AJB Blog

Staying In Touch With You

About Jeff Pitcher

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

Author Archives: Jeff Pitcher

Small Business Essentials: Business Interruption Insurance

As a small business owner, it is crucial to be prepared for a disaster to strike.  It is particularly important for small businesses to obtain business interruption insurance, because this important policy will help tremendously in the case of a catastrophic event by assisting in alleviating the harmful effects of business interruption. If a Disaster Strikes Business interruption is the loss of income and forced temporary closure to a business as a result of a damaging incident, and it can be extremely costly if you are not properly insured. One never knows when a disaster may hit, so it is vital to be equipped with a coverage that could be the key survival tool for your business. This coverage will compensate for lost income of your company during period of restoration needed as well as physical loss due to disaster-related harm. These unwanted occurrences may include storms, fires, acts of terrorism, or even cybercrime. A business that has to shut down may lose customers to competitors, so resuming business  quickly should be the main goal after a disaster. Business interruption coverage is frequently added to a property insurance policy or included in a package policy. Essential Protections Obtaining the proper insurance can mean the life or death of your business if a detrimental event was to take place. When your business is at stake, business interruption insurance is likely to help save it. It is unfortunately common for small business owners to overlook this coverage.  Oftentimes, disaster damage management is forgotten about or the importance of it is underrated, and small businesses’ lack of planning for disaster recovery is a huge risk. A recent study found that more than half of small business owners said it would take them at least three months to recover from a disaster, and the same study found that 69 percent said they have an evacuation plan at home but over a third believe it isn’t important for their businesses to have a disaster recovery plan. It was also found that 44 percent of these small business owners do not have a plan readily accessible if disaster hit. Small businesses are the least likely to obtain interruption insurance, yet are most effected by disaster. It is in your best interest to protect what you have worked so hard to build. About A.J. Benet Inc. Insurance…
Read more…

Posted in Blog, Business Insurance, Small Business | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Small Business Essentials: Business Interruption Insurance

How to Settle Landlord Disputes Without Filing a Claim

No one wants to have conflict with their landlords. Sometimes disputes are avoidable, but other times they are inevitable. If there is a dispute already in the works, know that filing a claim isn’t always necessary. Renters Insurance is there as an additional line of defense to protect you and your property, but keep your mind at ease by familiarizing yourself on how to settle a dispute without court intervention. Know the Law First and foremost, by knowing your state’s renting laws you may be able to completely avoid a dispute before it even begins. This is a necessary subject to be educated in as a tenant, as it allows you to try to take matters into your own hands and find a solution yourself before taking it to a higher level. It is common for issues to arise due to one side honestly not knowing that they have broken an agreement or being unsure of certain rights. This simple tactic will help you dodge problems that didn’t have to be there in the first place. Be fair to yourself and your landlord by learning renting laws and adequately staying up on law changes; it will help you both out. Remain Calm and Collected If issues do arise, be sure to keep your cool. Remain calm and collected so things don’t get out of hand, and you’ll be able to handle the situation in a logical manner. If your landlord is not cooperating and is being too difficult, you may end up needing to seek legal assistance. However, always try to handle situations in a civilized fashion between you and your landlord first. Determine the scope of the problem to have a clear understanding on the severity of the issue at hand. You never want to make a problem bigger than it has to be. It’s always a good idea to try to keep a positive tenant-landlord relationship if possible. Meet with Them Arrange a meeting in a neutral territory to speak with your landlord in person. That face-to-face interaction could reinforce a positive relationship and provide a clearer understanding of the issues at hand from both perspectives. Remain open-minded and listen to their views while also explaining your points. When both sides feel heard, it is more likely to lead to a solution. In an undemanding manner, make sure your…
Read more…

Posted in Blog, Renters Insurance | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Settle Landlord Disputes Without Filing a Claim

The Realities of Owning a Home: Recurring Costs

Home ownership is one of the biggest goals in one’s life. However, more goes into home ownership than simply paying a mortgage each month. In fact, there are some other recurring expenses that can put you over your budget if you don’t plan accordingly. In this article, we’re going to cover some of the most common monthly expenses that you can plan for if you’re in the market for buying a home in the near future. Most importantly, protect your new dwelling with a tailored New York Home Insurance policy. Mortgage loan. This is the most obvious, and will vary in cost depending on the home’s price, how much you put down, and your interest level that you work out with your lender. If it’s a fixed loan, the price will remain the same over the life of your mortgage loan terms. Otherwise, an adjustable loan changes as your benchmark changes. Insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average annual U.S. homeowners insurance premium was $1,132 in 2014. However, homeowners insurance premiums can vary from year to year based on changes in your home’s appraised value, your policy’s deductible and coverage amounts, your claim history, and your credit score. As with property taxes, you pay one-twelfth of your annual homeowners premium with your monthly escrow payment, says Money Crashers. Private mortgage insurance. If you put down less than 20% of the home’s price in your down payment, you’ll need to pay an additional monthly expense for private mortgage insurance (PMI). PMI protects your lender from financial loss if your home is foreclosed upon and sold at a discount relative to your purchase price. If you have good credit, your lender may assess PMI premiums until your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio (the ratio of your current mortgage balance to your home’s total value) reaches 78%. However, lenders generally honor borrowers’ PMI cancellation requests once LTV reaches 80%. If you pose a higher credit risk, your lender may require you to carry PMI until your LTV is lower. Property taxes. Depending on where you live, your city’s property taxes will vary each year. You will typically pay 1/12th of the total amount each year. Utilities/maintenance. Finally, you’ll need to factor in costs for utilities. Everything from water, gas and electricity to phones, internet and cable are recurring monthly expenses you’ll need to budget for. In addition, monthly maintenance is another…
Read more…

Posted in Blog, Home Insurance | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on The Realities of Owning a Home: Recurring Costs

5 Important Questions to Ask Before Moving Into a Rental Home

Renting an apartment is a necessity for most, especially when you’re just starting out in your career. Fast forward a few years, and you might have some kids and a spouse but aren’t ready to buy just yet. Renting a home provides more space and privacy than a multiunit dwelling, but requires a bit more forethought and research before moving in. In this article, we’ll cover the important questions everyone should ask before moving into a rental home. Most importantly, protect your new dwelling and your assets with a New York Renters Insurance policy. Do your research. Scout out the local area, and this means more than just seeing how far away it is from work and what the home looks like. Is it next to a major street? Is it a heavily populated area? Is it next to loud bars and restaurants? Is there an airport nearby where you’ll hear planes all day? Remember your furry friends. Most landlords have pretty reasonable pet policies. However, be prepared to negotiate the terms of your furry friends living in the rental unit before setting your heart on the place. Make sure the landlord doesn’t have weight, breed or number of dog restrictions. Ask about certain clauses in your rental agreement. A break clause means that a “fixed-term tenancy can be ended at 6 months”, according to James Plunkett, head of consumer research at Citizens Advice. However, it’s important to check out the specific wording of the clause to see the conditions: “For example, that there are no existing rent arrears when the tenant wants to activate the clause.” A release clause runs along similar lines, but might involve the tenant “paying a fee to release themselves from the agreement at any time”, Plunkett says. It also usually means that the tenant has to find someone to replace them, as well as paying the fee. Include stipulations in the rental agreement. If you want walls painted, carpets steam cleaned, or a deep cleaning of the house before your move in date, set up these stipulations in the tenancy agreement. Have these terms written out and signed before transferring any money to the landlord. Take inventory. The last thing you need is to be charged for damages that were there prior to you moving in. A good way to mitigate this is to…
Read more…

Posted in Blog, Renters Insurance | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 5 Important Questions to Ask Before Moving Into a Rental Home

Small Business Essentials: Conflict Resolution

The diverse demographics that make up today’s workforce are bound to not see eye to eye on everything. However, failing to address conflict head on only leads to decreased morale, efficiency and productivity. Rather than ignore the issue, here is how you can resolve conflict within your small business and promote a fair and pleasant working environment. Next, secure your entire operation and minimize liability with a New York EPLI policy. Get to the root of the issue. If you have big conflicts in your workplace, it’s likely caused by a bunch of smaller issues that have been piling up over time. This key is to speak with your team and determine what the root cause of the conflict is, and be receptive to feedback regarding discrimination, unfair treatment, or someone not pulling their weight. Take emotion out of the equation. It’s not uncommon for tempers to flair, but do your best to take emotion out and focus on the facts. It’s also wise to give the benefit of the doubt to whoever is responsible for starting the conflict. It likely wasn’t done with negative intentions, so be sure to focus on solving the issue rather than placing blame. Give perspective. People are more reasonable in their reaction if they are given a more complete picture or fuller context, describing the conditions that led to the situation and why the activity (or lack of activity) caused conflict, explains Small Business Trends. Think before you speak. As a leader, it’s your duty to portray the behavior you want your employees to emulate. Think about what you want to say rather than responding on impulse. This is a time where people are on edge and likely frustrated, and you don’t want to make matters worse. Work collaboratively to find a resolution and move forward. Once the solution is identified, remind your employees that you want to start on anew. About AJ Benet Inc. Insurance Agency At AJ Benet Inc. Insurance Agency, we make sure that your New York Business Insurance policy includes more than the simple general liability and product liability. Our policies extend in cases where you underlying limits are exhausted. Our team of experts are willing to go the extra mile and not only protect your business but understand it. For more information, call us today at (914) 381-2040.

Posted in Blog, EPLI | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Small Business Essentials: Conflict Resolution

Attention Renters: When to File a Claim

Carrying the right NY Renters Insurance is for good reason – to protect you from the financial obligations in the event of loss or damage. However, when is the right time to file a claim? In some circumstances, it might be more cost-effective to resolve the issue on your own. In this post, we’ll explore when is the absolute best time to file an insurance claim and reap the benefits of your policy. When the repair or replacement amount exceeds your deductible. Every insurance policy has some sort of deductible. Depending on how much it is, you might be better off replacing the damaged or stolen goods without filing a claim. For example, say your laptop was stolen from your apartment, but it was worth approximately $350. If your deductible is set at $500, you’ll pay more than it’s worth for them to replace it. If you haven’t filed excessive claims. Filing claims for petty damage or immense repairs frequently can result in your insurance company viewing you as a liability. For this reason, you should evaluate whether or not to file a claim if something comes up. If it’s major, file it. If it’s not, hold off. If it’s a covered event. According to Money Under 30, it’s important to realize that homeowners and renters policies don’t cover every threat. Unless an event is specifically listed as a covered threat within your policy, the insurance company can refuse to pay it. Before filing any claim, especially one that is no more than a few thousand dollars, carefully examine your insurance policy to make sure that it’s covered. If you have sufficient evidence. Some claims might be hard to prove it was not your fault, such as a robbery. However, if you have sufficient evidence that proves you had the items in question in your possession before they were lost or stolen, it’s easier to get the insurance claim approved and paid out. About AJ Benet At AJ Benet, we make sure that your renters insurance includes more than the basics. Our policies are custom-tailored to fit your unique needs at a price you can afford. For more information, call us today at (914) 381-2040.

Posted in Blog, Renters Insurance | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Attention Renters: When to File a Claim

What to Do Immediately After Closing on a House

When you’ve finally received the keys to your new home, you’ll likely exhale a sigh of relief. All of the planning and house hunting has paid off, now it’s time to enjoy your new dwelling, right? Not quite. Consider your comfort in your new residence by heeding the following tips for what to do immediately after the house is all yours. More importantly, protect your investment with a NY Home Insurance policy. Deep clean. Take advantage of the open space and give your new home a deep clean. This includes carpet, tile, walls, bathtubs, sinks, fixtures and more. It will be a much easier task without having to move around furniture, so do this before moving in to save yourself some time and effort. Inspect your things. Once everything’s off the truck, check your inventory list against what’s actually been delivered. Has everything made it to the new place? This is where it helps to have both the inventory list and a floor plan filled out with what goes where. You can then walk through the house, room by room, and make sure that everything has arrived safe and sound. And speaking of boxes, be sure to open a few cartons of your most breakable items to make certain they survived the move, says How Stuff Works. Prioritize unpacking. If you’re moving from house to house, you probably have a lot of boxes to unpack. Hopefully you spared yourself the headache and labeled each box accordingly. If you’re not paying the movers to unload for you, start by unpacking the essentials first – think kitchen and bathroom staples before worrying about fine china or decorations. Make it homey. Unpack bedding for each person who will be sleeping in the house on the first night. This goes hand in hand with prioritizing unpacking, and it will also make the space come to life and bring comfort to your family in a new space. About AJ Benet At AJ Benet, we make sure that your homeowners insurance includes more than the basics. Our policies are custom-tailored to fit your unique needs at a price you can afford. For more information, call us today at (914) 381-2040.

Posted in Blog, Homeowners Insurance | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on What to Do Immediately After Closing on a House

Want to Buy a Home? Money-Saving Tips for Renters

It should come as no surprise that rent is the biggest expense each month for the majority of the workforce. While many want to buy a house, it might not seem feasible for a few years. However, while keeping a roof over your head is a must, breaking your budget and wasting money you could be saving instead isn’t. In this article, we’ll cover some of the ways that you can pocket a bit more cash each month in an effort to save for your future home. Wherever you choose to reside, ensure your dwelling and your personal belongings are protected by a NY Renters Insurance policy. Tip #1: Negotiate your rent. Most people don’t know that you can negotiate your rent. Depending on the time of year, availability, demand, and condition of the unit, you might be able to score a lower monthly payment than you anticipated. Tip #2: Prepay. Renting isn’t always cheap, and it’s the biggest expense. However, if you’re able to pay even a little bit more up front, you can reap the rewards. In case you can pay your rent earlier, use this as a bargaining tool. For example, if you’re able, pay 3-4 months of rent in advance when you sign. Ask your landlord to give you a discount of 5%-10%. The feeling of certainty is very important for landlords, states Forbes. Tip #3: Improve your credit score. When you apply for a mortgage loan, your credit score is going to play a huge role in determining your interest rate. So, why not start focusing on that number now? The higher your credit score, the more at ease your landlord will be and the more likely you are to negotiate favorable leasing terms. Tip #4: Find a roommate. Having someone else to split the bills in half is a fool-proof way to put more money in your pocket. If you know someone who’s in need of a place to stay, interview them and ask about their lifestyle, hobbies, interests and more. Or, utilize technology to search for eligible roommates. About AJ Benet At AJ Benet, we make sure that your renters insurance includes more than the basics. Our policies are custom-tailored to fit your unique needs at a price you can afford. For more information, call us today at (888) 639-4560.

Posted in Blog, Renters Insurance | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Want to Buy a Home? Money-Saving Tips for Renters

Avoid These 4 Money Mishaps for a Successful Business

The statistics for new businesses succeeding is an eye-opening one for many entrepreneurs. Even with the best intentions, focus, and a solid team, your success is not guaranteed. As one of the biggest challenges for business owners, finances often cause stress and hardship from the start. We’re going to examine the four major mistakes that you can avoid to ensure your business is a thriving one, both now and long term. In addition, protect your operation with a comprehensive NY General Liability Insurance policy. Mistake #1: Focusing only on the big picture. Business-minded individuals naturally want to focus on long-term goals and make steps toward achieving them. However, not focusing on the day-to-day activities can have a counterproductive effect. Experts recommend identifying the answer to one simple question: How much money do you need to make each month to stay in business? Long-term goals aside, you need to focus on keeping the doors open today. Identifying these figures can help you strategize a way to sustain and grow your business from the start. Mistake #2: Failing to take advantage of free resources. In the age of the internet, there is so much free content that can benefit you and your business. You can get answers directly from experienced sources on blogs, social media, websites, podcasts, and more. Mistake #3: Exceeding your scope of work for free. Part of starting a successful business is to establish rapport with your clients. While you might favor one, or want to please new customers, it’s important that you stick to the scope of work. If your clients ask you to do more, even if it’s something small, ensure you are compensated for it. This issue could potentially have a domino effect for other clients and increase the workload for your employees, so don’t be shy about upping your price. Mistake #4: Only accepting cash. There are fees associated with accepting cards as payment, but not accepting them limits your business. If your business accepts credit card payments, there are many perks that go along with this. You can expand your customer base, get paid faster and potentially reduce transaction costs.  Another perk is it provides a streamlined way to handle billing, explains Small Business Trends. About AJ Benet Inc. Insurance Agency At AJ Benet Inc. Insurance Agency, we make sure that your New York…
Read more…

Posted in Blog, General Liability | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Avoid These 4 Money Mishaps for a Successful Business

Best Practices for Caterers

As a caterer, you strive to put out beautiful and delicious food for your clientele. However, the nature of the job requires that food be prepared and transported in different locations, which leaves room for food contamination, unsafe handling practices, and more risks. In order to address these common concerns, we have complied a list of best practices to be upheld by caterers to reduce the risk of foodborne illness. In addition, secure a comprehensive Westchester County Catering Insurance policy to ease your liability concerns. Prep and transport of food. According to Eco Lab Food Safety, one particular pressure point for a caterer is timely preparation and transportation of foods to their destinations at proper temperatures (outside of the Temperature Danger Zone of 41F – 135F). Common mistakes are made by staff members who cook foods at their commissary or restaurant and transport these hot or cold items without temperature controls. These foods are at risk of bacterial growth including Clostridium perfringens – a spore-former which survives cooking, proliferates, and then produces a toxin when exposed to temperatures between 41F and 135F. Reheating the foods at the event location does not destroy this toxin once produced and poses serious risk of causing a foodborne illness outbreak. Preventing catering risks. Here are some strategies to implement to reduce the risk of contaminating food during preparation and transport. Utilize food thermometers to monitor the temperature of foods, especially meat. Use clean and sanitized equipment. Work quickly when preparing and moving food to its destination. Wear gloves to minimize bare hand contact with prepared foods. Transport hot foods at 135 degrees and cold foods at or below 41 degrees to prevent the spread of bacteria. Ensure the delivery vehicle is clean, sanitized, and ready to go. Track how long foods are left out at room temperature. If they go longer than 4 hours, they should be discarded. About A.J. Benet At A.J. Benet, we strive to provide quality solutions for specialized markets including caterers and food service providers. We understand the various yet unique risk exposures you face, such as food-borne illness, workers’ compensation, and liquor liability, which is why we offer comprehensive solutions for professionals like you. For more information, contact us today at (914) 381-2040.

Posted in Blog, Catering | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Best Practices for Caterers