RSS Feed

Financial Fitness Blog

Summer Safety Series: Grill safety tips

 Permanent link

 Mark Dannehl Last week, as part of our Summer Safety Series, we posted information on how to spot a distressed swimmer and prevent drowning. This week we are talking grill safety.

Grilling is one of the most popular ways to cook food. A grill can easily become a fire hazard if proper precautions are not taken, or simple mistakes are made while it’s in use. June and July are peak months for grill fires. Reduce your risk by following these simple tips:

  • Be sure to place your grill away from your home, deck railings, and far enough away from eaves and overhanging branches. 
  • Always use your grill outdoors and keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep you grill clean and remove grease or fat buildup from the grill grates and trays below the grill to reduce flare-ups and possible fires.

 Charcoal grills

  • If you’re using a charcoal grill, only use charcoal starter fluid, and never add charcoal fluid or other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Be sure to let to coals in your charcoal grill cool completely before disposing in a metal container.

If you are using a propane grill

  • Check the gas tank and hose for leaks by applying a light soap and water solution. A leak will release bubbles.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill immediately and call the fire department. Don’t move the grill.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before re-lighting. Gas buildup can easily become an explosive fireball.

Looking for more safety tips? The National Fire Protection Association has a handy infographic and other information on their Web site

>>  Up next: Safety tips for 4th of July fun.

Mark Dannehl, Personal Insurance Consultant

Improve your fiscal fitness this summer!

(Money Management) Permanent link

N'Kenza WhitlowDon’t forget to register for one of our FREE Let’s Get Fi$cal! Financial Fitness Fairs taking place throughout Wisconsin from June 18 through August 13.

Attend sessions or visit with experts about employee benefits, retirement savings, and personal insurance and other finance related topics. (You’ll be able to see the available choices in the registration form.) Plus, attendees will be entered in a drawing to win a Kindle Fire and attendees who pre-register online will also have a chance to win a $50 gift card.

An open house format will allow you to pick and choose which sessions to attend based on your personal needs. Available sessions include:

  • Understanding Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Insurance 101
  • Get on Track to Financial Security
  • Investment Basics: Get Growing
  • Understanding WRS 101

Register online today and strengthen your financial health!

>>More information

>>Seminar calendar and registration

N’Kenza Whitlow, Retirement Savings Consultant

Seminars are free to attend; however, if you choose to invest in the WEA Tax Sheltered Annuity or WEAC IRA program, fees will apply. Consider all expenses before investing. Long-term care (LTC) insurance products are underwritten by multiple LTC insurers.

The skinny on public insurance adjusters

(Insurance) Permanent link

Steve SchofieldFiling a claim for a large insurance loss can cost you a lot of time and energy, so some people decide to hire a public insurance adjuster to help negotiate with their insurance company on their behalf. On its face, working with a public insurance adjuster sounds like it might be a good idea, but buyer beware. If you find yourself in a situation that you feel may be better handled by a third party, there are a few things you should know before hiring a public insurance adjuster.

What is an insurance adjuster?

An insurance adjuster is the person who evaluates losses and settles policyholder claims. Typically, they are either employed solely by the insurance company or they are independent professionals under contract with one or more insurance companies. Public insurance adjusters are hired by and work only for the consumer or homeowner.

An unregulated risk

Wisconsin is one of only a handful of states that does not require public insurance adjusters to be licensed. This creates a host of problems for uninformed consumers.

People tend to hire a public insurance adjuster after they’ve experienced a large or catastrophic homeowners loss. Sometimes public insurance adjusters troll for claims—they call you out of the blue or come wandering through the neighborhood after a damaging storm. The sales pitch often includes a promise to get you a bigger settlement, they’ll settle your claim faster, take care of all the paperwork, and negotiate with the insurance company and contractors on your behalf.

Things to consider before hiring a public insurance adjuster:


  • Carefully read and understand the terms and obligations in the contract—sometimes these contracts can be difficult to cancel without penalty or obligation after you’ve signed.
  • Look out for public insurance adjusters who also work as contractors, or insist on using a specific contractor, this can be a conflict of interest.
  • Pay attention to who will receive the payment from the insurance company. Some public insurance adjusters will include a provision in the contract that requires the insurance check to be made out to them.
  • Know your home insurance policy—what’s covered and what’s not—to avoid any surprises down the road.
  • Do your due diligence to make sure you are working with someone who has your best interest in mind.

Call us

If your insurance is through WEA Trust Member Benefits and you experience a major claim, be sure to call us first before hiring a public insurance adjuster. We will help you sort out the details and handle your claim fairly, accurately, and promptly, or we’ll refund up to $250 of your deductible—it’s our claim service guarantee. Call 1-800-279-4010.

Steve Schofield, Personal Insurance Consultant

Custom car parts may not be covered on auto insurance policy

(Insurance) Permanent link

Tim GanoungAttention automobile enthusiasts! Whether it’s high-end stereo equipment, rear spoilers, a custom paint job, hub caps, or handicap customization, be aware that if it wasn’t installed by the manufacturer, it probably isn’t covered by your standard auto insurance policy.

This means that there will be no coverage for these items if they are stolen or damaged in an accident. Your standard policy will generally pay the costs for standard manufacturer parts but not the custom equipment. Because these add-ons can represent a big investment, you may want to consider adding coverage to your auto policy. This is especially true for conversion vans or handicap customizations that could represent a significant financial burden in the event of an accident.

If you have a policy with Member Benefits and own a pickup or van, your policy includes an additional $200 of coverage for custom equipment at no charge provided you have comprehensive or collision coverage. You can purchase additional coverage—from $1,000 to $30,000—for custom equipment (amounts over $30,000 with underwriters approval) to reduce the out-of-pocket costs you may incur should you experience a loss. Deductibles apply.

Questions? Call at 1-800-279-4010.

Tim Ganoung, Personal Insurance Consultant

Property and casualty insurance programs are underwritten by WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company. The terms and conditions of your coverage are exclusively controlled by your written policy. Please refer to your policy for details. Certain policy exclusions and limitations may apply.