Friday, December 11, 2015

Flood Map Changes- Now Is The Time To Act!!!

If you live in Clive and are affected by the recent flood map changes, then you should call Absolute Insurance at 515-279-2722 to help you understand your situation. If you'd prefer to read, then below is information for your consideration, and then call Absolute Insurance at 515-279-2722. There is also helpful information at the official site of the National Flood Insurance Program.

Last Saturday, the City of Clive hosted an event at the Indian Hills Middle School auditorium to help address questions relating to flood map changes that have been completed by FEMA. There were FEMA representative on hand as well as city council members, the mayor, and representatives of our federally elected officials of Congressman Young and Congresswoman Joni Ernest plus Senator Chuck Grassley.

Absolute Insurance sent a representative (Dan Bell) to attend this meeting as well to better understand the changes that are forthcoming and to better assist clients and homeowners that are affected.

The mapping changes have changed the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for the area surrounding the Walnut Creek Watershed area which includes hundreds of homes and business in the Clive area. However, 2/3's of the entire state of Iowa have had remapping conducted as well meaning the impact of these changes will be widespread. With that said though, Clive and other areas of Polk county will begin the implementation of these changes with initial procedures beginning January 2016 and with a anticipated date of January 2017 for the maps to become effective.

The purpose of this meeting was to help homeowners understand that a flood risk is present and has increased since the last mapping that was at least 20 years ago. With that, the meeting was held to also help homeowners understand flood insurance and how they could purchase it and the impact it would have on a "going-forward" basis.

There are essentially 3 different situations that have occurred from the remapping:

  1. Homeowner is currently in the high-risk flood zone of A or AE and currently has a flood insurance requirement if there is a loan with federal backing. These homeowners will not experience anything new from this change (other laws may impact them with regards to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and in conjunction with the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014).
  2. Homeowner was previously in the high-risk flood zone of A or AE and had a Letter Of Map Amendment (LOMA) done through the use of a hired engineer or land surveyor that has demonstrated to FEMA that the the Lowest Adjacent Grade (LAG) of the property (as defined by FEMA based on the structure characteristics) is above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE). This would have removed the property from flood insurance requirements on the previous maps. This homeowner that has a LOMA should contact the City to see what the new BFE is per the new maps to see if their LAG is still above BFE. If so, then they will NOT be required to purchase flood insurance. However, if the LAG is now below or at BFE, then this homeowner will now be required to purchase flood insurance for federally backed loans.
  3. Homeowner was previously in the low risk zone of X and will now be in the high risk zone of A or AE. This homeowner will now be required to purchase flood insurance should they have or need to secure a federally backed loan.
This Is Your Call To Action: Here is what YOU can do to help mitigate the cost of the newly required flood insurance for federally backed loans:
  • Should the homeowner be either the 2nd type with a LAG either at or below BFE or being mapped into the A or AE zone, there are things that be accomplished now to help with rates:They can purchase the coverage at the current low risk zone (X) in the Preferred Flood Insurance Program at a very reasonable cost and keep that rate for 1 year after the inception of the new flood maps. 
  • After the expiration of that renewal, the insured will then keep the X zone classification but be moved from the Preferred Flood Insurance Program to the Standard Program. These rates will be capped at a maximum of 18% increases per year until the policy reaches the fully earned rate of "X" in the Standard Program. These rates will be considerably less than the alternative of having to purchase flood insurance at the A or AE zones in the Standard Program.

From what was disclosed at the meeting, these maps will take effect on January 1st 2017 with a few exceptions being made through an appeals process. However, if you are a homeowner that is being adversely affected by these changes, NOW is the time to act. Contact Absolute Insurance at 515-279-2722 or go to for further information.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Turn Around; Don't Drown

Last week was about as wet and wild of a week as we can handle. In particular, Wednesday night was rather insane. It is not all that common to get over 7 inches of rain in a single night, but for many areas of central Iowa, this and more happened.

The pictures for this article are actually directly in front of our office. Luckily, we suffered no damage but others were not so lucky. In fact, while the office was safe and dry, many of us did get water in the basement, as did I. Remarkably, the water that came into my basement did not get there from the lack or malfunction of a sump pump. My damage was a result of tiny cracks in the basement floor. Seepage from those cracks left for a wet and smelly mess in my basement.

"But, Dan, you are an insurance agent and you have coverage for this type of situation" is probably what a lot of you are thinking. Unfortunately, since the water did NOT come through the sump pump NOR the drain, I have no coverage for this type of event. I must find a way to fix this problem without the help of insurance money. Fortunately for me, this is not the 1st time this has happened and I don't suffer any financial consequences in terms of property. I have everything that is of value on shelves and in plastic sealed tubs. However, for others, there was damage done from this. Some of the situations did merit coverage as pumps did fail. Others are like me: looking at gutter extensions and sloping dirt at more aggressive angles from the house- anything to push the water from the foundation. Then we can get to actually filling the cracks.

After a night like Wednesday night, we all experience the crash course in water tables 101 (and not the fun kind that kids play with under shade trees in the summer breezes) and what happens when the earth simply cannot handle any more water. The flash floods endangered lives and property and strangled commutes for days and weeks later. If you'd like to see what flood insurance would cost you, please feel free to contact your Absolute Agent. Keep in mind that flood policies have a 30 day waiting period before coverage becomes effective, so it is definitely something to purchase in advance. However, not even flood insurance would cover seepage.

Please remember, when you see water over the road to "TURN AROUND; DON'T DROWN." This is completely unsafe! We simply don't know where the road ends and the ditch begins and can't see any other hazards that are possibly in the road. Secondly, this will TOTAL YOUR VEHICLE as the motor will suck in water. Thirdly, do not underestimate how powerful the water is. It can easily pick the up the vehicle and carry it away. There is nothing worth risking yours and your family's lives for on the other side of that flooded road. Turn around; Don't Drown. 

Stay safe and dry, Friends!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rainy Days Ahead! Time To Grab Your Umbrella...Policy!!!

"Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day"

This was a verse I heard over and over and over and over again this past weekend. You see, I have a 4 year old daughter and a 2 year old son and these types of songs are sang ad nauseam! As the clouds settled over our neighborhood and started pouring; we were outside playing (working) in the yard. For adults, this is an obvious break period. For children, the fun only ramps up!

The kids dashed down the sidewalk, trying to dodge the rain drops. They found puddles forming and made sure to jump in. They did all the amazingly fun things kids do that remind us that we all need to tilt our perspectives at times and keep life playful.

Then, as the rain started to up-tick, my wonderful daughter ran up to me- completely soaked at this point- and asked for her yellow umbrella. Sure, this was frivolous, but her and her brother truly enjoyed playing in the driveway underneath the protection of the umbrella.

As a father, I will never outgrow this... I can never have enough of these wonderful moments. They are truly beautiful. As an insurance agent, these moments are a reminder of the good that can be accomplished from a little extra protection. In this instance, with the rain pouring down, with that yellow umbrella held above their little heads, they giggled, they sang, they kept doing the things that children do despite the weather.

An umbrella policy does this for adults! I personally carry one. It is dollar-for-dollar the cheapest liability coverage I have ever bought. This policy, like an actual umbrella, covers over my home and cars. If I was brave enough, it would cover over any other vehicles I had as well- like a boat, motorcycle, ATV, or RV.

Much like my children, I can feel confident with my umbrella that the negative consequences of a liability claim will be mitigated by this wonderfully inexpensive and broad policy. Granted, I don't purposefully put myself in bad situations in order to utilize this coverage, but I have the peace of mind that if something happened- if I was the cause of a tragic accident- I would have the shelter of my primary policies liability limits in addition to the extra liability limits afforded to me via my umbrella.

Don't let the rainy days of life ruin your livelihood. Protect yourself. Take all your normal and necessary precautions and add to those an umbrella policy. You never know when the storms will come and that is exactly what makes life so exciting and frustrating. Help put yourself in a position to keep singing in the rain, contact your Absolute Agent today at 515-279-2722 or go to and send an email to your agent. We would love to help you.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mind the Gap

London, England: perhaps one of the better examples in this day and age of the fusion between rich culture and history with modern flair. From the Tower of London to the nearby Shard that dominates the cityscape today, there are beautiful and wonderful examples of the new and fresh intertwined with old and true. One of the most prevalent and important aspects of the new age London is by far the introduction and utilization of the Underground.Very simply, this is a highly efficient subway system that crisscrosses and connects the entire town and surrounding areas.

While I was visiting this marvelous and beautiful city, my lovely wife and I used the Underground for nearly all of our transportation needs and became quite familiar with it within a few days. One thing that sticks with me, besides for the cleanliness of the system (we were there just prior to the 2012 Olympics and perhaps that was why everything was so clean), was the voice on the speakers as the train stopped to unload and load passengers: "Mind the Gap". That, in addition to several signs, helped passengers be cognizant of the 6 inch gap between the loading platforms and the train itself. Surely, to get a foot stuck or to actually fall between this gap would be more than a mild inconvenience! It would be a complete disaster of life and limb with major financial consequences.

I took to heart the warning and have took to heart the implication beyond simply getting a free foot amputation. Just as another captive company mentions frequently, we all most be cognizant of and recognize the gaps in our insurance policies. Some of these gaps are standard issues that every company has implemented- such as Flood exclusions. Some of these gaps can be solved through the use of riders like water back-up coverage and earthquake coverage. Some of the gaps exist simply because your lifestyle has changed and you now use your vehicle for delivery verses simply driving to one location on a daily basis.

This is where your local, independent Absolute Agent is worth their weight in gold! We can help uncover gaps in coverage and help you understand the ones that will always exist and the ones that can be mitigated against. Keep in mind that the cheapest possible insurance may not be the best for your situation. Also keep in mind that there is value in being able to actually sit down with your agent in the office and not always call the 1-800- WHERE-THE-HECK-ARE-YOU??? and get a different person each time nor always go to the computer for internet quotes and guidance. Help us help you keep your financial livelihood from experiencing an amputation!

Mind the Gap, Friends.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Love. We sell it! Come and Get Your Love Insurance!!!

No, really... you read that right! Perhaps it is not *exactly* what you think when I say we offer and sell love insurance. This is definitely not "broken-heart" or "a-promise-to-find-you-love" insurance, however, there are probably a host of other sites that will do so or at least lay claim to such a feat, but we do offer and sell "Love Insurance".

You see, when you purchase life insurance, you do so for one primary reason: Love. You purchase life insurance because you love someone and respect the idea that when you pass, there will be obligations left behind for your loved ones to have to sort out and deal with. Now, money from a life insurance (or Love Insurance) settlement will never replace you, but it can help to prevent a tragic personal loss from becoming a tragic personal loss compounded with a tragic financial loss.

As it sits today... this very moment... if you are struck by a bus, could your surviving family members, those that depend on your being-there and your paycheck, could they not only make ends meet tomorrow but also do that in addition to paying the raising costs of final expenses? Will the daycare still need to be paid? The mortgage or rent? Will your children have the option for college without soul-crushing student debt? Will... will... will... the obligations are truly endless but, while you may not be there, you can, in the very least, show your final act of true love by purchasing a Love Insurance policy that can help with these financial consequences of a life filled with love, lived. Even though you aren't there, these proceeds can go to help buy your daughters wedding dress, money down for your kids first house... all this for the price of a six pack and pizza (not all that much).

Show your love for your family and contact your Absolute Agent today at 515-279-2722. We have many options to review with you, but when it comes down to it, having something in place is the truly necessary ingredient to bake your love cake. Visit our website at: 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring is Here! Time to Prep the Basement......

This past winter was certainly one to remember and one that brought with it a new vocabulary phrase: "Polar Vortex"! With Spring finally arriving, we have different concerns than frozen pipes and ice dams. Here at Absolute Insurance, we understand the risks associated with bad weather on your home and want to remind everyone to check your sump-pump to ensure it is still operational after this harsh winter. Also, check your home insurance to make sure you have Back-up coverage.

Water Back-up of Sewers and Drains is an optional endorsement on a standard home insurance policy. This endorsement provides coverage in the event of water or sewage backing up through the drains or in the event of sump pump failure. This is important as none of these are covered perils on a standard policy. Many companies will not allow a client to add this coverage during the policy term but it can be added at the time of renewal. Other companies will have a 30 day waiting period before the coverage takes effect.

The coverage provided is broad in nature and will cover contents, structural damage, and clean up. Some companies have different deductibles for this type of coverage other than the Named Perils deductible shown on the Declaration page of your Home Insurance Policy. There are some companies, however, that maintain the same deductible across the board.

Contact your Absolute Agent for further coverage questions and deductible options if you already have the Water Back-up of Sewers and Drains endorsement in place. As always though, it is far better to prevent these situations then dealing with them down the road.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Meet Dan

Meet Dan. Dan is not a "1-800" number. He is ready to assist you with all your personal lines insurance. Have you compared your coverage and rate lately? Let Dan help: 515-279-2722 or Serving the Des Moines Metro and surrounding areas.

Things Insurance Fans Love

As a Local Independent Agent, I often have the pleasure of discussing many facets of life with clients over the phone or in the office. Sometimes these jovial discussions remain just that: jovial and entertaining. However, other times, folks tell me things they don't necessarily care for about insurance. I understand many of these concerns, but when it comes down to the reality of what insurance actually does and how it responds when we are in our most desperate positions, I cannot help but to be a fan and advocate. Usually, upon reflection with the clients, we both end up feeling better about the situations.

Here are just a few items that insurance fans love:

  • Risk Transference. This is the basic tenet of insurance. For a fee, we allow another entity to absorb our first dollars worth of liability. This is AWESOME! The insurance company gets behind us when we have momentary lapse of judgement and cause damage to another party up to our policy limits. Without this, our bank accounts, wages, homes, and retirements would all be subject to lawsuit that follows! Better yet, get yourself an umbrella policy and boost those limits even higher with broader ranges of coverage.
  • Roadside Assistance. If you have ever broken down alongside the side of the road, then this is an awesome endorsement available via most companies auto policies (restrictions apply per company).
  • Water Back-Up/Sump Pump Failure. This is another one of those special endorsements via the home insurance policy. What happens to your sump pump when the power goes out? You guessed it- it goes out as well. If you have a finished basement, these mild irritant just became a costly mess. However, if you this endorsement on the home insurance, it will pay to cover clean up and the cost to replace ruined building items and contents (subject to policy limit).
  • Rental Car Reimbursement. You've just had the accident. Sure enough, you were at fault. You have great liability limits and the other party will be handled well through your carrier, but now your sole means of transportation will have to be in a shop for the next two weeks to get repaired. This is more than a mild annoyance. This is devastating! Thankfully you and your Absolute Agent added rental car reimbursement to the full coverage on your vehicle so that you can utilize a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. Another day saved through a proper conversation with your Absolute Agent (limits apply to per day cost and coverage is only available if comprehensive and collision coverage is purchased on the vehicle).
These are but a few of the things insurance fans love. There are definitely more to review in detail and we will definitely touch on them in the future. Until then, contact your Absolute Agent today at 515-279-2722 for more information.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What's Insurance Up To?

In a world where the only constant is change, it can be difficult to keep up on the little things (and big things) that affect us on a daily basis. Between our families, jobs, and pets; the essential daily grind of our lives; as we connect ourselves further and further into the macrocosm of society to free up our time to get involved in even more activities... as .... as... as... Full stop....

We are busy. The reasons for this are as varied as we are from person to person. Each of us has a particular skill set that make us valuable to, and within, society. However, for most folks, insurance is NOT that thing. But do not despair! There is hope! Like a shining beacon on a hill, there is hope for those lost in the dark landscape of insurance unknowns and that shining beacon on the hill is none other than YOUR ABSOLUTE INSURANCE AGENT! They have the knowledge and expertise to know what insurance is up to!

Contact your local, independent ABSOLUTE AGENT in order to help you weather the STORM of liability, deductible, and endorsement talk. They can help you through the confusing maze of insurance speak and set you on a path to smooth sailing. Call us today at 515-279-2722.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring has Sprung!

Finally Spring has come and with it comes the possibility of spring showers through April and May. With the rain will come the rejuvenation of the outdoor world. The lawns will turn to green and the tulips will begin to bloom. These are beautiful sights to behold after a winter of being held hostage in homes due to the frigid winds and temperatures. However, as these showers melt away the bits of snow and ice on the ground and as the ground thaws, there can be a lot of extra water coming towards the foundation of your home and ultimately being routed to you sump pump. This is an excellent time to head down to your basement and open the sump pump well do some your regular spring maintenance. No one wants to deal with the problems associated with a malfunctioning sump pump and there are a few steps to take to maintain your pump and keep it in the best working order. These tips are general guides and you should follow the manufactures recommendations first and foremost.
These tips were found at
Plan on doing these items every 3-4 months:

  • Clean pump inlet screen
  • Check power cord and make sure the cord is connected to power
  • Dump a bucket of water into the sump to raise the float and make sure the pump turns on
Plan on doing these items every year:
  • Remove the pump from the sump and clean it and inspect it
  • Clean out the sump
  • Check the owner manual to see if the pump bearing require grease or oil. If you do not have the manual look it up on the internet using the manufacturer and model number of your pump or contact the manufacturer
  • Replace the pump in the sump
  • Check power cord and make sure the cord is connected to power
  • Dump a bucket of water into the sump to raise the float and make sure the pump turns on, adjusting the float if necessary
We at Absolute Insurance also STRONGLY advocate that homes with sump pumps should also install a battery back-up pump that will assist your main pump in the event of a power loss. There is also a newer version of a pump that uses the home’s water lines to act as a pump rather than using electricity. This is highly beneficial if you are in area that losses electricity consistently during storms. Call your Absolute Agent today at 515-279-2722!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ensuring Insurability and More!!!

Do you have children or grandchildren and are tired of buying plastic toys or gizmos that will end up being stored and thrown out in the next few months? As a parent to 2 children myself, I know this dilemma well and I want to give my children beneficial gifts in addition to next big Christmas must-have. There are better uses for that money. One of which is a Children’s Universal Life Insurance policy through Pekin Life Insurance that offers a Guaranteed Insurability Rider. These are very reasonably priced policies that are permanent and build a cash value. In addition to that, they have a rider that allows the owner or the insured on the policy to increase the death benefit up to 7 times throughout the lifetime of the child at various ages indicated within the policy. The best part about this is that there are NO HEALTH QUESTIONS and NO NEW UNDERWRITING for the increased death benefit. There are too many heartbreaking stories of children developing chronic diseases that leave them uninsurable in the future. Now is the time to put this important protection in place and give yourself the peace of mind that your child can increase their coverage even in the event of a tragic diagnosis. Call your Absolute Agent today at 515-279-2722!