duties at Mangold Insurance, I enjoy working with individuals who are preparing for retirement. I help them understand the options available to them when entering the world of Medicare. This has been a very rewarding experience for me because I can relate to where they are at this point in their lives, and I can honestly say that it has helped me as much as I have helped them. It is immensely rewarding to support people’s transition into this exciting stage of their lives. I am looking forward to my own retirement in a few years, and with that there will definitely be more traveling, family, yoga, food and wine ahead of me!

Making It Official

It’s almost that time of year again, wedding season, a time to get dressed up, reminisce with old friends, celebrate the union of a couple, take over the dance floor, and perhaps partake in a few adult beverages. This year is stacking up to be another busy one as I will be a best man in 2 weddings this year, a groomsman in another, and attend several others. I guess it’s safe to say that it is inevitable at my age. At this point in my life I have performed almost all the roles in a wedding. I have been the groom, the best man, a groomsman, an usher, a reader, and even a bridesmaid, but until last year I had never had the chance to be an officiant.

Last year I had the distinct honor of being asked to officiate the wedding of two of my good friends. After the excitement of being asked had worn off, I quickly realized I had no idea what being an officiant of a wedding entailed, so I turned to the one place that has all the answers, google. I was surprised at how easily one can become an ordained minister, and quickly finished my requirements. From there I spent some time with the couple to figure out how they wanted the service to flow and to gather content for a message.

Now, public speaking has always been something that I enjoy, but something about this was different. As I sat down to put pen to paper, I truly started to feel the weight of the day. I honestly spent weeks putting together the ceremony. I went through dozens of drafts, often just changing a word or two, to try to get it just right.

It would all pay off in the end, to see the smiles and tears of the bride and groom was truly special. If you ever get the opportunity to officiate a wedding I would highly recommend it. It may be stressful leading up to the wedding, but it is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. It was an honor to do, and something I will never forget.

Where Is The Pause Button?

To say my life is busy at this time of year is an understatement. For instance, it’s probably the norm for most people living through this time of year with kids involved in just about everything.

From the start of November to the end of March I’m not sure there is a day or night of the week that I don’t find myself in a gymnasium somewhere in Southeastern Wisconsin. I have 3 kids and they all play travel basketball. Between practices & games I usually find myself in more than one gym a day at some point. Here is a quick look at my schedule….

Claire (15) – 21 scheduled varsity basketball games plus practice every day. In addition she has 2 practices a week for travel volleyball out of town. (We are still her taxi this year.)
Kane (13) – 10 Karcher Middle School basketball games & practice every weekday, 36 Jr. Demon Basketball Club games on weekends with 2-3 practices a week & Confirmation 1 night a week.
Cole (9) – 34 scheduled Jr. Demon Basketball Club games on weekends & 2-4 practices a week.

My coworkers a lot of times will ask me what I have going on tonight or over the weekend and I’m pretty sure the answer is always the same. “I will be chasing my kids around from gym to gym and when I get time I will watch the Badgers or Packers on DVR”.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago the time in my life when I could pause for 3-4 hours and sit down and watch a whole Packer or Badger game without interruption. Those “pause” moments are few and far between now days but I’m not complaining. Before I know it I’m going to be wishing I had a “rewind” button so that I could go back and enjoy all the fun and exciting times my 3 kids have brought into my life.

Life is busy for all of us in different ways at this time of year. I just hope we can all find the time to hit the “Pause Button” for just a little while and remind ourselves to enjoy the present. Before we know it, it will be the past.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

The Rut

Yes it is that time of year again. As the rut begins and Mother Nature takes on a cooler attitude, November can be a high time for comprehensive claims due to deer hits.

Early morning and early evening are feeding times and mating times for our antler friends. As daylight savings time falls back an hour we will see shorter days and more deer activity.

These are some basic guidelines to follow to help keep you safe and your cars in once piece:
• Blow your horn, if you spot a deer standing on roadside slow down and blow horn. They can pinpoint sounds with their pivoting ears and can hear where “danger” is. Be cautious since you don’t know what direction they will take.
• A doe will usually be followed by a couple bucks in line. So don’t assume that’s the only deer. Drive slowly and be prepared to stop.
• Be careful not to swerve into the oncoming lane. Sometimes collision is unavoidable but the reaction of swerving and shifting lanes can make the situation worse and more hazardous hitting a barrier or another car head on. This could take a comprehensive loss to a collision loss level by colliding with another car or object. This might be fatal.
• Deer in general see very well in low light your headlights can cause the “freeze effect” or night blindness so proceed with caution when deer are on side or in the road. It is suggested that you use your high beams in dark or low light situations such as rural roads to spot deer however; the high beams left on can leave them frozen in place.
• Be aware of Deer Crossing signs these are placed on heavy deer traffic areas.

Deer hits can happen year round; however, bucks during the rut are less cautious than usual. Let’s all be cautious and enjoy this great fall weather!!

Per Wisconsin DNR website: The Average Breeding Date for Wisconsin is November 15th to the 17th. If does are not successfully bred in first cycle, they will generally come into heat again about 28 days later. A common misconception among hunters is cold weather causes the rut.

LIFE INSURANCE AWARENESS MONTH

One position I held in the early years of my insurance career was processing death claims.  I remember feeling sad processing those claims, especially the claims that came across my desk that occurred from an accident.  Accidents happen at all ages. I didn’t understand at that time how important it was for those families to have life insurance. How the death benefit I was processing could save a family from financial hardship.  It wasn’t until I started selling life insurance I had come full circle to those claim paying days.  Now that I am a life insurance agent, I know how important it is to relay the message “Life insurance isn’t for you, it’s for your loved ones you leave behind”.

September is Life Awareness Month.  In the Life Insurance industry this is a big deal.  It’s the one month that agents really try to bring to everyone’s attention how important having life insurance is.  So my question to you is this: Do you have life insurance?  If not, what kind of financial situation will you leave behind for your family to deal with?

Call me and let me help you find the right policy for your family.

Green Bay Packers; A family affair

 

The beginning of August signals only one thing in my brain, the start of another Green Bay Packers football season. Now don’t get me wrong, I played football in high school and I love to cheer on the Badgers football team as much as the next guy, but with all due respect to my wife, the Green Bay Packers were my first love and that is where my excitement lies this time of year.  There is something truly special about the love the packers fans have towards their team.  It’s generational, something that is passed on from parents to kids and to their kids from there.

Growing up I didn’t realize just how special it was until we moved down to Iowa. Dad and I never missed a game, but it got more difficult when we moved and not every game was on TV.  I still vividly remember driving out into the country with my dad until we could pick up Milwaukee AM radio to listen to the games.  These are special memories that I will never forget.  Antonio Freeman’s incredible catch against the Vikings to win in Overtime on Monday Night Football is etched in my memory forever.  Even if it happened two hours past my bedtime there was no way I was going to miss it.

Even when I went off to college, dad and I never really missed a game. We always texted each other commentary throughout the game and would call each other at halftime to vent our frustrations with a play call, dropped pass, or poor clock management.  Even today, with a family of my own, I still make sure to talk to dad during every game.

So what makes the Packers so special?  I would say its family.  It is an event that brings everyone together for 16 Sundays a year, and hopefully 19.  It’s a love I learned from my father and a love I can’t wait to teach to my own kids someday, because love of the Packers is a family affair.

Emergency Numbers for Racine, Kenosha and Walworth Counties Flood Victims

 

 

If you or anyone you know is facing an emergency, call 911.

Racine County residents can dial 211 or toll free at 866-211-3380 to report flood damage or information.

Kenosha County residents can call 262-605-7924 or email disaster@kenoshacounty.org for assistance, or click here for more information.

Walworth County residents can call 262-741-7700 for assistance.

We Energies has advised extreme caution in flooded basements, and are asking customers whose homes are flooded to call 800-662-4797 to disconnect power and natural gas service. Their website also has information on outage safety. To view that information, click here.

For county-by-county contact information, click here.