Small Business Owners: From offline to online part 2

Share Button

In the previous post, we discussed the proper steps to help improve your business’ online presence. We identified the importance of a value-add, establishing an online goal and considering what channels your customers use to find you.

Now that you’ve accomplished these three steps, you’re ready to execute your online plan. For customers who prefer reading user reviews, creating business pages on sites like Yelp and Google+ can be helpful. You can expand to other channels and reach customers who value business credentials by creating a LinkedIn page. On each of these sites, remember to include your business’ value-add and other basic information, like business hours and areas of operation. For other tips and best practices, check out Google’s video.ny ecommerce_ streckad

When your online presence is established and you’re feeling comfortable, focus on differentiating your business from the competition. When customers are perusing the internet, it’s likely they will have common questions about your business. For example, if you’re an independent insurance agent, customers might wonder which carriers you offer or how long you’ve been in business. Your online content should focus on answering these types of questions.

In the case of the insurance agent, you could also post links to the carriers you offer or share customer testimonials. You could even go a step further and get creative by uploading videos that discuss helpful insurance buying tips. No matter how you choose to address these questions, your website content should reinforce your business’ value-add, convincing customers that your products and services are the best selection.

It’s important to have a cohesive and holistic presence across all of your online channels. Customers should be able to travel seamlessly from one of your business pages to another, all of which convey a consistent message. To achieve this, be sure to integrate related links in each of your pages. For example, your Google+ page could direct customers to your Yelp page to find reviews. To learn more about how to create a holistic experience for your customer, check out Google Webmasters’ explanation.

If in your business, the majority of your interaction with customers is in person or over the phone, you may want to encourage happy customers to visit your pages at review sites like Yelp and Google+ to post their comments and feedback. Reviews can be very powerful, so let your customers know that you value their feedback. For tips on how to obtain – and curate – online reviews, check out this article from Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Small Business Owners: Offline to online part 1

Share Button

Recently, the Google Webmaster Central Blog wrote a helpful post for small business owners to help them get up and running on the web. Considering that many consumers search for products and services online with devices other than just computers, building a web-presence can be challenging. With various ways to get online, business owners need to be accessible via computers, tablets, and smartphones. Gone are the days when people simply typed a question into a search engine to get information. Now, more people rely on review sites, social and professional network sites, and even map applications to browse businesses online. Given the variety of sources customers can use to learn about a business, being “online” means a lot more today than just having a website.eBusiness

However, fear not business owners! Whether you’re an independent insurance agent or a jewelry store owner, understanding the basics and following a few simple steps will help get you reaching potential customers at work, home and on-the-go in no time. Although the steps are straightforward, we’ve broken them up into two segments for the sake of keeping things short and sweet.

Many businesses have an online presence, so before you begin planning your online strategy, it’s important to think about what makes your business special. Why should a customer choose your product over another? Highlighting your business’ ethos or specialty – your “value-add” – helps customers parsing through the competition narrow down their search. For real life examples of a value-add and how to use it online, check out this video from Google Webmasters.

Of equal importance to your unique value-add is your internet goal. Is your goal to increase revenue? Or maybe it’s to improve customer satisfaction. Whatever it is, your goal will help shape your online strategy. For example, if you’re trying to increase revenue, simply making your contact information available online will make your business more accessible, thus ideally increasing inquiries from customers. As you become more internet savvy, your goals may shift and your online plan could become more sophisticated. Check out the same video as above for more examples on setting internet goals for your business.

Another factor to consider before implementing your online strategy is how customers are finding your business. Customer journeys could begin by a word-of-mouth referral or a visit to a review site. Whatever their journey is, remember to consider the various avenues a customer will take to find your business. For example, for those customers dependent on personal referrals, creating a business page on social networking sites like Facebook would be helpful.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog, where we’ll cover what comes next: now that you’ve identified your business’ value-add and established your online goal, you’re ready for implementation.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

 

Who ya gonna call?

Share Button

Although we like to keep the tone light in these blog posts, it’s no secret that the period following a car accident is anything but. There’s a lot to think about and it can quickly turn into a stressful situation: Who do you call? Are you covered? How do you file a claim? How do you collect payment for a claim?

In these situations, your claims adjuster, more commonly known as “claim representative,” will be your point person – he or she will assist you through the process of resolving your insurance claim.claims_adjuster

The claims adjuster’s job is to determine coverage, liability and damages based on objective information they obtain through their investigation of the claim. Throughout the claim process, the claims adjuster may be assisted by other specialists who will inspect the vehicle or vehicles involved in the claim, and meet with people who were involved in the accident to obtain in-person information. The claims adjuster will collect information from people who were involved in the accident and from witnesses to the accident as part of their investigation.

If your claim is covered, your claims adjuster will issue payment to you or the registered body shop you choose to repair your vehicle, at your direction. Your claims adjuster is available to you if you have any questions regarding “What happens next?” at any time during the claim process.

FYI, here are some other claims-related terms defined:

Coverage –  whether, and if so to what extent, the insurance policy may provide payment for the accident or loss

Liability – often called “fault,” this is the determination of who (and there may be multiple “whos”) bears what portion of responsibility for the accident or loss

Damages – the cost to repair or replace property, the cost of medical treatment and in some instances, the monetary value of other elements of loss

Visit our online dictionary of auto insurance terms and definitions for more information on just how important a claims adjuster is when you’re in a car accident.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

SR-22? Shame on you!

Share Button

If you’ve never heard of an SR-22, congratulations – you’re probably a safe and responsible driver! An SR-22 is a document that demonstrates proof of sufficient auto insurance coverage.

Drivers convicted of certain traffic violations are required to carry this document.SR-22

For example, someone convicted of a DUI would likely be required to obtain an SR-22 before he or she is allowed to drive again. Or, as our video suggests, a police bird who catches a bear buzzin’ on too much honey might mandate an SR-22. Watch this video before you think we’re completely crazy.

For more information on how to file an SR-22 and any associated filing costs, visit our Resource Center.

As always, for those insurance enthusiasts out there, remember to watch and share our animated auto insurance terms and definitions with your friends and family.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

 

Comprehensive Coverage: Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst

Share Button

Some people are just luckier than others. Maybe you’re the sort of person – say, whose car gets crushed by a boulder – or maybe you’re not.

Either way, Comprehensive Coverage is something you should consider when selecting your car insurance coverage. Put simply, Comprehensive coverage covers damages to your car resulting from an event other than a collision – like a boulder falling on it.  The most common losses covered by Comprehensive coverage are fire, theft, flood, vandalism and windstorm.Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is optional and therefore not automatically included in an insurance policy, but if you have a car loan your lender may require you to carry it. You should consult with an independent insurance agent to determine the costs and benefits of comprehensive coverage. The cost typically varies depending on your car’s year, make and model, your deductible amount and other limitations.

For a more comprehensive explanation of this type of coverage – or if you’re curious about any other confusing insurance terms – you can explore our Online Dictionary of Insurance Terms & Definitions.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Summer Storm Driving

Share Button

However awe-inspiring they may be, as an insurance provider, we aren’t exactly fans of big summer storms. But whatever we may think of them, the fact is now that it’s summer, it’s likely we’ll have to deal with a storm or two.

Ideally, driving in stormy conditions should be avoided altogether. But sometimes there’s somewhere you simply have to be and driving is unavoidable. On top of that, bad weather can sneak up so quickly that oftentimes it’s hard to plan ahead from a driving standpoint. With that in mind, we’ve put together a few tips which can help you stay as safe as possible in the event you find yourself driving through a storm.driving in the storm

In thunderstorms and lightning:

  • Tune in – keep the radio on local stations to stay abreast of the latest storm news.
  • Stay slow – it’s important to remember to drive slowly in stormy conditions – especially if there’s heavy rainfall. Stoppage distances increase when roads are wet, so be sure to give yourself ample room when braking.
  • Play it safe – if a downpour impairs your vision in the slightest, pull over. Turn your emergency flashers on and wait for things to clear up. Don’t get out of the car.

In high winds:

  • Look out for other drivers on the roads. High winds could require more heightened awareness when maneuvering your car.
  • Don’t be caught off-guard when moving from a sheltered to an un-sheltered place; be prepared to adjust your steering for the force of the wind.

In flooding:

  • Avoid it – as a rule of thumb, don’t try to drive through flooded roads. Turn around and find another route. Even water that looks shallow can be hiding dips in the road or other serious road damages.
  • Keep in mind that six inches of water is enough to reach the bottom of most cars, causing stalling and other difficulties. If your car stalls in water, get out when it is safe to do so.
  • Cars are not boats – a couple feet of swift-moving water is enough to sweep away the sturdiest of vehicles.

Don’t drive unless you have to. The chances of an accident occurring are a great deal higher in bad weather, and these tips are only meant to be used if you get stuck in a storm. The best way to stay out of trouble is to avoid driving in stormy weather altogether.

To read more about the tips and information highlighted above, visit Weather.com, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Totally lost?

Share Button

In the world of driving, sometimes misfortune strikes and an accident leaves your car in rough shape.

Whether your car resembles an accordion (hopefully not) or the damage is under the hood and therefore less obvious, your car could be considered a total loss.

When your car is damaged to the extent that repair costs exceed the Actual Cash Value – the market value of your car based on factors like pre-loss condition, model and mileage – insurers might determine your car a “total loss.”

To give you an idea of what this phrase means, we’ve created a video that – we feel – correctly illustrates what insurers mean when they assess a “total loss.”  Consider this an attempt to find humor in an otherwise un-humorous situation.

Want more information?

Familiarize yourself with the total loss procedure and what it means for coverage optionTotal losss with your Plymouth Rock auto insurance policy.

And, as always, be sure to visit our online dictionary of Auto Insurance Terms and Definitions for meaningful information and videos on common industry terms.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

DOI Consumer Alert on Ride- and Car-Sharing Services

Share Button

Last week the Massachusetts Division of Insurance (DOI) released a consumer alert warning of the potential insurance coverage risks for people involved in ride-sharing and car-sharing programs.

These programs provide the general public with easy access to private transportation by allowing individuals to either rent privately owned cars for a fee, or to receive rides from drivers operating privately owned cars for a fee.

The alert urges Massachusetts insureds to carefully review both their existing auto insurance policy and the ride or car-sharing company’s policy before engaging in these services. It’s important to understand all potential risks since, according to the DOI, “most Massachusetts insurers will not consider using your vehicle for a car-sharing service ‘permissible use,’ and are unlikely to cover claims arising from such use.”

Handwritten Insurance Claim Form with pen and calculator

Alert highlights include:

  • An insurer can deny coverage if an accident occurs while giving rides to strangers for a fee or other economic incentives.
  • If you share your car with another driver through a car-sharing program, your insurer can deny coverage for an accident happening during that time.
  • Even if your insurer doesn’t explicitly exclude coverage of car-sharing services, it may not renew your policy if your car is involved in an accident while being shared through this type of service.
  • The car-sharing company might provide insurance coverage to its drivers, but it’s likely the coverage is subject to limitations and exclusions.

Click here for the full alert and more information on car and ride-sharing services.

If you are considering participating in these programs, it might be helpful to first consult your insurer or an insurance agent to better understand your coverage options, and what risks you could be exposed to through these services.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Subro… what?

Share Button

Last week we launched our online dictionary of Auto Insurance Terms and Definitions as a way to help explain confusing insurance industry jargon.

We understand that for some, words like “anti-theft device” and “collision insurance” aren’t part of everyday vocabulary.

…and chances are, neither is subrogation.

Subrogation is one of those words that sounds more complicated than it actually is. In short, it’s the process by which an insurance company will pay a claim to its customer and then seek reimbursement from the at-fault third party.

Subrogation

Since visual learning can be more helpful than just reading words, we’ve created a short video that illustrates what subrogation is all about.

For more information on subrogation or other common insurance terms, visit our online dictionary where you’ll find a host of funny videos.

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.

Introducing Plymouth Rock’s Online Dictionary!

Share Button

Car insurance isn’t always the easiest thing to understand, nor is it the most exciting topic to talk about.

We get it.

While we work in this industry every day and are passionate about what we do, we don’t necessarily expect everyone to share our excitement about car insurance. But, chances are, if you are a driver who owns or leases a car, car insurance is a part of your life.

That’s why we want to make it easy for you to understand our industry jargon.

Using short, animated and humorous (at least we think so!) videos, we’ve created an online dictionary of Auto Insurance Terms and Definitions. We hope the visual illustrations of each term will provide a clear understanding of words you might otherwise find confusing.

So, without further ado, we’re unveiling our dictionary with two commonplace insurance terms: anti-theft device and collision insurance.

In short, anti-theft devices are designed to prevent your car from being stolen. These devices not only provide peace of mind of having added security to your vehicle, but they can also lower your insurance rates.

Now here’s a curve ball for you: what do anti-theft devices and dogs Anti-Theft Devicehave in common?

Well, you’ll have to watch and see for yourself.

While anti-theft devices can prevent break-ins, collision insurance protects your car in a different way.

Collision insurance will cover any physical damage incurred by your car as a result of hitting another vehicle or object. The type of collision coverage you choose typically will affect the cost of your car insurance, so it’s helpful to know your coverage options.

Not sure what constitutes a collision? Take a look at this video and see if it helps clarify…

Stay tunedcollision_coverage for more insurance terms and definitions in the coming weeks and be sure to share them with friends and family!

 

 

Headquartered in Boston, Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation provides auto insurance to personal and commercial auto insurance customers in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Plymouth Rock is a member of The Plymouth Rock Group of Companies, which together write and manage over $1 billion in auto and homeowners insurance throughout the northeast.