W3 Insurance Named to Business Insurance’s Annual Best Places to Work in Insurance List

Award Showcases W3’s Consistent Workplace Success

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – For the fifth time, W3 Insurance has been named to the Best Places to Work in Insurance list. The honor demonstrates that Business Insurance recognizes W3 Insurance as a workplace where employees feel they can thrive and collectively help the organization to grow and prosper.

“We maintain an employee experience (EX) focus,” says W3 Insurance Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Hammond. “Our ‘Raving Fans’ culture starts internally, with our employees.”

The vetting process to identify leading agents, brokers, providers and insurance companies in the insurance industry included a two-part questionnaire from Best Companies Group. Employees completed a confidential employee survey regarding engagement and satisfaction; employers were directed to answer questions explaining company policies, practices and demographics.

Best Places to Work in Insurance is an annual sponsored content feature presented by the Custom Publishing unit of Business Insurance and Best Companies Group. As to what makes W3 a consistent honoree, an employee response from 2019 explains it all:

We have a culture of Integrity, Accountability, Success, and Passion. We’re a team and we love what we do…Our employees participate in internal committees that foster relationship building activities within the W3 family. Our employees also create fundraising and volunteer opportunities and activities to support the Tampa Bay Area to improve the overall quality of life for those in need around us.

 About W3 Insurance

Founded in 1925, Wallace Welch & Willingham Inc (W3 Insurance) is an independent insurance agency with a rich history of providing quality service and unwavering commitment to clients and community. The agency represents an extensive list of “A rated” insurance companies and offers insurance products to fit the specific needs of businesses and individuals. For more information, call (727) 522-7777 or visit www.w3ins.com.

About Business Insurance

Business Insurance is the authoritative news and information source for executives concerned about risk and the impact on their business. With information for risk managers, insurers, brokers and other providers of insurance products and services, Business Insurance delivers in-depth analysis on new and emerging risks, case studies of successful programs, market intelligence on trends, and guidance on how to capitalize on opportunities and overcome challenges.

In addition to a monthly print magazine, Business Insurance provides essential news via its website, BusinessInsurance.com; daily and weekly e-newsletters; and breaking news via email news alerts. To subscribe, please contact Business Insurance at info@businessinsurance.com.

Best Companies Group works with partners to establish “Best Places to Work,” “Best Companies,” and “Best Employers” programs on a national, state-wide and regional basis.

Recreation Without Mass Transit – What to Know Before You Yell Bon Voyage

RV towing a boat on the highway

In the age of COVID, family time increasingly means Web searches for boat insurance and RV insurance. It’s no surprise: When embracing the open water (or the road), it’s easy to practice social distancing. When you’re sailing in Tampa Bay, that feeling of being cooped up dissolves. Likewise, operating an RV means taking your hotel room with you wherever you go. For the stir crazy and those seeking greater quality time with loved ones, boats and RVs have proved a worthy means of escape.

Some elements to consider include:

  • Insurance – Make sure you are properly covered before you embark upon this new family adventure. Boats and RVs have unique requirements for insurance. You’ll want to consider the type of vessel (or size of RV), intended use and more. It’s simple to find a comprehensive quote when you consult an advisor who asks all the right questions. You’ll then be able to hit the road or the Gulf with full security.
  • Skill level – Don’t be cavalier about your ability to operate a water vessel or a massive RV. Boater education courses can be found online (a socially distant plus) and RV tips and tricks can as well. Remember that other elements will need to be mastered as well. For RVS: emptying sewage tanks; for boats: docking protocols. There are more elements to consider, of course.
  • Purchasing or renting? Vacationers seem to be heading to the hills of North Carolina in droves – most in rented RVs. This is a smart strategy. If you can handle the winding roads of the Carolinas and your family members are still speaking to one another after the trip, you may want to consider purchasing an RV. However, if the vehicle breaks down, your family members feel confined and constrained, and you do not enjoy the trip, at least that RV is rented. Give it back – and try boating instead.
  • Chartering a boat may become a necessity as boat inventory decreases. The St. Petersburg Boat show is still scheduling for December, for example, but so many vessels have been purchased lately that dealers are waiting for new production boats to arrive.

Embrace life on the open road or water. It’s one silver lining to come out of the age of COVID-19: this time with family that we can nurture with a new hobby. For insurance answers for recreational vehicles or boat insurance, contact the advisors at W3 Insurance.

Have the Most Prepared Pet on the Block

From Collar to Crate to Everything in Between

July is Pet Preparedness Month, so it’s prime time to check the ‘go-bag’ for your furry friend. If the term ‘go-bag’ means the half-eaten container of kibble you keep in the garage, it’s extremely important that you read further. Not having the right materials on hand for your pet could prove disastrous in a time of crisis. Here’s what to set aside to ensure your pet’s comfort and health.

  • Food and water – All right, so you were on the right track with that kibble bag. We’re talking at least a three-day supply. Try not to dig into that emergency stash when the food supply gets low. In case of an emergency, you’ll need to know that it’s there. Otherwise, your dog could end up sharing snack cakes with you in a hurricane shelter, and we all know how sensitive his stomach is. That brings us to the next important task: researching shelters.
  • ‘Pet-friendly’ and ‘shelter’ are not terms that necessarily go together. Don’t chance that a shelter will accept your 100 pound Great Dane. Do a few minutes of research online first. That’s likely all the time it will take to learn whether or not your animal will be accepted into the shelter. If they are, be prepared to show the following:
    • Medical information – Since emergencies don’t tend to be scheduled on the calendar, it’s important to keep your pet’s immunizations current. Put those records in a safe place and be ready to grab them as you head out the door.
    • Identification – Slip that tag that identifies your dog as having been vaccinated against rabies onto his collar. It’s a quick way for people to see that he is not a threat.
  • Even if your dog never leaves your side, stash a leash in the kit. The change of scenery might make him prone to wander. While you’re at it, grab a first aid kit just for Fido.
  • Print out a picture of you with your pet and slip it into the kit. Sure, we know you have 455 similar pictures on your phone – but what if you forget your charger, lose the dog and have no way to identify him other than He’s small and white and snarls at everyone but me? Having a tangible picture is a solid idea.
  • Improve the treat stash. Just like you, your animal is going to feel the stress of a chaotic situation. This is not the time to withhold a good old-fashioned rawhide or hoard the bacon strips.
  • If your pet sleeps in a crate, take it with you. Better yet, take it even if he avoids the thing like the plague. A shelter may require your animal to stay in said crate, even if it’s the last thing he’s hoping to do.

If you’ve opted for pet insurance, include a copy of the policy in the kit or have access to it online. And if you’re trying to decide whether or not to opt for pet insurance, take a look here to generate your own quote now:

Click here for a free pet insurance quote

Insurance Coverage for Your RV – Protect that office on wheels

Before we share RV insurance wisdom, here’s a short quiz. How much do you really know about the glorious motor home – and how might the pandemic make this multipurpose marvel attractive to a new throng of remote workers?

A motor home (also referred to as a recreational vehicle) is commonly regarded as:

  1. Your occasional personal office space
  2. Home sweet home
  3. A means of transportation to wherever, whenever – from the beaches of St. Petersburg, Florida to the mountains of Denver, Colorado.
  4. All of the above.

‘D’ is the obvious correct answer. As more and more people embrace the work from home lifestyle, RV ownership is becoming exceptionally attractive. If you’re one of the many looking to hit the road in an office/home hybrid, you’re in luck. The following RV insurance tips will help you secure your investment.

When shopping for RV insurance coverage, take note:

  • Your premium may decrease during off-use. If you know that this will not be your permanent residence, for example, mention that to your insurance professional. Often, you won’t have to pay the same amount of premium if the RV spends months tucked inside its massive garage.
  • Don’t expect your car insurance policy to include RV coverage. Remember: An RV is not a car. It’s much, much more. You’ll need the specialized coverage that reflects this.
  • Look for an Emergency Expense Allowance in the RV policy. Imagine this scenario and you’ll understand why: You’re halfway to Toledo when the RV breaks down and the tow truck arrives. An Emergency Expense Allowance helps with temporary living expenses; plus, it cushions the financial blow of RV transport.
  • Pet owners, it’s meaningful to know that some carriers will help with veterinary bills if your pet is hurt while riding in your RV. If this is important to you, ask your insurance professional if it is part of your coverage.
  • Additional coverage for attachment devices (generators, etc.) will cover those as well.

Know the difference between Actual Cash Value (ACV), Replacement Value and Agreed Value (AV)– because the difference is potentially huge. Let’s say that your RV is totaled.

As a policy, Actual Cash Value is going to pay out in a basic manner, using fair market value. Anyone who has ever owned a vehicle understands the adage ‘It’s worth less as soon as you drive it off the lot.’ That RV will have depreciated in value since you purchased it shiny and new. You’ll receive less of a payout because of that.

Who knew RV insurance would involve so much deliberation? We did. Here at W3 Insurance, we specialize in helping you protect that which you hold dear – from boats to businesses to RVs and beyond. Call us at 727-522-777 and become properly insured before you head out on that marvelous home office on wheels.

Click here to request an RV insurance quote.

Pandemic Pragmatism: Return To Work Advice for Employers

This is a message to employers who look out upon a sea of empty cubicles and yearn for normalcy. We understand the temptation to welcome employees back in droves. Business is not as usual, and we all feel it: no sector is immune to the effects of COVID-19. As we grapple with our ‘new normal,’ it is imperative that employers handle the return of employees to the physical workplace with proverbial ‘kid gloves.’

Here are some safeguards to consider as you reopen your doors to the employee population:

  • Constant vigilance is key. That employee who tested negative yesterday could arrive at the office this morning as a COVID-19-infected individual. Therefore, daily health checks are necessary, and the EEOC has ruled that employers may ask workers whether they are in fact suffering from COVID-similar symptoms. *Compliance with the ADA is still mandatory; any medical information gleaned from such daily checks becomes part of the individual’s confidential medical record.
  • Thanks to human ingenuity, we already have multiple options for these checks, including:
    • COVID-19 and antibody testing – Antibody testing is not, at this moment, FDA approved. It demands a blood draw and can take days to reveal results. A person may test negative for COVID-19 one day and positive the next, making such testing an unlikely option for regular use.
    • Medical screenings conducted by medical personnel – In this scenario, employees stay in their vehicle while a medical professional takes their temperature and administers a brief questionnaire. Anyone with a temperature at or below 100.4 is cleared to enter the building.
    • Non-contact thermometer at building entrance. Not every person infected with COVID-19 has a fever. However, the thermometer check will identify some infected individuals.
    • App use requiring daily report of symptoms, exposure, and temperature – Responses are recorded. If suspected COVID-19 is identified, correct company personnel is notified.
  • Remember that discriminatory practices are not admissible just because a pandemic is at large. However, individuals aged 65 or older may be given more flexibility than compared with your younger employee population. Those within the older age group are at higher risk to suffer complications from COVID-19. Treatment of demographic groups such as pregnant women and those with family responsibilities is discussed at length here.

Return to work symbolizes a return to normal, and that is what we as a society yearn for during this age of uncertainty. Still, don’t rush the Welcome Back celebration. Work with your HR department to outline clear and concise policies that protect the health of everyone in the organization. For assistance, contact W3 Benefits and Wellness Strategist Trish Blocker at tblocker@w3ins.com or 727-522-7777 x173.