SECURA’s 2013 top-performing agencies shine

This week, we honor the success of our 2013 top-performers. The agencies met specific criteria based on their premium volume, profitability, growth, retention, and loss history with our company.

We’re excited that we had a tie for the distinguished title of Top-Performing Agency:
• Six-time award winner Charles L. Crane Agency Company (Missouri), a SECURA partner since 1979
• Eight-time award winner Indianhead Insurance Agency, Inc. (Wisconsin), a SECURA agency since 1978

Tom Berra of Charles L. Crane Agency, and Toby Dutter and Craig Jameson from Indianhead Insurance accepted their awards from John Bykowski, SECURA CEO, at a ceremony during our Premier Agent Professional Development Conference.

Also receiving awards were:

Beth & Rudnicki Insurance Agency, Inc. in Rockford, Ill., a first-time award winner and partner since 2000. Eugene Rudnicki accepted the award.

Continental Insurance Agency in Glenwood Springs, Colo., a first-time award winner and partner since 2008. Asa Jones accepted the award.

The Maguire Agency in St. Paul, Minn., our Rookie of the Year award winner. The Maguire Agency was appointed in 2002. Matt Clysdale accepted the award.

The McClone Agency, Inc. in Menasha, Wis., a four-time award winner and partner since 1976. Brian McClone accepted the award.

Schwarz Insurance Agency, Inc. in Prairie du Sac, Wis., a first-time award winner and partner since 1982. Brian Schwarz accepted the award.

Congratulations and thank you to these outstanding agencies.

Maintain your tires for a safer, smoother drive

Tires are a crucial part of your day-to-day travels, but they may be easily overlooked when you’re inspecting your car. However, there are significant benefits to checking them frequently — including better fuel economy, a safer drive, and easier handling of your vehicle.

Follow these tips to ensure a smooth ride.

Check your tire pressure. Tires can lose air naturally over time. You should check all four tires monthly to be sure they are within the recommended pressure limits. Having under- or overinflated tires can lead to blowouts, flat tires, or other tire failures. 

Lighten the load. The amount you carry in your vehicle can affect tire performance. You’ll find the load limit — the most a car can safely carry — on the tire information placard, vehicle certification label, or owner’s manual. Exceeding this limit will increase the wear on your tires.

Inspect the tread. When the tire tread is worn down, it won’t provide the traction your vehicle needs to keep from sliding on the road. A simple way to test it is to insert a penny in the tread, with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, the tread is too worn, and the tire should be replaced.

Rotate the tires to prevent irregular wear. Your owner’s manual can guide you on how often this should be done.

For more information, visit:

Protect the key to your nonprofit’s success

Ask any director of a nonprofit what makes their organization great, and they’ll likely say, “Our volunteers.” These special people present unique exposures, so directors should take proper measures to protect them and their nonprofits. 

Preventing accidents from happening 

A good nonprofit risk management program includes:

Pre-screening. Even before a volunteer begins working for you, conduct a background or reference check. You want to know who’s working with your visitors.

Welcoming process. Most companies offer a process for new employees, and nonprofits should consider a similar training program to familiarize volunteers with operations. You also should consider a written document for volunteer duties and expectations. Read more about training your volunteers for success.

Supervisions. Have procedures in place for overseeing or checking in with your volunteers.

Insurance protection

Liken volunteers to a company’s employees, and you’ll see that they should be insured in a similar fashion. For example, if an employee is involved in a liability claim, the employer – and employee – would expect coverage. Are you confident your policy includes volunteers as insureds where it should?

Here are some common insurance issues that could arise for your volunteers. You should always talk to your insurance agent about these to make sure you have the appropriate policy in place.

Crime Coverage. Volunteers and non-compensated board members generally don’t have protection against issues like theft or forgery on a standard Crime Coverage form. Your insurance company will need to provide a special form for this.

Auto Policy. Volunteers who transport clients in their own cars are not automatically included as insureds on the auto policy. You’ll need additional protection to fill in that gap.

General Liability. It’s common for a General Liability form to cover volunteers. However, they may not automatically be included within the professional or abuse liability forms, so coverage will need to be put in place.

Workers’ Compensation. Your Work Comp policy does not cover your volunteers. You’ll want to use an insurance company that can suggest special protection for volunteers who might be injured at your organization.

All insurance policies are different, so it’s important to talk to your agent about the best way to protect your organization and its people. To find a SECURA agent near you, visit

Improve fleet safety by developing a driver road test program

Fleet drivers represent your company on the road, so it’s crucial that they understand and follow your standards.

When considering prospective hires or evaluating your current operators, a standardized road test will help you make sure all company drivers follow the same expectations and determine whether any additional training is needed before they are assigned to vehicles.

Conduct the test in two parts:

Off the road
This portion should include the vehicle inspection, coupling and uncoupling procedures, and low-speed handling such as backing, turning, and parking. You can set up traffic cones to simulate parallel parking, an alley dock, and more.

On the road

Use a predetermined course that presents a wide variety of driving conditions that a driver might encounter. During this segment, evaluate operations such as accelerating, braking, lane changing, railroad crossing, and more — as well as the driver’s attitude.

Create an evaluation form that includes details for each component. Use the form as a checklist during the exam, and mark whether the driver successfully completes each step.

After a completed test, keep a copy of the evaluation on file and determine whether any additional training is needed. You should continue the training until the driver successfully completes all portions of the evaluation.