District by district across Washington and Oregon, school officials are determining how learning will look this academic year. Many schools will continue remote learning for an undetermined amount of time. Others are re-opening part or full time for in-person classes, with physical distancing measures in place. And, in light of all of this, some parents are considering home school.

No matter what your situation, if you have school aged kids you’re looking at some significant changes in your routines this year. Here are a few tips:

  1. If you can look at your situation as a shared challenge, your child will too.
  2. Establish a quiet place for work and study for each child, if possible.
  3. Find a routine that works for your family and stick with it.
  4. Check in with teachers often and utilize available school resources.
  5. Vary activities and plan breaks… and SNACKS!
  6. Network with other parents where possible – Some parents have Facebook groups for the school so parents can interact.
  7. Reach out for help if you’re having trouble with any of the necessary requirements for your child’s success.

Don’t forget local resources either, like your public library, Parks & Recreation Department, and book & game stores.

 

Today there are peppers here at JPI, waiting for someone to take them home. One of our co-workers is sharing her surplus and they’re beautiful! Last week our fearless leader, Joe Peterson, graciously shared tomatoes and cucumbers from his own garden with all of us. Some squash showed up a while back, too… and I’m not even sure where those came from.

Late summer is always like that, but it seems the lockdown resulted in a bumper crop this year. A lot of people who don’t normally have gardens started one this year, including me.

I love it that we’re seeing a revival of the “Victory Garden.” I mean, we’re not technically in a war, but reflection has really made people more deliberately about finding joy in simple things, and many strive to be more self-sufficient by producing food. And frankly, a lot of us just got bored.

As the Marketing Coordinator for JPI Insurance Solutions, I latched onto this as a theme for some of our newsletter and social media content. As it turns out, people love to brag about their harvests! Several readers sent pics of fresh, beautiful veggies straight out of their gardens. That means people are actually reading my stuff, something I already count as a win, but seriously… this is just a cool trend. I hear urban chickens are making a comeback, too!

It reminds me of a time back in the 70s, when my folks decided to be more self-sufficient.

They bought five acres and populated it with horses, cows, goats, pigs, geese, ducks, and chickens and for years, I lived on our little hobby farm. My mom was proud of all she accomplished back then and why not be? She came from a more urban environment, so she had a lot to learn at first. After a few years, though, she could say that almost everything on the dinner table came from our farm; from the vegetables, to the butter and milk, to the beef, pork or chicken.

I was one of those kids whose hamburger always had a name.

Anyway, I’m happy to say this spring I finally started the container gardens I’d been thinking about for a year or more, and growing stuff has given me a great deal of comfort and joy this spring and summer. Most of my containers are ornamental, but I did put in potatoes and a few herbs. It’s late August as I’m writing this article and I can’t wait until I can harvest my potatoes. Aside from being my favorite food on the planet, potatoes are infinitely versatile… The Irish could feed an entire family with just a small plot planted in potatoes.

Someone recently pointed out, all I’m really missing is eggs and voila! Breakfast! Urban chickens, anyone?

Once again, JPI is teaming up with S.H.A.K.E. and Communities in Schools to collect school supplies. While the school year may look a little different this next year, kids will still need the usual stuff. Here’s a list of items in high demand:

• Highlighters
• Scientific calculators
• Mechanical pencils
• Composition Notebooks
• Colored pencils
• Markers
• Sharpies
• Pocket folders
• Crayons
• Index Cards
• Kleenex (personal size)
• Hand Sanitizer (personal size)
• Backpacks for Middle and High School Kids
• Post-It Notes
• Ear buds – Gender neutral preferred
• USB drives

Call your local JPI office to make an appointment for the contact-free drop off of supplies, or text to donate directly to Communities in School.

Text BUS TO #41444

Do You NEED a Household Inventory?

Do you want the long answer or the short answer? The short answer is, “yes.”

And there are lots of good times to work on your household inventory… In the spring when you’re cleaning and organizing, when you’re moving or re-modeling, whenever you make large purchases, or when you’re doing your annual insurance policy review.

You know when is NOT a good time to create a household inventory? After you’ve had a loss. You’re already in the middle of a tough situation. So now you’ve got this to figure out, too, and it could delay your claim.

Trust me… I’m speaking from experience. I had a house fire and had to spend agonizing hours writing down all the things I knew I’d lost. It was horrible.

If you don’t already have a household inventory, at least you’re in good company. Most people don’t.

We’re bringing this up because as your independent insurance agent, we want you to get the most out of your coverage. So, here’s our simple three-step plan to get you on your way from having this chore on your list of things to do, to getting it DONE:

1. Video Inventory: Bite the bullet. Set aside a weekend afternoon or a free evening and video your possessions. Do it all at once or just a room or closet at a time, narrating as you go. Be sure to include storage areas and keep at it until you’ve gotten to everything.

2. When You Buy: When you make major purchases, save your receipt. Start a file, hardcopy and/or electronic and include make and model information or snap a picture of the serial number.

3. Don’t LOSE It: You’ve taken the time to create your household inventory. Now just put it in a safe place. It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway… Keep it somewhere NOT in your house.

Once you’ve completed your household inventory, treat yourself. Hey, you adulted! And don’t forget to check in with your insurance agent once a year for an annual policy review. Your up-to-date household inventory will be your guide to making sure you always have the coverage that makes the best sense for YOU.

Part I: Home Values, Purchase Prices, and Getting a Loan

Recently, we reached out to several of our friends in real estate and lending for their feedback on the current state of the world, especially as it pertains to buying and selling real estate in the Northwest post Covid-19. “Home Values, Purchases Prices, and Getting a Loan” is the first in a series of four articles resulting from the feedback we received.

We asked the following questions, “How have home values and purchase prices been affected by the Pandemic, ensuing unemployment and government shutdown?” and “Is it harder to get a loan to purchase a home during this pandemic?” Here’s what our friends had to say.

Home Values/Purchase Prices – Washington
Jeremy Asmus of the Kenmore Team in Kennewick, Washington noted “the uptick in the market we expect to see in the spring has been delayed, but home prices are holding steady.” Shawn Flinders with Evergreen Home Loans in Kennewick felt it may be too soon to tell what the impact will be, but said, “In Eastern WA there is a shortage of available inventory which should help keep home prices relatively stable.” However, “Further stay-at-home orders have the potential to dramatically change this,” he added.

Home Values/Purchase Prices – Oregon
Our friend Chris Stewart with Windemere Pacific West Properties in Salem, Oregon had this to say about the market there, “At this time values have not been impacted. We are seeing buyers and sellers who are concerned about their employment status put off buying and selling until they feel more comfortable, but that is a very small percentage of what we are experiencing. There are more buyers in the market than sellers which keeps upward pressure on home pricing.”

Getting a Loan – Washington/Oregon
On questions regarding loans, Eric Culverhouse of Retter & Company in Kennewick, Washington answered, “We have not noticed issues with lending other than a few delays and back log with appraisers due to the continued record low interest rates, compounded with the refinance market.” Dr. Kay Lehman of Realtor Kay, LLC however, felt it’s currently harder to get a loan because, while the underlying qualifications from FHA, Fannie Mae etc. have not changed, some lenders have raised their in-house qualifications. She adds, “Today it is more important than ever to shop around and ask questions of lenders.” Finally, Chris Stewart of Windermere Pacific West Properties reported little to no impact on getting a loan in his market in Oregon. “In fact, we’ve seen interest reductions which created an activity of refinancing and more buyers in the market.”

In summary, as Eric Culver of Retter & Company noted, “The housing market has long been one of the primary cornerstones of our economy” and “will be a significant factor assisting the economy and livelihoods of our nation.” And here at JPI, we love Dave Ramsey… So, for a nationwide perspective, here’s what Dave has to say. Check out his article, Can I Buy or Sell a Home in 2020?

Home

Follow our four-part series on buying and selling real estate when we talk more about the availability of housing for the remainder of 2020 and offer some advice to buyers and sellers for the coming months.

 

We want to let you in on a “Big Secret.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, your business has been impacted in many ways you may not realize. “Essential” and “Non-essential” alike, we are in a new frontier and scrambling to keep our livelihoods moving forward.

When looking through the lens of risk management through insurance, I see 2 major things you can do today to impact your bottom line.

RETURN OF PREMIUM

First, I’ll let you in on a “big secret” you may not have been informed of. “Return Of Premium!”

While the home & auto insurance companies have been “tooting their horn” about return of premium to their clients, we haven’t heard much from the commercial insurance industry. If your business has been impacted by a mandatory shut down, call your agent and ask if you can get a “Return Of Premium.”

One major example is the hospitality industry – their general liability and liquor liability is rated off their annual sales. The business owner takes an educated guess as to what their sales will be for the year prior to starting the policy, and then pay that premium.

In the case of COVID-19, where they were forced to shut their doors for months, they likely overpaid in premium. Considering insurance companies are denying business income claims, the vast majority are offering a return on their premium, giving the customers a break on the cost of insurance since sales have been greatly impacted.

It may require a P&L, showing sales volumes prior to the shutdown, or adjusting what the sales should have been for the year, and giving a return based on the lower numbers.

Either way, if your business has been shut down due to COVID-19, call your agent today and ask what your insurance carrier is willing to do!

CYBER LIABILITY

Second, computer hackers are seizing on the pandemic. Twitter announced all their staff are working remote and may end up working remote indefinitely.

Are you confident your remote workers are as secure as they would be in your workplace?
Hackers see this vulnerability and the amount of cyber attacks have increased significantly.

What can you do?

A first-line defense is working with a seasoned IT company. If something does get through and takes down your computer system, do you have the cash on hand to be able to weather the storm? The costs associated with ransomware, restoring data, notifying all clients by mail – even the cost to provide credit monitoring services – can quickly run into 6-Figures.

How would that cost impact your operations? A comprehensive cyber liability policy is an equitable solution to protect your bottom line!

No doubt, this virus thing has given each of us an underlying level of stress, whether we’re willing to admit it or not. But the question is, where do you find yourself today – waiting for it to change, or doing what you can to make a lasting difference for your loved ones, friends, co-workers, and community?

JPI Insurance Solutions feels a big responsibility to pay-it-forward in this time. We’ve helped organize various efforts to support local business owners, non-profits, and the people fighting on the front lines of this virus.

And we are so proud of our agents for their part in our efforts! During the month of April, they personally checked in on over 700 of our clients. And who knew we had a whole crew of sewing ninjas?! Together, they were able to source materials for, make, and donate over 250 hand-made masks to those on the front lines, including Kadlec & Tri-Cities Cancer Center!

We’ve continued to pay staff with ninja sewing skills to make masks as needed and have handed them out to our friends at local restaurants. In May, we plan to continue to support other businesses and nonprofits, have some fun, and in general try to get through these times as best we can.

So, our challenge to YOU is this… Be the leader with every person you can influence. Look for the helpers, be one of them, and make a positive impact whenever and however possible. As we get through these times, we will come out stronger and more resilient than ever before!

-Jon Patterson, JPI Insurance Solutions

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” – John Maxell

No doubt, this virus has given each of us an underlying level of stress, whether we admit it or not. But the questions is, where do you find yourself today – complaining about it or expecting it to change, or doing what you can to make a lasting difference for your children, spouse, loved ones, friends and co-workers?

JPI Insurance Solutions feels a big responsibility to pay-it-forward in this time. We’ve helped organize various efforts to support local business owners, non-profits, and the people fighting on the front lines of this virus.

Save The Tri-Cities & Tri-City Strong are two ways you can step up and be a leader in our community.

Save The Tri-Cities is a group of individuals that care about the local restaurant and retail business owners and have created a way to quickly and safely get capital into their hands. Please take a few moments to check out www.spottedfoxdeals.com today. Consider supporting one or more of the member businesses by purchasing coupons and pick up a T-Shirt while you’re there – All profits go to the business owners!

Tri-City Strong is led by local non-profit Gesa Carousel of Dreams, and is actively raising money for our hardest hit non-profits. You can go to https://tricitystrong.com/ or visit their Facebook page at TricityStrong to learn more. All proceeds go directly to the non-profits! Please consider giving today!

Finally, JPI has been able to source materials for, and make and donate over 250 hand-made masks to those on the front lines including Kadlec & Tri-Cities Cancer Center. We’re continuing to pay staff with ninja sewing skills to make masks as needed.

So, our challenge to YOU is to be the leader with every person you can influence. As we get through these times, we will come out stronger and more resilient than ever before!

#SaveTheTricities #TricityStrong

-Jon Patterson, JPI Insurance Solutions

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” – John Maxell

Support Local Tee

Your purchase helps member businesses recoup the cost of redeemed coupons.

From the moment we realized this year’s flu was different, Tri-Cities businesses took a series of hits. It started with an initial slowdown, and for some proceeded very quickly to a complete shutdown. Local business owners have struggled incrementally with each new barrier to delivering their goods and services just to survive. Now we all must adjust to what is being called “the new normal.”

As your insurance agent, JPI has been at the epicenter of all this. Our hearts go out to each and every one of you. And we mean, EVERY business owner… not just our clients.

We are proud of our own Jon Patterson, who has worked tirelessly since the onset of this outbreak to help assure the survival of local businesses. He’s been working with Nathan Robertson of Spotted Fox, and together they cooked up this idea to bring relief to the business community hurting from the shutdown.

It’s simple. Just go to http://www.spottedfoxdeals.com. Spend $25, and get a $50 certificate to use in July or later! And Spotted Fox Deals gives ALL profits to our local businesses! In addition, there’s a limited edition “Save The Tri-Cities” T-Shirt for $25. Again, all profits go to member businesses to help offset the discounted coupons!

Jon Patterson says, “I’m sure many of you spend more than $100 in a month at our retail businesses, so I challenge you to support 4 different businesses today if you can afford it!” It’s a win-win-win program! Business owners get a quick influx of cash, you get a great deal. And it’s all done safely, from the comfort of your own home!

This effort raised over $5000 in the first day and continues into April.

Protect yourself and your assets with an umbrella policy.

 

Do YOU have enough liability coverage? By Tina Hernandez

You don’t have to be rich to be sued! The importance of having enough Liability insurance is essential.

We all want to save money on our auto insurance but are we really saving when we don’t have sufficient coverage? Not knowing the risks can be devastating and cost you way more in the long run.

So, what happens if your teenager is out driving on a rainy evening & pulls out in front of a brand new Mercedes totaling it and injuring the driver and their passenger? You purchased the minimum liability limits 25/50/25.
25,000 per person, 25,000 for property damage and a total of 50,000 per claim. That brand new Mercedes alone is well worth over 25,000, the injuries, loss of work, attorney fees ect. Where is the balance owed coming from?

It will have to come from you. Savings account, garnished wages, have to sell your home, cars and any other personal belongings that have value. Bankruptcy? This will become very stressful and financially exhausting.

I urge you to have this discussion with your Insurance Agent/Advisor when you purchase the policy and annually after, things change. Assets, drivers etc.

How much is enough? Do I need an Umbrella policy? What is an Umbrella policy?

An Umbrella policy is an additional policy/extra protection and peace of mind is how I like to think about it. It pays out after the limits of your liability has been exhausted. You can choose different amounts. The most common amount that I see is 1 million but I have also seen some out there for 5 million. The amount depends on your unique needs. Have that discussion with your advisor to avoid gaps in coverage and very expensive law suits.